GBTA Foundation Study Finds Sustainability Initiatives Increasingly Important to Managed Travel Programs

Alexandria, VA (July 2, 2012)
 – Sustainability initiatives are playing an increasingly important factor in managed travel programs, according to new research released by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). In conjunction with the regional GBTA Sustainability Committees, travel managers in the United States, Europe and Australia were surveyed for their opinions on sustainability or “green” efforts when it comes to their business travel programs.

The study revealed companies are focusing on sustainability measures that can generate savings for companies, influence traveler behavior to make better decisions and are looking to establish relationships with green-friendly suppliers. The report “2012 Sustainable Travel Policies Benchmarking Study,” also found that when it comes to sustainability, Europe is ahead of the US.  

There were stark differences between the surveyed region’s approaches to future programs indicating room for collaborative growth developing key metrics, and sharing tactics to help established policies and shape best practices globally:




Environmental responsibility is more important now than it was even two years ago



Plan to incorporate more green measures



Anticipate using environmental sourcing criteria



Participates in at least one travel-related sustainability initiative 



Of those who participate in at least 1 and also have four or more travel-related sustainability initiatives



"Companies worldwide are focusing their corporate social responsibility programs on their impact on our environment,” said Bernard Harrop, head of sustainability at the GBTA Foundation. “Travel has an outsized impact on the environment, but from this study we’ve learned that travel managers lack direction and accurate data to evolve their travel programs in the best interest of the environment.”

With the renewed focus on environmental policy, companies will be focusing on supplier relationships, searching for the vendors with the green services and solutions to curb waste, minimize carbon footprints and generate results. In Europe and Australia, more than one-third of travel buyers plan to make supplier changes in the next two years in order to comply with new sustainability travel policies. Between 37 percent and 43 percent of travel managers say they anticipate changing at least one of their airline, hotel or ground transportation suppliers.

When asked to provide helpful and actionable ideas to improve green efforts in travel programs, travel managers suggested taking an active role to influence traveler behavior by educating them about what they’re willing to do to help reduce emissions, like carpooling and actively promoting preferred vendors with green initiatives. Travel managers can also request reports from contracted suppliers and make CO2 emissions on various transportation methods on traveler search tools clear so travelers know just how to make the right decision.

“Travel managers around the world can learn from each other about what’s working in current programs,” continued Harrop. “GBTA has been at the forefront of this issue, which has been of strategic importance for the business travel industry developing programs like Project ICARUS, the first global travel management sustainability body, representing the interests of the global travel and meetings industry.”

The full report is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more information on Project ICARUS including links to research, involvement opportunities and the recognition and awards programs, visit the newly designed website

About the GBTA Foundation The GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s premier business travel and corporate meetings organization. Collectively, GBTA’s 5,000-plus members manage over $340 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its network of 17,000 business and government travel and meetings managers, as well as travel service providers, with networking events, news, education & professional development, research, and advocacy. The foundation was established in 1997 to support GBTA’s members and the industry as a whole. As the leading education and research foundation in the business travel industry, the GBTA Foundation seeks to fund initiatives to advance the business travel profession. The GBTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, see and

Meghan Henning, +1 703-236-1133 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Rebecca Carriero, +1 212-446-1897 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Bookmark and Share





Support Sustainable Travel

Make a tax deductible donation to Sustainable Travel International and help make our world a better place.




Enroll into the Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP) to access important tools that help you protect the places you visit and grow your business.


Carbon Calculator

Visit our Carbon Calculator to quickly and easily calculate and offset the emissions from your travel and other activities.


Carbon Offsets

Visit our website to learn more about our emission reduction project portfolio and how you can sponsor activity today.