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INTO THE FUTURE


at the recent Extinction Rebellion protests; it’s only a matter of time before environmentalists start calling out companies with high levels of travel-related emissions. Campaigners will increasingly focus on aviation


because it’s a growing polluter that is almost impossible to mitigate. According to a May 2019 report from the Committee on Climate Change, aviation counted for 8 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, and business travel accounted for 20 per cent of aviation. The big problem is the volume of greenhouse gases caused by aviation has doubled since 1990, whereas other sources have stayed flat. By 2050, successful efforts to reduce those other sources mean aviation will be our number one or two polluter. Offsetting is inadequate, and there are major doubts about the genuine sustaina- bility of biofuels (although electric-powered aircraft for short distances are under development). Therefore, the committee says the UK government must look at taxation and other “measures to manage growth in demand”. In May, the Scottish government reversed previous plans to cut air passenger duty. What does this mean for travel managers? In my view,


it’s an opportunity, not a threat. As companies come under pressure to act much more seriously to reduce their business travel, travel managers will be the obvious candidates internally to lead this vital task. Another of my many incorrect predictions over the years has been that I truly thought travel managers would evolve into interaction managers, responsible for facili- tating non-face-to-face meetings (through video-confer- encing, for example) as well as face-to-face ones. Now that a climate emergency has been declared, the old wartime slogan “Is your journey really necessary?” takes on more resonance, and it will become travel managers’ role to


buyingbusinesstravel.com


CAMPAIGNERS WILL INCREASINGLY FOCUS ON AVIATION BECAUSE IT’S A


GROWING POLLUTER THAT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO MITIGATE


ask that question, helping deliver virtual alternatives and shifting policy away from travel unless essential. Business travel won’t go away, but it’s a precious resource we will have to husband more responsibly.


Amon’s Crystal Balls:


TRAVEL MANAGERS WILL BECOME MICRO-SERVICE ARCHITECTS That’s a fancy term for a trend I identified a couple of issues ago. Travel managers will increasingly become technologists: curating, integrating and customising apps and other digital tools to build their own platform of services for travellers and other key stakeholders. This new approach to travel management will also lead to a battle for control between corporate clients and travel service providers. Today, some of those providers operate closed systems: clients can integrate tools within the providers’ systems but cannot draw data out of them into other platforms. Expect more friction over this issue.


2019 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 107


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