In recent years, organizations have begun to look for ways to make a positive impact on society and prevent negative impacts that industries can have on the environment and humanity. As a result, companies have started to review their processes to identify areas for improvement that will allow them to operate in a more sustainable way.
One area to consider is business travel, which has increased significantly after a few years of pause due to the pandemic. It is no secret that for some business sectors, it is vital to make these types of trips, as they allow companies to establish direct contact with customers, partners, and create more durable business ecosystems.
According to Carolina Borzatto, Director of Marketing of SAP Concur for Latin America, although it was believed that remote or hybrid working dynamics could replace many business trips, the truth is that for companies and executives, they are still relevant. In fact, a report from SAP Concur revealed that 80% of business leaders feared that the absence of travel would have an impact on their professional and personal lives, especially the loss of business contacts (45%) or lower profits (38%).
Faced with the challenge of making business travel more sustainable, Borzatto emphasizes that “it is vital to design policies and practices that serve to generate less impact with travel, such as having a travel and expenses program that allows most processes to be done digitally.”
These advice not only for organizations that already have sustainability as one of their strategic pillars. Here are five trends that will be of great help in this sense.
- Define the relevance of travel. When starting a travel program in any company, it is necessary to identify the relevance of travel, ask if this is the only way to execute it or if it can be replaced by other activities that ensure the same success for the organization.
- Seek support from the management team. To achieve the goals set in any company, it is essential to have the support of the top management. Without being unrealistic, sustainable travel usually has higher costs, and the mere act of traveling already generates emissions. Therefore, there must be a commitment from the entire organization for sustainable travel to be possible.
- Think long-term. Companies can be more sustainable by making more conscious travel, but there must be a structure that plans long-term and maintains that initiative in everyday policies of diversity and inclusion, equality, and accessibility for all employees.
- Take advantage of employee initiative. There are always early adopters who are looking to be more sustainable in all their actions. Listening to them will help to spread their passion and drive new programs. The key is active listening, asking what they really want and need.
- Communicate frequently. Employees want to know the perspective, understand the approach, see how the strategy works, and the impact of their actions. This can be achieved by sharing data related to the carbon footprint, reduction in water consumption, and emissions caused by conscious changes in suppliers. Open and honest communication helps to keep employees invested in the cause and informed about the progress and impact of their actions.