The evolution of duty of care: Protecting the environment

Duty of care is the moral or legal requirement to ensure the safety and wellbeing of others – but the pressing need for more sustainable travel requires businesses to broaden their horizons. HRS explores the next step in the duty of care evolution: protecting the planet itself.

The evolution of duty of care: Protecting the environment


As we become more acutely aware of the planet’s increasing need for protection, duty of care has become an all-important responsibility. Travel managers may need to consider how they can widen their scope, not only to address the individual’s needs, but to think about the bigger picture for their corporate travel programs.

The benefits of environmental CSR

The need to reduce negative environmental impacts now falls under the remit of corporate social responsibility (CSR) – and it’s become a primary focus for many businesses.

For those that put resources into creating a greener profile, there are advantages that extend beyond the good it does for our planet. Environmental CSR can also reduce business risk and improve the company’s reputation, as well as increasing customer loyalty and revenue as a result – people buy from responsible companies. Equally, with new technologies coming online, there’s the potential to cut costs and improve efficiency too.

Corporate travel is one of the areas that can impact on an organization’s green credentials, not only because of the flights, but also the lodgings chosen – hotels account for 25% of the travel industry’s global CO2 emissions.

Other areas that have an environmental impact include:

The role of travel managers in evolving the duty of care

Corporate travelers are becoming increasingly aware of the need for environmental care, and the part their organization should play in instigating and supporting sustainable practices.

To continue engaging your corporate travelers – and, most importantly, reduce leakage – travel managers should consider expanding their duty of care remit to include the world at large.

To incorporate sustainability into your travel policies:

1. Consider location carefully

Minimizing the amount of travel required is one big step towards creating a more sustainable travel culture within your organization. As a travel manager, you have influence over where meetings and events are held.
To reduce emissions and lower your company’s carbon footprint:

  • Choose drive-in rather than fly-in locations
  • Opt for public rather than private travel options
  • Book lodging close to the meeting or event venue

2. Encourage your staff to be more sustainable

Adopt a policy of using green practices wherever possible. For example, car-sharing if staff are traveling to the same location and using digital payments, itineraries and travel documents.

3. Use ethical and green suppliers

When choosing your travel options, try to use suppliers that have green credentials. Particularly when choosing lodging suppliers, you can make energy and water savings and use recyclable products and paperless systems.
And look out for suppliers that will also allow you to track your own ecological footprint.

4. Make your staff aware of your carbon footprint and any reductions you have made

Once you have implemented ways to reduce your carbon footprint and engage in sustainable practices, make sure you promote them to your staff to demonstrate the benefits of the new approach.

The advantages of a sustainable travel policy

A sustainable travel policy identifies and promotes the ways that a business can monitor and reduce its carbon footprint, encouraging more environmentally friendly travel choices across the organization.

As well as creating higher levels of satisfaction among its corporate travelers and minimizing leakage, it reduces the cost of business travel and puts the emphasis on public transport and car sharing, cutting local pollution levels.

Adopting greener practices also has a halo effect on the image and reputation of the business, improving staff recruitment and retention as well as increasing its standing in the eyes of an increasingly eco-conscious public.

Evaluating your supply chain for sustainability?

If you’re considering re-evaluating your supply chain in light of new sustainability policies, HRS can help. Our hotel and service partners can provide a clearer picture of the practices in place to help you make an informed decision about your supply chain.

Find out more about sourcing sustainable travel partners and services
through the HRS platform.

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