Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG, initiatives have been steadily gaining attention as an important metric of a company’s value proposition in the wider global community. One of the largely unanticipated consequences emerging from the COVID-19 shutdown has been the laser focus it has brought to advancing ESG issues.
By Travel Buyers Think Tank
Crystal Ball Gazing I can see how ESG would provide a strong foundation for the corporate crystal ball. In general, there has been an attitude adjustment around sustainability and social justice awareness, especially over the last 20 months. Travel industry professionals have already identified tactics and strategies to reduce the carbon footprint and encourage mindfulness of environmental and social issues. I think the next step is to put some meaningful data around it in a way that can contribute to that corporate crystal ball and boost the viability, longevity and performance of an organization. – Wendy Palmer
What’s the Score? In our everyday lives we make conscious decisions about how, where and with whom we spend our money. More and more these purchase decisions are not only driven by the lowest price and quality, but also what impact that decision will have on our environment or our everyday lives. Is the company I am spending with making a positive impact on the environment, helping strengthen the communities they are in? Are the employees of the company treated fairly and feeling good about the company they represent?
I’m sure the companies we work for are striving to achieve positive ESG results, and one hopes this translates into the corporation’s procurement of goods and services, looking not only at the price, but also what aligning with this other company looks like to customers. We need more clarity into what goes into an ESG score, so that when a company’s ESG score eventually makes its way into options we offer for travel, we can make better decisions around that factor, similar to the way hotel ratings are displayed to travelers today. – David Smith
Diversity – It’s Important Diversity and inclusion are important parts of our lives, in or out of travel. As travelers and travel managers, we love traveling to other countries to experiencing other cultures, food and lifestyles. Traveling is one of the best ways to embrace differences in the world. Promoting travel to other countries or even different areas of the United States is important for understanding others, and for growing personally and professionally.
One of my first trips out of the country, I was so excited to go to this beautiful oceanfront resort. One afternoon, we decided to walk into town. Sadly, what I saw was something I had never imagined; the lack of housing, food and water was painfully apparent. We shared our bottled water with them, and offered our snacks to the children – a small gesture, but a start. I remind myself not to “take life for granted,” don’t “waste food” and most of all, remember the Golden Rule, “Do to others as you want them to do to you.” We all have different backgrounds and lifestyles, but yet we are all humans who want to live in a world of acceptance and appreciation for our differences. – Gloria Gonzalez
Get Ahead of the Curve Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (or ESG for short) is gaining a foothold in the US and will continue to grow in relevance for years to come. Many of us in the world of corporate travel are familiar with the environmental impacts of travel. These been closely monitored for many years in Europe, especially CO2 emissions, but hasn’t really been a priority for US-based companies unless their headquarters were in the EU. However this outlook has been quickly changing, with US travel suppliers taking note and now offering CO2 offset opportunities.
Social and corporate governance issues are also becoming more relevant in recent years. Companies not only need to ensure they are ahead of the guidelines dealing with risk management and gender/diversity inclusion but also confirm their partners and suppliers are as well. As the ESG standards continue to evolve, it’s safe to say a company’s financial standing is more at risk with low ESG compliance. US-based travel managers and suppliers need to familiarize themselves with ESG standards, because the issues are clearly gaining momentum and are here to stay! – Chris Brockman
ESG in Context NetApp, like many Silicon Valley companies, is working hard to improve its efforts at social responsibility with new emphasis on diversity/inclusion, sustainability, and ethics in the workplace. While I wholeheartedly believe the expanded efforts in these areas are sincere, they are also meant to improve NetApp’s recruiting efforts in an increasingly difficult job market.
Where travel is involved, several years ago NetApp eliminated its dedicated sustainability manager position. It was a time of major upheaval for the company and no job was safe. We lost two members of our travel team. This week I had a call with the newly appointed sustainability manager for NetApp. She knows about workplace resource sustainable processes but little about travel even though she recognizes the obvious impact of travel on the environment. I have my work cut out for me as I try to create a program that will benefit NetApp and the environment as well as complement the company’s wider goals. – Mark Ziegler