< PrevNext > Sustainability Goes Beyond a Checkbox for Travel Management By Elizabeth West / November 05, 2020 / Contact Reporter Share While it's playing out as a more critical concern among European travel managers than it is among their North American colleagues, climate change has become a driving concern for a quarter of travel managers surveyed by BTN. Again, it's an issue underscored by protest. Extinction Rebellion as recently as the middle of October attempted to shut down London City Airport, according to Reuters. While such protests and disruptions may be one challenge for travel managers when travel can begin again in earnest, it's wholly another challenge to combat a company's carbon footprint and still facilitate business travel. Consulting firm BCG is one company among many global counterparts like Capegemini, EY, Lego and Siemens, along with North America-based tech pioneer Microsoft, that has put a great focus on reducing carbon emissions. BCG is committed to reducing emissions by 30 percent per employee by 2025, managing director and partner, global operations services, Kathryn Bell told BTN last month. Change may be difficult for the firm, whose clients place a high value on being together with their consultants to forge creative solutions for business challenges, she said. "We need to respect the core of our business and the value creation for our clients, but also the employee value proposition. So we've looked across our whole business and looked at why we travel. The data piece of this is so fundamental because we will pull those levers to meaningfully reduce emissions without impacting the value we create for our clients," she said. That means reducing travel overall and identifying those occasions when virtual platforms can provide a meaningful substitute for physically being there. For BCG it also means working with a new portfolio of providers to offset the carbon footprint of travel. "Where we can't [reduce, we will] compensate with a mix of nature-based and engineered [carbon] removal projects," she said, citing reforestation efforts as well as engineering projects that remove carbon from soil and oceans. "They can be expensive," she said. "But there are organizations… beginning to prove themselves."Travel technologists are looking for ways to make carbon measurements easier for travel managers who may not have sustainability officers to support their work and, therefore, have been struggling even in an environment where a "checkbox" strategy has sufficed. Thrust Carbon, a data service that delivers granular emissions data on travel activities, is looking at booking tool partnerships in the corporate travel space and was awarded the Innovator of the Year award at the BTN Group's Innovate conference.As companies push toward sustainability and travel managers raise awareness at the point of sale, including how much carbon might be saved by not traveling, business travel may look different after Covid-19.