With environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives becoming increasingly intertwined with corporate travel programs, partnering with a travel management company (TMC) that shares your values is important. A TMC with strong ESG principles can benefit your firm, and we’ll outline factors to keep in mind when assessing a potential partner.
Many law firms 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, firms are turning to their travel programs as a top focus for their decarbonization journey. 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
To build a more sustainable travel program, it’s crucial to align with a TMC that can demonstrate its emission reduction results based on science-driven 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 your firm is taking to create sustainable travel.
Many firms recognize the importance of a diverse workforce and invest significant energy in fostering an environment that embraces and empowers individuals of all backgrounds. By working with a TMC that prioritizes diversity and inclusion, both within its own culture and its supplier chain, your firm can better meet the needs of your staff.
What to consider when evaluating a TMC’s social framework
Dig deeper into what a TMC is doing to support diversity and inclusion inside and outside the firm. 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 travelers are heading to?
Also, look for a TMC willing to understand your firm’s specific requirements and create innovative solutions that cater to diverse needs, including individuals with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Governance is a critical driver of corporate responsibility and performance. How a TMC structures its governance framework can significantly impact your travel program. 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 your traveler and firm-wide data.
What to consider when evaluating a TMC’s governance framework
When it comes to the safety of your travelers, data, and the firm’s reputation, having a highly regulated TMC whose risk and compliance program follows both the letter and spirit of the law is key. It’s not enough for the TMC’s own employees to adhere to these rigorous rules but also all those acting on its behalf.
A TMC utilizing 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 – offers 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, inquire about its program operations and controls, not just about its policies.
What’s one of the best ways to learn about a TMC’s ESG principles and policies? Reading its annual ESG report. Click here to read ours, published by American Express Global Business Travel.
A version of this article was previously published by American Express Global Business Travel.