Climate concerns prompt policy shifts among UK travel managers

ESG reporting has emerged as a crucial aspect of corporate travel.

The study, which collected insights from 250 corporate travel managers, who oversee the travel policies for businesses, and additional respondents from the Institute of Travel Management (ITM), evaluates the evolving landscape of corporate travel, with a focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) requirements.

The survey, conducted in December 2023, comprised 10 questions aimed at gauging perspectives and experiences within the corporate travel industry.

The research reveals that despite challenges posed by climate concerns, the demand of business travel has increased. However, this resurgence has been accompanied by a shift in priorities and strategies adopted by travel managers.

ESG reporting has emerged as a crucial aspect of corporate travel, reflecting the trend of aligning business practices with sustainability goals and government mandates.

According to the survey, 39% of respondents consider ESG reporting a high priority when selecting vendors or partners, insisting that all partners provide comprehensive climate reporting.

Additionally, 78% express satisfaction with the ESG reporting capabilities of their current providers, underscoring a rapid integration of the industry’s evolving standards.

Uber for Business UK’s head Jenna Brown said: “As UK travel managers prepare for an increase in business travel, it’s important for the industry to focus on sustainability and efficiency.

“Businesses tell us that they want to reduce their carbon footprint without compromising on the transport options.”

ESG demands forecasted to inflate travel budgets

Travel budgets are also anticipated to experience inflationary pressures, necessitating a re-evaluation of financial strategies and expenditure allocation within organisations.

According to research, nearly 53% of respondents foresee inflationary factors contributing to increased travel budgets in 2024, while 52% anticipate rising costs due to evolving work habits, such as hybrid working arrangements and return-to-office mandates.

However, around the same proportion predict that ESG requirements for more sustainable travel will increase budgets, indicating a willingness to invest in sustainable travel practices.

In response to these challenges and opportunities, travel managers are setting clear priorities for the upcoming year.

Flexibility in travel choices and a heightened emphasis on gathering employee feedback are among the top priorities, allowing organisations to respond effectively to real-time insights and adapt to the changing dynamics of the corporate travel landscape.

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