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Global firms cut travel emissions by 50%, adapting post-pandemic with virtual meetings and less flying.

A new Travel Smart analysis shows a significant shift in corporate travel. The study by the European Federation for Transport and Environment reveals that around half of 217 global firms cut their travel emissions by over 50% from 2019 to 2022. This change is largely due to reduced air travel since the pandemic.

Travel Smart scrutinized the travel patterns of these companies. They found that 104 firms slashed their emissions by at least 50%. The COVID-19 pandemic played a part, as virtual meetings lessened the need for travel.

The study highlights that SAP led the pack with an 86% reduction in travel emissions. Pfizer followed closely with a 78% decrease, and PwC with about 76%.

On average, these global firms saw a 51% drop in business travel emissions from 2019 to 2022.Denise Auclair of Travel Smart commented, “Overall it’s a positive picture to see so many companies not returning to pre-2019 levels of flying. Lessons from the pandemic have been learnt: the way forward is collaboration with more online meetings, more travel by train and less by plane.”

The European Federation for Transport and Environment notes the importance of this reduction. To meet the Paris Agreement's 1.5 degrees Celsius target, business travel emissions must halve this decade.

While many companies achieved this goal, 113 didn't cut emissions by half. Travel Smart's analysis revealed that JP Morgan Chase saw a 13% reduction. Merck and Johnson & Johnson followed with 17% and 28% decreases, respectively.

Twenty-one of these companies had higher emissions than before the pandemic. L3Harris, Boston Scientific, and Marriott International were among them.

Had these 113 companies halved their emissions, over 1.8 million metric tons of CO2 could have been saved.

Boston Scientific, however, disputed these findings. They told Reuters, “It reflects the company’s Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) disclosure for business travel prior to Boston Scientific receiving approval of its net-zero, science-based scopes 1, 2 and 3 targets.”

Despite the average 50% reduction in emissions, the Smart Travel campaign urges 171 firms without targets to aim for a 50% cut or more. The European Federation for Transport and Environment warns that without action, aviation emissions could rise 38% by 2050.

Auclair adds, “The era of uncontrolled business flying is coming to an end. Governments are taking notice and cracking down on unnecessary flights. This makes sense for the planet but also for the businesses themselves, who can cut costs and prioritise the well-being of their employees.”

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theater actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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