Sustainable Business Travel Initiatives on the Rise in Europe

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Jan. 26, 2015 – The majority (57 percent) of European-based companies have sustainability initiatives written into their company’s travel policy, according to a new study on sustainability in travel programs by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

This marks a significant increase from 39 percent in 2012, and is largely attributable to the financial benefits, and safety and security enhancements delivered by the programs. The study also found that more U.S. companies are incorporating sustainability programs into contracts (from 11 percent in 2011 to 19 percent), but they continue to lag behind European counterparts.

“Overall, sustainability initiatives appear to be more integrated in Europe-based organizations, with opportunity for improvement among U.S.-based organizations,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation’s vice president of research. “We found that European companies are focused on efforts that result in both financial and environmental benefits, while American companies have a strong focus on the human relations aspect of sustainability.”

The GBTA study – “Sustainability in Travel Programs” – was sponsored by Enterprise Holdings, which owns and operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. The annual revenues of Enterprise Holdings, the world’s largest car rental company, rank near the top of the travel industry, ahead of many airlines and most cruise lines, hotels, tour operators and online travel agencies.

Nearly 300 U.S. and European-based Travel Managers were surveyed to better understand how they currently view sustainability initiatives and the role sustainability plays with ground transportation. In addition, the study focused on future intentions regarding incorporating sustainability into programs as well as similarities and differences by regions and across time.

Moving beyond the initiatives themselves, the survey also examined the impact of sustainability initiatives, finding that among companies that measure their environmental footprint, nearly all measure air travel activity (96 percent in Europe and 92 percent in the U.S.).

“It does not surprise me to see sustainability issues rising up the agenda for Travel Managers,” said Jim Burrell, Senior Vice President for Enterprise Holdings in Europe. “Sustainability within the travel supply chain has been a core component of contractual discussions for a number of years. However, there is a definite shift to this becoming more about measurement and impact than just a ‘nice to have’.”

Burrell also noted that Enterprise has been working with organizations to help them understand the long-term impact of corporate travel, not only in terms of cost, but also environmental considerations, employee safety and efficiency. “This goes beyond the provision of vehicles,” he said. “We also are noticing a much stronger emphasis on questions about how we manage our own supply chain in relation to sustainability.”

Key highlights of the study:

– The majority of European Travel Managers (52 percent) think sustainability is now more important to their organization compared to two years ago.

– Nearly half of Europeans companies find the environmental impact of car rental and rail suppliers to be very important/important (44 percent, each). A similar amount report receiving CO2 emissions data from the suppliers (car rental suppliers: 47 percent, rail suppliers: 44 percent). Safety and security considerations are the biggest driver of sustainability investments in both regions (72 percent in the U.S. and 74 percent in Europe). Long-term cost savings (71 percent) ranked second in Europe, while American companies were focused on contributing to society (68 percent).

– Forty percent or more of American and European companies credit a stronger public image, improved employee morale, more efficient business processes as benefits of their sustainability investments.

Nearly 300 U.S. and European-based Travel Managers, including members and non-members of GBTA, completed the online survey between May 21 and June 19, 2014. Respondents had the option of taking the survey in English, Spanish, French or German.

More Information
The survey report, “Sustainability in Travel Programs,” is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here. Non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing [email protected]. The GBTA Foundation and Enterprise will also hold a webinar on January 29, 2015 at 9am EST. Registration is now open. To view an abstract of this research, please click here.

About the GBTA Foundation
The GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. Collectively, GBTA’s 7,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its growing network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts with world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media. The Foundation was established in 1997 to support GBTA’s members and the industry as a whole. As the leading education and research foundation in the business travel industry, the GBTA Foundation seeks to fund initiatives to advance the business travel profession. The GBTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, see gbta.org and gbta.org/foundation.

About Enterprise Holdings
Enterprise Holdings and its affiliate Enterprise Fleet Management together offer a total transportation solution. Combined, these businesses – which include extensive car rental and car-sharing services, commercial truck rental, corporate fleet management and retail car sales – accounted for $17.8 billion in revenue, employed 83,000 and operated 1.5 million vehicles throughout the world in fiscal year 2014. Enterprise Holdings is the largest car rental company in the world as measured by revenue, fleet and employees. The GBTA Foundation and Project ICARUS named Enterprise Holdings as a recipient of the prestigious Project ICARUS Sustainability Gold Medal, recognizing travel and meeting industry companies who are committed to making sustainability a core function within their business.

Colleen Lerro Gallagher, +1 703-236-1133, [email protected]
Gayle Kansagor, +1 202-295-8775, [email protected]