With environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives becoming increasingly intertwined with the corporate travel program, partnering with a travel management company (TMC) that shares your values is important. As an extension of your team, your TMC can help bring the ESG goals associated with the travel and meetings program to life.
Today, let’s dive deeper into how a TMC with strong ESG principles can benefit your organization and the factors to keep in mind when assessing a potential partner.
Many global corporations have set sustainability goals in line with the Paris Agreement, such as halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050 or sooner. Given that air travel accounts for 2.5% of global emissions, many companies are turning to their travel programs as a top focus for their decarbonization journey – which is where your TMC enters the picture.
Aligning a travel program towards sustainability is easier when you have access to a TMC’s suite of green solutions designed to identify, reduce, and offset residual carbon emissions with the support of consultants certified in sustainable tourism.
What to consider when evaluating a TMC’s environmental framework
Building a more sustainable travel program isn’t subjective – it’s science-driven. Thus, it’s crucial to align with a TMC that is committed to the principles of the Paris Agreement and can demonstrate its emission reduction results based on methodologies validated by leading climate organizations.
In addition to evaluating the sustainability-focused tools and services the TMC offers, including carbon calculators, emissions dashboards, and carbon reduction and compensation programs, consider what broader actions the company is taking to create sustainable travel. A TMC that is taking bold steps to decarbonize air travel and working with decision-makers in and outside the industry can introduce you to groundbreaking solutions that can get your organization to net zero faster.
As business meetings are another significant source of emissions, it’s a bonus to link up with a TMC that can help with creating more sustainable events too.
Many organizations recognize the importance of a diverse workforce and invest significant energy in fostering an environment that embraces and empowers individuals of all backgrounds. We believe when you work with a TMC that prioritizes diversity and inclusion, both within its own culture and supplier chain, your company can better meet the diverse needs of your employees.
By cultivating a diverse workforce, a TMC can tap into a wealth of perspectives, ultimately leading to more balanced and inclusive travel services, technologies, and experiences for all.
What to consider when evaluating a TMC’s social framework
It’s vital for a TMC whose business is connecting people across the world to foster a diverse workforce that can better understand the unique challenges each of your travelers face and create solutions with them in mind.
So dig deeper into what a TMC is doing to support diversity and inclusion inside and outside the organization. You might ask: What is it doing to attract and retain people of different backgrounds? Is it actively working to increase the number of women and people of color in leadership and tech roles? Does it provide training to its staff to better support your diverse travelers? What social causes is it involved in to positively impact the global communities your employees are heading to?
Also, look for a TMC willing to understand your employees’ specific requirements and create innovative solutions that cater to diverse needs, including individuals with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Governance often gets the least attention, but it’s a critical driver of corporate responsibility and performance. How a TMC structures its governance framework can significantly impact your travel program.
Travelers can encounter the unexpected, whether it’s inclement weather, a natural disaster, or a geopolitical crisis. In such situations, a TMC’s crisis/incident management and business continuity programs are critical to protecting your travelers.
Due to its sensitive nature, travel data can become the target of fraudsters and other bad actors. A TMC’s information security and data privacy framework is key in protecting and respecting your traveler and company data. For companies operating around the globe that face an ever-evolving legal and regulatory environment, a TMC’s structured compliance program can help them meet those dynamic requirements.
What to consider when evaluating a TMC’s governance framework
When it comes to the safety of your travelers, data, and the company’s reputation, having a highly regulated TMC whose risk and compliance program follows both the letter and spirit of the law can give you great peace of mind. It’s not just enough for the TMC’s own employees to adhere to these rigorous rules but also all those acting on its behalf.
With the amount of personal and company information linked to travel itineraries and transactions, partnering with a TMC that follows the most stringent privacy and information security standards globally is crucial. A TMC that has adopted a wide range of controls to mitigate fraudulent activities – such as machine learning, identity verification procedures, robotics routines highlighting potential red flags within booking processes, and extensive training of its traveler care teams – can give you reassurance your travelers’ valuable information is in safe hands. Ask a potential TMC about its dedicated risk and compliance, security, and privacy teams – and when you do so, inquire about its program operations and controls, not just about its policies.
In addition, find out what systems your chosen TMC has in place to manage and mitigate risk resulting from disasters and other significant business disruptions so that you can be confident it can support your employees during an emergency.
What’s one of the best ways to learn about a TMC’s ESG principles and policies? Reading its annual ESG report. If a TMC doesn’t have one, well, that’s saying a lot.
Here’s ours – hot off the presses.