Sustainability has become one of the hottest topics in the travel industry in the past few years, especially since the pandemic as report after report have shown that consumers themselves are taking a heightened interest in sustainability.
Many consumer-facing travel companies such as Singapore Airlines, CWT and The Travel Corporation have also started taking action on sustainability to differentiate their brands, rolling out new initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, support nature conservation, benefit local communities and more.
However, the B2B travel sector is performing woefully when it comes to embracing sustainability, finds a new report from consulting firm Belvera Partners of over 350 B2B travel companies from around the world.
After looking through their websites for sustainability policies, reports, examples of efforts, among others, the findings indicate a lack of prioritisation of sustainability topics among B2B travel companies analysed – or at the least, a lack of public communication about their positions on this topic.
The report finds only 43% of the companies analysed mention sustainability – or similar terms such as environment or CSR – on their websites. Many fewer (24%) have sustainability policies on their sites and still fewer (17%) have any sort of “sustainability report.”
Among the 12 sub-sectors within the B2B the travel ecosystem, aviation has the highest percentage of companies with a sustainability report (42%) or at least a mention of sustainability on the company website (89%) – although it scored below average on ease of finding sustainability information.
The B2B car rental service sector scored the lowest, with only 16% of companies mentioning sustainability and none having a report or published policies. Travel technology companies come out slightly better than the average for mentions of sustainability – 53% versus the 43% average across all sectors - and for having published policies: 29% versus 24% average.
Looking at it geographically, only 33% of companies in Asia Pacific mention CSR (below the 43% global average), only 10% have a report (again below the 17% global average) and only 16% have policies (again below average), Townsend told Travel Weekly Asia.
“When you consider that we’ve set the bar pretty low here – you just need a basic CSR report, some half thought through policies and a picture of a beach clean-up, all easily available on your website, to get top marks – then yes, it is a surprise that so many companies still can’t do even that,” says Roman Townsend, Belvera Partners’ managing director.
“While the moral obligation is hopefully clear, the failure to act is also hurting these businesses economically: banks are less likely to lend, B2B partners are screening out such suppliers and employees are beginning to vote with their feet too.”
10-step recommendations from Belvera
Belvera suggests ways to make your B2B company more sustainable.
- Appoint someone internally to lead this
- Conduct an audit
- If you don't have policies, create some today
- Join a group or community that is supporting business like yours
- Bring in experts
- Train your staff on your policies
- Publish your targets and performance
- Ask for feedback, continually, from all your stakeholders
- Engage in local community actions
- Start today and don't think that because you are late it is now not worth it!
The full report can be viewed here.