Business travellers want employers to cut air travel and go greener, according to new research from Trainline Partner Solutions

New research from Trainline Partner Solutions (TPS) shows Covid-19 will usher in a new era of sustainable business travel. The vast majority of business travellers (75%) want to reduce their reliance on air travel for business because of the impact it has on the environment. Whilst two-thirds (66%) of employees expect their employer to make sustainable travel options available to them, a separate survey of business leaders reveals three quarters (74%) will still ask staff to fly for business when restrictions ease.

The study of 1,000 regular business travellers and 1,000 employers in the UK showed that over half (53%) of employees felt businesses were irresponsible before the pandemic with the level of unnecessary business travel. In fact, nearly one in three (31%) employees felt they had to fly for business travel, or would risk losing their job.

Now the tables have turned. Failure to offer sustainable business travel will become a major business issue. As many as seven in ten employees (71%) said they think businesses that do not offer sustainable business travel set a bad example for future generations. In fact, one in five young people (16-24) would consider leaving their existing employer as a result of their business travel policy. The most important factors when assessing how sustainable an employer are use of green energy (41%), recycling policies (41%), and sustainable travel policies (34%). 73% of employees would like employers to provide clear information about the impact of required business travel.

Champa Magesh, President, Trainline Partner Solutions, comments: “The notion of travel for work is becoming increasingly fluid. Employers are looking for more control over an increasing variety of travel options and help making more sustainable journeys. Employees are asking for personalised travel solutions that are more tailored to their needs. Trainline is focused on bringing the best technology to the challenge of helping employers and employees to make the best and most sustainable travel decisions.”

The survey of employers suggests improvement has been made as 64% offer more sustainable options for staff compared to 18 months’ ago but there is a long way to go to match employee expectations. Even though 69% of businesses admit that employees were asked to fly unnecessarily pre-pandemic, 74% will still ask staff to fly for business when restrictions ease.

While three in five businesses confess that staff are increasingly asking tough questions about sustainable business travel policies, only 64% have a clear policy for reducing the impact business travel has on the environment.

With employees seeking companies with progressive policies, it’s interesting that of the companies without a clear policy or plan for sustainable travel, more than two in five (45%) have struggled to hire staff since the pandemic. The vast majority (89%) of business leaders agree that sustainable business travel is vital for their employer brand.