Green issues less important

Company decisions on travel spend are driven by economics, not green issues, new research by Barclaycard has found.

The Barclaycard Commercial Business Travel Survey said that the “deciding factor” in decisions is “not longer term environmental impact, but short term responses to the current business climate.”

It said that of the 15% of business travellers who expected to make fewer trips, 57% said this was because of declining business or travel costs.

Only 1% said they would be travelling less because of company policy on the environment.

A growing number of travellers said it was the management’s job to handle environment issues.

More than a quarter (26%) believed this, a rise of 8% on last year.

A third (33%) of respondents to the survey said the overriding responsibility for the environment was the government’s.

 Only 19% thought it was an individual’s responsibility while 12% said it was down to airlines and other suppliers.

Barclaycard found that only 18% of respondents had an environmental policy and 11% did not know if their company had such a policy.

The Survey added: “Even fewer companies monitor their business travel carbon footprint (7%) or offset their carbon emissions (4%).” 

More than a third (37%) of business travellers said they are seeing environmental concerns partially or significantly affect their choice of business travel.

But more than half (59%) said environmental concerns have no impact on their travel. 

the Survey also found there was strong feeling against any sort of restriction on air travel to help the environment with 64% against such a move.

But 53% of the respondents did believe that airlines should be taxed to compensate for carbon emissions while 62% of these said it should be passed onto the travellers.

But only 29% felt such a tax should be imposed on train companies.

Neil Radley, Barclaycard’s managing director, said: “2009 will see the environment make gains as business travel is trimmed back in the face of economic uncertainty. 

“But it is sad that this is not due to firm policies putting sustainability at the heart of the business process.

“These policies would ensure that we crystallise long-term gains: both for the environment and for businesses in terms of bottom line and improved competitiveness.

“It makes commercial sense to nurture green shoots.”

  • The 13th annual Barclaycard Commercial Business Travel Survey was conducted in December 2008 amongst a total of 2,202 UK respondents, including ceos, chairmen, non-executives, financial directors, executive directors, managers and personal assistants.

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