Business travel and sustainability

Conference object English RESTRICTED
AGUILERA, Anne (2013)
  • Subject: MODE DE TRANSPORT | MOBILITE | DEPLACEMENT PROFESSIONNEL

Although it contributes significantly to the demand for transport, in particular air transport, business travel has been relatively neglected in thinking about the strategies needed to promote more sustainable mobility practices. This paper provides a two-stage approach to this subject. We begin by showing how the sustainability of business travel is relevant not only in environmental terms, but also from an economic and social perspective. In the second stage, we consider the strategies that companies and governments can adopt to move business travel practices in a more sustainable direction. Our analysis relates primarily to Europe, especially France, and the USA. The conclusion is that making business travel practices more sustainable demands commitment from three categories of stakeholder: employees, corporations and governments. The latter, in particular, have a major role to play in raising awareness of the issues, in particular the environmental issues, associated with business travel, but also in raising awareness of the active role that ICT can play in reducing the need for travel. However, as with other forms of travel, business travel cannot be made more sustainable through initiatives that focus solely on travel. This is because business travel is the outcome of the upstream choices that companies make about their spatial organisation, and therefore the organisation of the worldwide system of production. Changes are therefore needed at this level. Here too, governments have a major role to play in raising global awareness, getting behind ideas and building strategies that go beyond the borders of individual nations.
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