Sustainable Business Travel

As a people-centred business with a global client base, business travel accounts for more than half of our annual carbon emissions. Reducing our carbon footprint means focussing on minimising business travel without compromising on the value we gain from spending time face-to-face with our clients. We are committed to decoupling business travel and business growth and since we launched our sustainability programme in 2008 we have reduced our annual business travel emissions by 11% whilst continuing to grow our business.

Our business travel emissions have remained flat in 2018 and have reduced by 5% overall since 2014. The majority of the reduction achieved has come from reducing our car emissions and taxi emissions. However, we have seen a growth in air emissions due to the increasingly global nature of our work. Addressing this challenge through promoting virtual collaboration as an alternative to travel, is a key priority.

How we reduce our travel emissions

We take a holistic approach to sustainable employee travel combining behavioural change campaigns and the deployment of new technology to help our people make smart, safe and sustainable travel decisions.

Our ConnectWell programme aims to ensure that the right tools are in place for every employee to make informed sustainable decisions when it comes to business travel. We surveyed and interviewed over 1,600 people about their travel habits and this research has provided valuable insights and will help to ensure our people remain at the centre of our current and future travel programmes and policies.

ConnectWell has had a transformative effect on the way we do business, cutting our business travel costs and reducing employee travel time. Our people can now communicate effectively from any location, using seamlessly integrated mobile, audio and video conferencing technology. We also ensure that our choice of company cars is limited to more fuel-efficient models and enable our people to charge electric vehicles for free at several of our sites. We also promote rail travel by providing our people with the ability to book and print their rail tickets using dedicated in-office ticket printers.

Promoting virtual alternatives to travel

The most effective way of reducing our travel related carbon emissions is to avoid travelling wherever possible. The ability to work and collaborate virtually is essential in today’s digital age, where flexible workspaces are increasingly the norm. We have made significant investments in online collaboration technologies and encourage our people to embrace new ways of connecting virtually, without compromising on the value we gain from spending time face-to-face with our clients. Ensuring our people can connect seamlessly and securely from any location is critical to our approach. The deployment of integrated mobile, audio and video conferencing technology has been a key consideration in the upgrade of our workspaces and IT infrastructure.

Case study: Delivering virtual collaborative solutions in the UK – a team effort

In the UK, a working group has been established with representatives from Sustainability, IT, Facilities and the Accelerated Solutions Environment to advance our virtual collaboration journey. This group has established a proof of concept for ‘Virtual Collaboration Hubs’ – dedicated spaces within our offices which enable our people to collaborate on documents and digital whiteboards across multiple locations in real-time whilst on a video call.  This model has worked successfully with 15 account teams to date, and we will be extending this approach in the future.

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