Transportation contributes to 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., which is why sustainability should be a top priority for every business travel program. Luckily, a recent SAP Concur survey of 100 U.S. travel managers—those who direct or administer travel programs for businesses—found that the majority (76%) say their company has updated travel guidelines or policies in the past 12 months to have a greater focus on sustainability. In a companion survey of 1,000 U.S. business travelers, nearly all business travelers (89%) concur it is important to their company, particularly when pre-approving employee travel requests (presumably so, avoiding emissions for non-essential travel), in travel policies (influencing employees to reduce emissions), and in reporting sustainability impact information (before compensating unavoidable travels).
Business travelers are also cognizant of their environmental footprint. A new SAP Concur survey* of 1,000 U.S. business travelers found that most (88%) are willing to take steps to reduce their environmental impact while traveling for business, including: taking fewer but longer business trips (40%); staying in a less preferred but greener hotel (40%); using public transportation (33%); and using a less preferred mode of transportation (28%). Gen Z (93%) and millennial (89%) business travelers are especially willing, compared to Gen X (82%) and baby boomer (84%) business travelers.
It turns out that business travelers are more conscious when spending on their company’s dime. Our study showed they’re more likely to consider the environmental impact of their choices for business travel than personal travel (60% vs. 40%). When booking, they’d like more information to guide their purchase. Eighty-eight percent of business travelers would like to see sustainability information when booking business travel, including comparing sustainability measures for different accommodation options (47%) and transportation options (45%).
SAP Concur recently partnered with Thrust Carbon to help companies and employees monitor and better control the environmental impact of their business trips. Customers can connect their Concur Travel and Expense solutions to Thrust Carbon to calculate emissions from spend and itinerary data. This means any travel manager can set carbon budgets in line with company-specific goals and then view and assess their live travel emissions against these targets. Additionally, travel managers can analyze every travel emission, from flights to hotels, and trains to mileage from rental cars.
“This integration enables companies to effortlessly track and manage their global travel emissions with customizable reports and data visualizations,” said Mark Corbett, Founder and Director of Thrust Carbon. “This is important because without oversight, it simply won’t be a priority. We empower organizations of all types and sizes to focus on their climate goals and get on with reducing emissions.”
Reducing environmental impact is no small feat, but company travel spend is a great place to start—and luckily employees are willing to partake. On the heels of Earth Month, we encourage leaders to look for opportunities in travel programs and policies and booking tools so this time next year, we have progress to report.
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Further trends and research findings covering the current state of corporate business travel sustainability in EMEA will be released next month on the SAP Concur Newsroom.
*The SAP Concur Business Traveler Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 U.S. business travelers, defined as those who traveled for business 3+ times in the past 24 months, and an oversample to reach 250 high-frequency travelers who travel at least twice a month, between April 1st and April 10th, using an email invitation and an online survey