The business travel industry’s first low-carbon convention will be held this month as corporate travel managers demonstrate a new determination to limit the impact of travel on climate change.
More than a thousand delegates will attend the Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) global education conference in Barcelona (22-24 October 2006).
British Airways, one of the world’s largest international airlines, will sponsor offsets of all carbon emissions produced by delegates’ travel to and from the conference and while in Barcelona. These offsets will fund a renewable energy project in the developing world.
British Airways is committed to limiting the impact of its operations on global warming wherever possible. It is currently the only global airline that enables its customers to offset their flight emissions.
Customers use a quick link on the airline’s website, ba.com, to calculate the emissions generated by their journey and pay for an equivalent carbon saving elsewhere in the world.
ACTE is encouraging all delegates to use low-emission transportation from the airport to the conference centre and requesting them to walk to and from the lectures they attend.
The conference hotels, AC Barcelona, Barcelona Princess and Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona, have been specifically selected by ACTE due to their commitment to environmentally friendly business operations.
ACTE is also urging its members to reduce CO2 emissions on a long-term basis by making responsible travel choices an integral part of their everyday work. A survey carried out by ACTE indicated that one third of company travel managers would consider terminating the contracts of suppliers with a poor environmental record. In addition, more ACTE members are asking for best practices and tools on how to curb CO2 emissions.
Conference sessions will have a strong environmental theme. A session on ‘green’ tendering methods for travel managers will be led by Bernard Harrop, managing director of IG Management, and include contributions from Jon Price of the Carbon Neutral Company and Jan Peter Bergkvist, Director of Environmental Sustainability, Hilton International.
Other speakers include Daniel Calleja y Crespo, the Directorate-General for Energy and Transport at the European Commission, who will discuss the EU’s sustainable mobility initiatives in the context of wider aviation policy and David Rabey from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) who will describe how UK Government Procurement Policy is embracing the concept of Sustainable Development.
ACTE is the first major business travel trade association to enter into an agreement with organizations (CarbonNeutral and the Climate Trust) offering tools and programmes to measure and reduce carbon emissions.
Richard Tams, British Airways’ General Manager for Global Corporate Sales, said:
“British Airways takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously, and we seek to curb our generation of greenhouse gases wherever possible.
“Carbon offsetting is an excellent way for individuals to demonstrate their own concern about the environment, and we are delighted to participate in this group offset with ACTE, which represents a highly influential element in the business travel sector.”
Susan Gurley, ACTE Executive Director, said:
“Our Corporate Social Responsible initiatives are member driven. As an education association we believe we should offer best practices and ideas to our members on options available in the CSR arena.
“We are very pleased to be working alongside British Airways to reduce carbon emissions for the Barcelona conference and we hope that others will follow ACTE’s lead and work to decrease CO2 emissions in all their activities.”