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In the spring of 2020, do you remember enjoying the smell of flowering trees unmixed with car exhaust? The time when people who lived under flight paths were free of jet engines roaring overhead? Many people quietly hoped, “Maybe it could stay this way”.

Even at Mia Bazo and our sister company Voyage Manager – both travel technology companies – we said, “We can live with this. It’s better for the environment, and some level of travel will start up again when the pandemic is over. We won’t go out of business.”

Well, we were wrong. The pandemic rages on, and business travel is roaring back.

The stats

A recent article in Business Travel News Europe quoted projections from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and aviation data specialist Cirium. They’re usually as reliable as any source of predictions can be. You know, barring yet another new deadly virus or global war.

According to Cirium, domestic passenger traffic will reach pre-pandemic levels in 2022, and they expect international traffic to reach 66 percent of pre-pandemic levels. GBTA predicts that business travel spend will surpass pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.

What to do about climate impact

You’re probably already taking the most important step toward reducing your company’s (or your personal) climate impact. Successive lockdowns have taught us that commuting to work, in-person meetings and live trade events are nowhere as necessary as we thought they were.

But we appreciate that sometimes you just have to travel. So the first responsible thing you can do is know the carbon footprint of your travel.

Using our free Climate Impact tool (and as they say on the BBC, other providers are available – just not as good, in our not-very-humble opinion), you can already calculate the carbon footprint of your properties, vehicles and any form of travel, including hotel accommodation.

This month, we have added a feature that lets you set a carbon budget for each person in your company. Throughout this quarter, we will be adding carbon planning. When it’s complete, you will be able to add prospective trips into Climate Impact, and the platform will let you know the options for that trip and the carbon impact for each.

For example, if you need to go from London to Brussels, you can enter a specific flight you want to take, and Mia Bazo will tell you the carbon emissions associated with it – some aircraft consume more fuel than others. You can also enter the two airports you want to travel between, and it will give you generic emissions data for that distance by air. Or the emissions for doing the trip by automobile, or the Eurostar. You will then be able to pick your route and activate that as a planned journey in the Travel Tracking tool.

You can also purchase carbon offset through Mia Bazo, from one of our verified tree-planting partners. In this case, some other providers are probably as ethical as our partners, and you can manually enter any offset you purchase from them into your carbon balance calculator.

What to do about duty of care

When I think back to when my employers used to just send us e-tickets to, say, Bangalore with no guidance, I get the heebie-jeebies. Essentially, they were saying, “Off you go. We know you’ve never been there; it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing; but hey, not our problem”.

It was their problem. It baffles me how so many companies whose staff travel don’t know they are liable if one of their people is injured or killed. Demonstrating the steps they took to safeguard that person could mitigate their liability, but not remove it.

But we’d like to believe that the people who read our blog would take duty of care seriously enough to want to put processes in place that protect their staff, for ethical reasons.

And our customers who are partially government funded tell us that a certain level of duty of care is mandated, which is why they came to us.

Our Travel Tracking tools actively track a traveller’s location from the moment they leave home until their safe return. We use a combination of itinerary information, traveller confirmations by SMS or email, real-time flight data and (only if the traveller wants it) the geolocation of their phone.

Our Travel Security tools provide up-to-date country guides that tell people how to stay safe (along with a wealth of practical information, such as banking hours and driving laws). Our real-time security alerts let you and your people know when there are incidents occurring in their locations. And we send daily safety check-ins, by SMS or email.

We send you notifications when a traveller departs, arrives, fails to confirm departure or arrival, or doesn’t respond to a safety check-in.

If we have to send our people on the road, let’s do it conscientiously, for them and the environment.

J Laurence Sarno

J Laurence Sarno is co-founder and CMO of Mia Bazo, with more than 30 years in technology marketing. He led his first socially responsible company in the late 1970s and is passionate about ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance).

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