Companies are under increasing pressure to reduce the environmental impact of business travel, exemplified by a recent proposal from the Securities & Exchange Commission to make carbon reporting mandatory for all US-listed firms. Against this backdrop, payments leader Conferma Pay is seeking to leverage the technological innovations of virtual cards to launch an industry-first capability.
Dubbed ‘Conferma Pay Emissions Reporting,’ the system offers a unique ability to capture a precise record of airline, hotel and all on-trip spend, including the likes of taxis or meals, in a single end-to-end view when payment is made with a virtual card.
When integrated with leading emissions intelligence software, provided by Thrust Carbon, Conferma Pay can accurately report on the carbon impact of each individual business trip.
Initially focused on the airline and hotel component of the journey, the new reporting capability allows corporations to measure and subsequently manage the environmental impact of business travel.
Rich flight data like aircraft model, age, flight duration and load factor is combined with high quality hotel carbon data to calculate emissions.
Only through tracking this data through a virtual card can travel managers currently gain this level of visibility.
Simon Barker, chief executive, Conferma Pay commented: “Companies want to understand the environmental impact their employees have, so they can offset accurately and educate their people to make smarter choices.
“The way companies pay can help them make sustainable business travel choices.”
Business travellers with Conferma Pay’s innovative app are already using virtual cards to make tap-and-go payments for on-trip purchases like meals and taxis, providing a single record of spend that simplifies the expense process.
In the mid-term, travellers with the app will be provided with a carbon impact graphic so they understand the Co2 emissions of their trip.
In the future, travellers will be empowered to understand the Co2 impact of on-trip purchases like hailing an Uber or ordering a branded coffee before they complete the payment.
Glenn Thorsen, head of partnerships at Thrust Carbon, said: “This is a fantastic step forward for travellers to both measure and reduce their emissions whilst travelling.
“By and large emissions data is expensive, inaccessible, and even inaccurate.
“If a company pays with virtual cards, Conferma has the data to provide reliable and accurate carbon footprints for each trip.
“With our data-enablement, together we can transform how people understand the impact of their travel, and ultimately, pave the path towards Net-Zero.”
The new carbon reporting capability is available to direct users of Conferma Pay’s app or to companies using Visa Commercial Pay, which is powered by the same Conferma Pay technology.
Many of the world’s largest corporations are already using virtual card technology today and are now free to report on the carbon impact of their programme and begin to make business travel choices based on sustainability drivers.
Paul Raymond, director of strategic relationships, Conferma Pay, added: “Some travel managers already receive emissions data, but it’s fragmented and isn’t always reliable.
“Corporations that use virtual cards to pay for flights, hotels and on-trip spend like meals or taxis gain a single view of each trip, and when combined with reliable Co2 data from Thrust Carbon, travel managers get the complete picture at the trip level.
“That’s what the industry needs to be able to change behaviour.”