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INSPIRE


BUYER’S GUIDE


Corporate responsibility can positively impact more parts of your travel programme than you might think


difficult to get them to adhere to policies for sound business reasons as well as CR considerations. While the most obvious element – environmental – has the most significant impact on Simmons & Simmons’ policy, owing to its direct links with business benefits, there are other gains that can emerge from having a robust CR plan.


B


There is a commercial imperative. Quite often, good CR behaviour is where we end up saving money. If we recycle, re-use and avoid waste, that can only lead to financial gains. With travel, following good CR practice will often have a positive impact on profit and loss, and that is viewed constructively when we start considering budgets.


We would rather someone did a video-conference than travel – you don’t need to be altruistic about this, it is far more cost-effective and a more efficient use of time to make use of VC technology than flying great distances with a significant carbon impact.


Engage suppliers. We send an annual CR questionnaire to our suppliers, from stationery vendors to TMCs, and hold an annual CR roundtable, discussing topics such as compliance, ISO 14001 (environmental management), the relevance of ISO standards and carbon offsetting. CR plays a part in our tender process, but the challenge is to find out what differentiates organisations.


James Clark


James Clark is office services manager at law firm Simmons & Simmons. He takes a leading role in its corporate responsibility, business continuity, estates/ workplace strategies and business process outsourcing.


Health and wellbeing form part of our CR. Going by train from St Pancras International is less stressful than by air from Stansted (our policy is to take Eurostar rather than flying to Paris or Brussels). Yes, Eurostar’s carbon footprint is less than that of a flight and it’s quicker, but you can work more easily on Eurostar and there’s less stress. Stress is still a dirty word – people struggle to admit to being stressed and no one wants to confess to causing stress, but it happens. There may be links between the way we travel and mindfulness.


Be clear about what you are trying to achieve in your organisation and how it’s communicated, whether it is for the public good or if it’s good business sense. Define your scope and be realistic – in a modern world, travel is necessary. We are a global company with global clients and we have to travel; we’ll never get down to zero journeys, but a good objective is to avoid unnecessary or wasted trips.


40 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 buyingbusinesstravel.com


ALANCING STRATEGIC GOALS, operational requirements and corporate responsibility (CR) is always a challenge, admits James Clark, office services manager at law firm Simmons & Simmons. He argues travel policies impact on stakeholders in a personal way, and it can be


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