Published on Thursday, May 15, 2008

Business travellers ignoring environmental policies

A mere one per cent of business travellers adhered to their company environmental policy and reduced the amount they travelled in 2007.

A further one per cent (1%) made the same decision due to personal concerns for the environment.

The findings come from the 12th annual  Barclaycard Business Travel Survey of more than 3,000 UK business travellers.   

A massive 78% of respondents said they are operating without reference to any environmental travel policy - and a further 81% stated that their business did not audit carbon emissions resulting from travel.

Opinion is divided on who should be responsible for the effect of business travel on the environment, according to the poll. 

More than a third (35%) felt that the responsibility was that of the Government - rising to more than 40% of the 238 company chairman surveyed.

Twenty one per cent believed it was the individual’s responsibility (25% of chairman) and only 18% (13% of chairman) that of the employer.

However, 42% per cent of respondents were in favour of an environmental tax on airlines – of which 55% believe will be passed on to the passenger.

While business people may not overall be travelling less, some 36% claim to be taking environmental considerations into account when making their business travel choices – for example travelling by train rather than car.

Women care more for environmental issues: 40% said their travel choices was partially (35%) or significantly (5%) affected by environmental concerns, with corresponding figures for men of 30per cent (30%) and 4 per cent (4%)

Public sector employers are almost twice as likely (20%) as private sector employers (11%) to have an environmental policy covering travel

Medium sized businesses were most likely to have an environmental policy (22% of those with 250 - 499 employees versus 16% of those with 500 - 999 employees.

Director of commercial cards, Barclaycard Business Denise Leleux, said: “There is very little evidence of any significant shift in behaviour of business travellers in 2007 – despite the volumes of media coverage given to this area and the corresponding level of comment by business and the business community on a broad range of environmental initiatives.

"One of the major issues arising is a lack of consensus amongst employers and employees about who should be taking responsibility and how. 

"If we are to move forward and achieve significant change this should be the focus of attention – in the meantime we are seeing individuals taking action where they can."

by Phil Davies

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