The number of international business trips could fall at least a third in the next two to three years, according to new research.
A survey by international non-profit, theÂ Climate Group, found that the vast majority of sustainability professionals (89%) think their companyâ€™s overseas travel in the next two to three years will be significantly reduced compared to pre COVID-19 levels.
These professionals come from some of the most influential multinationals taking action to reduce energy and transport emissions, and are largely considered to be leaders and trendsetters in global business, including major financial institutions, retail groups and tech giants.
Based on the Climate Groupâ€™s analysis of respondents, a cautious assessment could indicate a potential average decline in international business trips of up to 40%.
If this were to be a general trend repeated across businesses worldwide, the reduced flights alone could cut 28 million tons of COâ‚‚ a year.
According to the Group, this is a conservative estimate as it doesnâ€™t take into account that business passengers often take up a relatively greater space in a plane by opting for larger premium or business class seats.
Overall, almost all respondents (99%) believe their company will permanently alter some business practices as a result of the virus outbreak.
As well as a reduction in international business travel, other long-term changes include:
â€˜Despite the challenges presented by COVID, we know from our partners in business and government that they donâ€™t want to return to â€˜business as usualâ€™ â€“ we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild a greener, fairer future and they want to grab it,â€™ said the Climate Groupâ€™s director of corporate partnerships, Mike Peirce.
â€˜Businesses have seen there are many digital solutions available to them that allow for remote working to be effective and collaborative, while cutting costs and emissions from travel – something we all thought was in the hard-to-do box before the pandemic. It makes sense that they carry this mentality forward after travel restrictions have lifted.â€™
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