As organizations slowly return to business travel, many are reassessing their travel policies with an eye to traveling more sustainably. How can you reduce emissions from corporate travel while managing costs? And what solutions can help you achieve those goals?
We asked Ryan Hamilton, Senior Value Consultant for the Value Experience Group at the SAP Concur organization, and Sally Crotty, Senior Consultant and Sustainability SME for our partner, TCG, to discuss practical steps organizations can take towards more sustainable T&E. This is the second of a two-part series; for more about corporate sustainability from a high level, read highlights from our previous episode.
One small step for you, one larger benefit for the planet
The drastic reduction in business travel and commuting during the worst of the pandemic had unforeseen benefits for the planet. “Scope 3 emissions [aka greenhouse gas emissions generated by a company’s value chain] were drastically reduced overnight,” says Crotty. As business travel makes a comeback, organizations are taking a more thoughtful approach.
“Companies are assessing their need to travel and what this looks like in the future,” Crotty explains. “Policies are changing. We need to really consider that as we start to travel again, we should do that in a more sustainable way.”
Of course, organizations must balance sustainability and costs. TCG takes a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) approach to travel, meetings, payment and expense with its TCO-TMPE® program, which has 18 components, including sustainability.
“From a cost-of-ownership perspective, we're not only looking at what can be done to reduce emissions for travel,” says Crotty. “We're taking a holistic view and looking at the total costs of managing sustainability.”
Hamilton agrees, noting that the goal is not necessarily to travel less but to travel better.
- Total Cost of Ownership
Solving the travel puzzle
When weighing travel options, organizations have much to consider. Is it a direct or connecting flight? What’s the freight load? How many business-class passengers does the airplane carry? How old is the aircraft? These are just a few of the factors that affect a trip’s environmental impact. SAP Concur solutions can help travelers make more sustainable decisions without getting overwhelmed by their choices.
SAP Concur solutions can help in four key areas, Hamilton explains:
- Reporting. A unified platform provides a single source of data so organizations can accurately measure their environmental footprint and progress.
- Raising awareness among individual employees. “If you're not confronted with the idea that you've bought the most emitting flights or that your expenses are in the top 1 percentile, you're probably not even thinking about emissions as you travel,” Hamilton notes.
- Guiding behavior. Companies can create settings in SAP Concur solutions to ensure that travelers use the most sustainable airlines, understand emissions as they're booking, and get approval before traveling.
- Direct contributions. Automation with SAP Concur solutions can reduce or eliminate paper in many travel processes, directly impacting environmental sustainability.
Easy does it
An organization with a fully implemented T&E policy that uses Concur Request to get pre-trip approval, books within Concur Travel, and uses SAP Concur expense and reporting tools, can measure reductions in emissions with relative ease, Crotty says. For organizations with less-defined travel policies, TCG can suggest best practices for creating T&E policies that support environmental goals.
Ready to travel better? Learn how SAP Concur solutions can help your organization reduce corporate travel emissions.