1 July 2020

How to win new customers by improving your climate credentials

There used to be a time when operating as a ‘green business’ was a USP or market differentiator; not anymore. Now, customers expect all companies to incorporate environmental principles into their approach to doing business – and they will often go elsewhere if a firm fails to show their ecological conscience.

But despite strong climate credentials being critical to strong customer relationships, many product or service providers don’t currently know what their environmental footprint is, let alone have a fully developed strategy in place for reducing their carbon consumption.

As sustainability gains more and more influence over who people trade with, it’s imperative that leading businesses put the processes in place to measure the environmental impact of their practices, and take steps to run a greener operation. Travel tracking technology is a powerful tool in the battle to fight climate change.

Businesses need to keep raising the ecological bar

There’s been a real market shift around sustainability and brand ethics in recent years, with customers now viewing strong environmental credentials as a ‘must have’ for companies, rather than a ‘nice to have’. Lifestyle initiatives such as cutting the consumption of single-use plastic, upcycling and reducing waste are changing consumer priorities, and impacting their choice of which companies they do business with.

These consumers expect organisations to keep raising the bar on eco-friendly initiatives; according to Nielsen, 81% of people globally feel strongly that companies should help to improve the environment. And, while this puts pressure on businesses, it also presents an opportunity.

A 2019 study found that sustainable and ethical business practice is the now second most important driver of brand loyalty, behind product quality. Customers care about more than just the materials used in retail or manufacturing businesses; in every type of service they consume, they want to collaborate with companies that are taking active steps to reduce or minimise their environmental footprint.

Company travel is a good place to start

When it comes to cutting carbon emissions, one of the most effective places for businesses to start is corporate travel. Globally, more than $1.33 trillion is spent on work trips each year, and many considerably sized companies have already committed to changing their approach to work-related travel, in a bid to tackle climate change.

For example, in January 2020, BlackRock – the world’s largest asset management firm – joined the Climate Action 100+, an investor initiative to compel the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to take meaningful action on environmental change. Additionally, global energy company Total has committed to becoming net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, following pressure from its investors.

However, promising action is not always straightforward, as many businesses simply aren’t aware of their current environmental footprint, or how they can take practical steps to reduce carbon emissions without compromising essential operation.

This is where climate impact technology can hugely support environmental and CSR strategies – by showing organisations the consequences of business travel, and providing actionable insights to improve their credentials.

Simple ways to cut company carbon footprint

The first thing any company looking to improve their green credentials should do is start tracking business travel, as it’s essential to build up baseline knowledge before making carbon-cutting improvements. Businesses need to know exactly how many miles are travelled for work each week, month and year, by what transportation methods, to determine where improvements can be made.

With a decent set of data in-hand, the next step is to analyse this information, to ascertain the company’s total environmental footprint, along with which individuals and/or teams travel most frequently, with which suppliers.

From here, businesses are in a strong position to make greener travel decisions, including:

  • Streamlining the number of business trips that people make, switching to conference and video calls where possible
  • Reducing the number of people needed per trip, instead sending single representatives who can share insights with the wider team on their return
  • Choosing greener travel methods – for example, instructing staff to take public transport over taxis, or booking rail travel instead of short haul flights

For unavoidable travel, companies can also look into carbon offsetting programmes , to ensure they are mitigating the impact of business trips by contributing to environmentally positive initiatives.

Travel tracking technology is key to making pro-climate changes

Change becomes a necessity when it starts being driven by external forces – and the demand for more sustainable brand principles is coming from the customer. In order to keep winning business, companies need to take responsibility for their climate change policies, providing evidence of how they are monitoring and managing their impact on the environment.

For businesses that don’t yet have a climate change framework in place, or who know their approach needs updating, the easiest way to make improvements is to invest in travel tracking software with built-in environmental footprint tools.

Utilising the latest technology is a straightforward, effective way for businesses to benchmark their performance today, and develop strategies for becoming a greener brand tomorrow, while still facilitating essential business travel.

Taking steps to slow climate change can have a positive financial impact as well; many companies find their annual travel costs are reduced when they start using travel tracking technology, and there are further bottom-line benefits to building trusting, loyal customer relationships based on strong environmental principles.

In fact, many leading business have shown that environmental impact strategies are an effective way to boost profitability AND build brand reputation, through one set of changes. It’s a compelling case for technology investment.

To see how climate impact tools can improve your customer credibility, book a free Voyage Manager demo.