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ITM launches Sustainability Taskforce to help business travel buyers shape responsible travel programmes

The initiative is driven by recognition of ITM’s pivotal role in ensuring business travel continues to be understood as a force for good and evolves sustainably to minimise negative impacts on the environment.

The Institute of Travel Management (ITM) has launched a campaign to help business travel buyers tackle the challenges of delivering on their organisation’s sustainability targets and to provide them with practical guidance for shaping a responsible travel programme.

The initiative is driven by recognition of ITM’s pivotal role in ensuring business travel continues to be understood as a force for good and evolves sustainably to minimise negative impacts on the environment. It has also been spurred by the rapid acceleration in organisations setting commitments to net zero emissions, as well as new legislation and audit requirements that will be imposed on companies regardless of whether travel accounts for 10 per cent or 90 per cent of an organisation’s emissions.

The campaign has also evolved due to buyers’ growing concerns around how best to approach the sustainable travel dilemma of cost versus carbon, introduce sustainability in the supply chain and change perceptions of travellers. Indeed, according to ITM’s most recent Buyer Priorities Survey, the biggest challenge facing buyers when it comes to managing travel in 2023 is influencing sustainable practice

A key element of the campaign is the establishment of a new ITM Sustainability Taskforce consisting of 16 buyer and supplier members who will meet regularly over the next three months. The aim of the Taskforce is to assess the current travel programme environment, supplier progress, and what still needs to be done to support buyers, regardless of industry or size of programme, to build a sustainable travel policy and programme. The taskforce will also discuss impending legislation and the potential impact on travel programmes, as well as debate how buyers can engage internal stakeholders regarding the role the travel programme in supporting organisation’s environmental goals.

A key output from the Taskforce will be an ITM resource guide to give buyers practical tools and tips to take action, regardless of whether they are only just embarking on the topic, or are already making progress with travel policy changes. ITM will also host a webinar sharing the insights and discussions of the taskforce.

The campaign also includes ITM’s Sustainability Summit (taking place on 9th March), when attendees will hear from a range of speakers and organisations who are already making great headway to drive change. Plus there will be a keynote session at ITM’s annual energise conference on 27th April focussing on how suppliers’ sustainable solutions will need to pass the scrutiny of corporates’ auditors, in order to become a meaningful component of sustainable travel programmes.

Kerry Douglas, Head of Programme, ITM commented: “Influencing sustainable travel is a topic that has been on buyers’ priority list for a while, but there is now a real sense of urgency due to the accelerated global focus on climate change and legislation that will tighten up organisations’ disclosure of carbon emissions. However, the topic of sustainable travel practice is so vast that there’s a real risk that buyers become overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. There is also a sliding scale of maturity on the topic within travel programmes and in terms of focus across organisations, depending on the industry sector and how much business travel accounts for their emissions.

“ITM has therefore established a new taskforce as part of our overall drive to support buyers with the complex topic of sustainability and the critical journey to deliver a truly responsible travel programme. The resulting ITM resource will act as an easily-digestible guide with practical tips and suggestions based on starting, embedding or executing programme change. Buyers can apply elements of the resource that are relevant to them, whether it’s to make a start, progress further, engage internally, or embed programme change. The taskforce will also discuss elements that could be taken forward as standard editions to travel policy,” said Douglas.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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