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Business Travelers Show Environmental Concern

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) in cooperation with KDS on-demand travel and expense management recently surveyed -for the third year-running- the opinions of an international group of business travelers and travel managers and identified a real desire to reduce the frequency of travel and select “greener” options. The study according to ACTE and KDS shows clear signs that business travel behavior is beginning to change in response to global warming concerns.

The survey sampled the opinions of over 250 business travelers who amounted to 53 percent of the sample and travel managers (47 percent) between November 2007 and January 2008. The majority, that is 40 percent, worked for businesses employing over 10,000 employees and the largest geographic markets represented were the United Kingdom (29.5 percent), the United States (23.5 percent) and Continental Europe (22.9 percent).

The number of travelers & companies embracing environmental awareness has more than doubled

Among the findings was the fact that 45 percent of respondents felt guilty about global warming that now directly impacts individual decisions about business travel. The significance of this is explained by the related finding that almost 70 percent of respondents now use an online travel-booking tool. The traveler is directly involved in the selection process and when given a choice will most likely chose a travel option according to its impact on the environment.

The survey revealed that in the past 12 months businesses have done more to convert good environmental intentions into firm actions. When compared with last year’s ACTE-KDS survey, the new study shows the proportion of companies advocating a reduction in travel for environmental reasons has leapt from under a quarter to over one third. This rise in corporate social responsibility has also seen a marked increase in the proportion of travel departments reporting on carbon emissions to senior management.

Marketing director of KDS, Stanislas Berteloot, said: “Individual travelers seem to be leading the way when it comes to greener behavior while businesses are taking more action to improve their environmental conduct and this survey shows most of their employees believe they should be doing even more.”

The full research findings were announced at a joint ACTE/KDS press conference at the Business Travel Show in London where ACTE Global Executive Director Susan Gurley claimed the number of travelers and companies embracing environmental awareness has more than doubled. The survey indicates that 59 percent of respondents’ companies now have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) charter, and the same percentage of their travelers (59percent) look to these charters when making environmentally sound travel decisions.

Mrs. Gurley said: “CSR is establishing new levels of what is environmentally acceptable to the global business travel industry yet just ten years ago this was the farthest thing from anyone’s mind.” She added, “The fact that it has become a core business component for 59 percent of this survey’s respondents clearly indicates a growing majority of organizations have incorporated CSR into their business DNA.”

ACTE believes this is a very good result for the CSR concept and Mrs. Gurley explained, “Travel departments are now increasingly tasked with reporting on travel related carbon emissions, showing a 15 percent increase over last year, and this is significant as it shows CSR will continue to grow as a corporate initiative.”

The survey also drew a much larger field of participants this year with the number of respondents growing from 127 percent to 263.

ACTE is a non-profit association established to provide executive-level global education and peer-to-peer networking opportunities. ACTE is represented in over 80 countries.

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