Sustainability Hasn’t Translated into Travel Policies, But Is an Important Topic for Travel Managers

Alexandria, VA (November 21, 2019)— Sustainability is a hot topic, but it is one that has not translated into the overall corporate travel program, according to new research out today from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in partnership with SAP Concur. With more emphasis expected on sourcing with sustainable suppliers in the coming years, this is yet to be rendered into the overall travel policy with one-third (33 percent) of travel managers saying that they either mandate (6 percent) or encourage (27 percent) travelers to book with suppliers using sustainable practices.

Nevertheless, sustainability is very important to travel managers in Europe, with over seven in ten thinking it is important to empower travelers to make sustainable travel choices. Those choices include providing travelers with sustainable options in the booking process (76 percent), encouraging travelers to make sustainable choices (81%), and receiving reports to calculate carbon emissions (86 percent). Moreover, of those who don’t currently address it, 42 percent plan to mandate or encourage travelers to book with suppliers using sustainable practices in the next 1-2 years, showing how quickly this will become a more pressing issue.

“Sustainability is certainly top-of-mind in the travel industry and companies are being very innovative in how they are addressing this issue,” said Scott Solombrino, GBTA executive director and COO. “We need to continue and encourage innovative responses in our approach to the environment since travel is a leading driver in the global economy. Global travel has now reached $1.4 trillion and produces 1 in 7 jobs throughout the world.”

“Business travel is a core part of all global business, so it’s crucial we find a way to mitigate the damage it causes the environment,” said Pierre-Emmanuel Tetaz, SVP & GM – EMEA, SAP Concur. “We’re very fortunate to be in a position where technological developments are helping us solve problems like these, so it’s about how we use and apply this tech to help reduce the damage done.”


Key Research Highlights:

  • While the power to make sustainable choices currently lies with the traveler, travel managers might start taking sustainability into their own hands with three-quarters of travel mangers saying that in the next 1-2 years, sourcing with suppliers who implement sustainable practices (74 percent) and mandating travelers to make sustainable choices (73 percent) are expected to become more important to travel programs.
  • Travel managers are receiving pressure to implement sustainable practices with a majority of travel managers saying that in the past year they have received requests from travelers (58 percent) and senior leadership (55 percent) to implement more sustainable travel practices.
  • Opportunities exist in working with suppliers to implement and track sustainable practices, while 79 percent of travel managers say their TMC provides service options to help measure and track sustainability, three in five (64 percent) say the same about their travel suppliers, and two in five (40 percent) say the same about their online booking tool or engine.

More Information

To learn more, download an infographic here with key highlights from the research. The report is available exclusively to GBTA members on the GBTA Hub.


An online survey was conducted of corporate travel buyers in Europe. The survey fielded between October 17 and October 22, 2019. Respondents qualified if they self-identified as a travel or meetings mangers/buyer or a procurement/sourcing professional.

About the Global Business Travel Association

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit gbta.org.

About SAP Concur
SAP® Concur® is the world’s leading brand for integrated travel, expense, and invoice management solutions, driven by a relentless pursuit to simplify and automate these everyday processes. The top-rated SAP Concur mobile app guides employees through every trip, charges are effortlessly populated into expense reports, and invoice approvals are automated. By integrating near real-time data and using AI to audit 100% of transactions, businesses can see exactly what they’re spending without worrying about blind spots in the budget. SAP Concur solutions eliminate yesterday’s tedious tasks, make today’s work easier, and help businesses run at their best every day. Learn more at concur.com or the SAP Concur blog



Meghan Henning, +1 571 309 3961, [email protected]
Matt Swanston, +1 703 236 1103, [email protected]