Business travel is ramping up as the pandemic subsides, while some leaders may be hesitant to put their employees on a plane due to covid, there are other risk factors they are also considering.
Aaron McEwan, VP research and advisory at Gartner told Digital Nation that organisations are becoming increasingly focused on their ESG and sustainability obligations that this has impacted their travel plans.
“We also saw this impact of increased focus on sustainability and ESG obligations. Organisations like Microsoft started to think what is the impact of travel on things like their carbon footprints and their emissions? Whilst we saw COVID, as the primary cause of that pause in international and domestic travel, there were other trends sitting underneath that as well,” he said.
McEwan has also noticed companies keep their travel to a minimum for budget factors.
“We've seen organisations like Microsoft, for example, not necessarily go back to an existing travel policy that might have existed prior to covid and that's not just because organisations save significant amounts of money. The reduction in travel, it's associated costs and opportunity costs of having employees flying around, many organisations reap significant savings,” he explained.
“You can almost argue that some of the enormous profits that we saw some organisations make during the pandemic, related to savings around travel and expenditure or expenses.”
McEwan noted that companies are also receiving pressure from their employees to make sure they hit their ESG goals.
“We have very specific data on this around the change in employees view of their impact on the environment. Not only do they expect their employers to be doing things in a much more proactive way to reduce their carbon footprint, environmental impact, but they're also looking at their own carbon footprint and environmental impact,” he said.
“We’ll find that a lot of people who may have been a platinum level frequent flyer prior to the pandemic. I can't imagine going back to that lifestyle, for a number of reasons. One is the impact on family and children.
“But the other is certainly the impact on the environment and that carbon footprint, so many employees will also be reconsidering the volume of travel that they might have done prior to the pandemic,” he added.