< PrevNext > TMCs Will Confront Ethical Decisions By Click Travel CEO Jill Palmer / January 24, 2020 Share 2020 will be the year of purpose beyond profit. TMCs will face decisions about how to grow their businesses while addressing sustainability in its widest sense. They’ll be challenging themselves to look hard at the social impact their businesses have, not just on the environment but also on their employees and the communities in which they operate. As travel management companies we should be leading in both environmental and corporate responsibility. Customers need business partners that genuinely promote social values, including an equal and supportive working environment for their staff. This could be by paying the living wage, promoting staff wellbeing or widening access through inclusive education opportunities for lower socioeconomic households. Companies need to be able to demonstrate that they are giving something back to their community. There is no easy answer when it comes to tackling the environmental concerns regarding business travel. But TMCs, their clients, travel managers and business travellers themselves all need to consider this difficult issue. Clients need to see real opportunity for change, and TMCs should be looking to reduce waste through sustainable consumption, shrinking their own carbon footprints and incorporating sustainable practices into everyday operations. Just as potential clients out to tender will be reviewing how green each TMC promises to be, each TMC should push their own supply chain toward sustainability. Purpose before profit is likely to come at a cost. Strategic clarity will be critical to guiding short-terms investments that yield long-term benefits for society. The key to success will be transparency. Most travel companies are guilty of being vague about their CSR plans. Having a clear strategy in place to achieve a positive impact on the local community is essential both to build consumer trust and to improve the reputation of the industry. At Click Travel we have established a 1 percent strategy—donating 1 percent of our time, profits and product to charities chosen by our staff. It’s also important to look more broadly at CSR. I’ve aligned Click Travel's business strategy with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. We have also introduced a number of wellbeing provisions, including mental health first aiders, drop-in sessions and 24/7 staff assistance, all helping to ensure that as the business grows, we are bringing our employees with us. Being a living-wage employer that provides mentoring and apprenticeships for lower socioeconomic groups is also very important. Our target is to grow the support we can provide for the local community, creating a virtuous circle of sustainable development. It will be exciting to see how our industry can rise to the challenge in the next 12 months. I think the landscape of TMC accountability will look very different in 2021.