A survey of 1,022 UK employees and 250 employers has found that sustainability is still not an important part of the business agenda regarding business travel.

Research done by Emburse, a global leader in spend management, aiming to understand new behaviour towards business travel post-pandemic.

One of the key findings is the change to travel choices, with  61% (almost two thirds) of those surveyed saying the pandemic had made them rethink the way they travel – one of the changes regarding the travel ideology is that almost half of those aged 16-24 (48%) anticipated that the train will be their first choice to travel after the pandemic, and this is more than double of those aged 55+ (20%).

Amid the pandemic, covid safety was the most significant factor for employers to consider for business travel arrangements, reaching 34% of the total, followed by cost, with 17% of the employers listing it as a very important consideration. On the other hand, only 11%, i.e., 1 in 9 employers listed sustainability as a factor.

In contrast, the same employers appeared to be more receptive for a change when asked specifically about travel and sustainability. To reduce their company’s overall carbon footprint, half of the employers said they would consider increasing the travel budget or offering employees incentives if they choose to take the train. In addition, 70% of them recognise that is their organisation’s responsibility to empower sustainable business travel. From the employee’s view, 57% said they would be more encouraged to take the train if their employer offered incentives around it.

Sustainable travel doesn’t have to cost a company more money. With fewer business trips, they must be investing in better, and more sustainable trips for their employees – without having to increase budgets.

Kenny Eon, GM and SVP EMEA at Emburse, commented on the findings:

“Undoubtedly business travel declined dramatically at the start of COVID, but the increasing numbers show that the appetite is still there. Whilst the past year with virtual meetings has been successful, there is a lot of pent-up desire for face-to-face meetings. We may not return to pre-Covid levels soon, but knowing that a considerable amount of travel will come back, it’s important that employers are considering more sustainable options”

“Climate change is a real issue, and we all need to be making a conscious effort to change our habits and help protect our planet. Businesses need to lead the charge and sustainable business travel is an important first step.”

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