Business Travelers are Going Green

SAP Concur Team |

Sustainable business travel through reducing carbon emissions is important. Our April study of 1,000 U.S. business travelers found that they’re more likely to consider the environmental impact of their choices for business travel than personal travel (60% vs. 40%). Some companies provided sustainable travel options and information for their employees, but business travelers have preferences of their own.

We recently conducted our fourth annual Global Business Traveler Survey of 3,850 global business travelers across 25 markets. We learned that almost all business travelers (94%) plan to take steps over the next 12 months to reduce the environmental impact of their business travel, including:

  • Combining nearby trips into one longer trip (40%).
  • Prioritizing alternatives to air travel, such as car or rail (34%).
  • Prioritizing trips with shorter distances (32%).
  • Staying in a less preferred but greener hotel (32%).
  • Avoiding layovers (31%).
  • Using public transportation (31%).

Overall, around half plan to take actions related to lodging (50%) and transportation (53%). Nearly a quarter of business travelers (24%) would go so far as declining a business trip if it required using non-sustainable travel options.

Ninety-two percent of business travelers would like to see sustainability information incorporated into their company’s booking tools, including the following methods: 

  • Viewing the impacts of each option (35%). 
  • Showing visual indicators of the impacts next to each option (29%). 
  • Showing the options with the least impact first (28%). 

Each business traveler is different, and feelings toward sustainable travel vary by generation. Younger business travelers place greater emphasis on sustainable travel options. For instance:

  • Gen Z and millennial business travelers are also more likely to take steps to reduce the environmental impact of their business trips in the next 12 months (Gen Z: 98%; millennials: 96%; Gen X: 92%; baby boomers: 80%).
  • Gen Z and millennials are also more likely to consider declining a business trip if it requires using non-sustainable travel options (Gen Z: 22%; millennials: 28%; Gen X: 18%; baby boomers: 12%).


Sustainable travel technology

Technology is evolving to help business travelers and their companies monitor the environmental impact of business trips. At SAP Concur, we help business leaders gain clarity and act with certainty with sustainability features throughout the travel and expense process, from pre-trip booking, to during the trip, and post-trip visibility and analytics. The power of the Concur Ecosystem also allows us to provide solutions by partnering with specialists in this space. For example, we work with Thrust Carbon to help organizations and their travelers monitor and control the environmental impact of their business trips. Our Concur Travel and Expense solutions connect with Thrust Carbon, making it easy to calculate emissions from travel spend and itinerary data, providing organizations with actionable insights to lessen the environmental impact of their travel program.

We also partner with CHOOOSE, a carbon emissions management solution that, when connected with Concur Travel and Concur TripLink, helps organizations measure, reduce, and manage their aviation emissions. Currently available in EMEA, travel managers can easily set carbon budgets and then view and assess their live flight emissions against these targets. The app enables organizations to track the performance of their corporate carbon program through a live carbon emissions dashboard.

Travelers can also monitor the environmental impact of their trip with the TripIt Carbon Footprint feature. Post-booking, travelers can see their flight’s carbon emissions, track their annual carbon footprint for air travel, and receive practical suggestions on how to offset and reduce their environmental impact.

“We’re in the midst of a fundamental shift in how businesses respond to climate change,” according to Charlie Sultan, president of Concur Travel at SAP Concur. “This moment requires leaders to infuse sustainability and corporate responsibility into how business gets done and when business travel makes sense. SAP Concur is committed to providing integrated travel and expense solutions for the moments that make businesses run better, and the bar is getting higher to make impactful decisions to your travel policies while striving to provide the best experience for your travelers.”


Check out the full findings from the SAP Concur Global Business Travel Survey here

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