This report covers two years, 2019 and 2020, which in many ways represent polar opposites for BCD Travel, for our industry—and for the world. In this statement, we’ve chosen to speak particularly to 2020, a year that forced countries, companies and individuals to change policies, priorities and behaviors.
BUSINESS RESILENCE DRIVEN BY PURPOSE
For 45 years, BCD has been in the business of bringing people together through travel and meetings, two activities made nearly impossible since March 2020. But the same conditions that rocked our industry also highlighted our responsibility to our people, our clients and our community. In challenge, we found opportunities to serve, to innovate, to:
Live our values. For years, in speaking to clients, prospects, the press and our own people, we’ve called out our BCD culture as a true differentiator. The events of 2020 put that culture on shining display, as we rose to meet challenge after challenge. We’ve never been prouder of our employees’ courage, willingness to serve and grace under pressure—and now, more than ever, these qualities remain crucial. We delivered on our promise to ourselves and our clients to keep solving together, acting with purpose, doing what’s right, giving our best and feeding the future.
Align under our core strategies. Together, we strengthened the partnership, simplicity and innovation that our people and our clients perceive and receive at BCD. We delivered experiences and solutions that kept people safe, healthy, productive and confident. We simplified complexity through technology innovations that anticipate what lies ahead for our clients and their travelers.
We can look back at 2020 and be proud of what we achieved in the face of extraordinary circumstances—including our highest new sales and client retention ever. Our sales and retention levels are far more than numbers on a page. They represent the deep trust our clients have both in our financial stability and our ability to deliver. They establish a solid foundation for future growth as travel returns. And they will continue to fuel our capacity to focus on the essentials of sustainability.
In a year of unparalleled disruption, we moved forward on projects, initiatives and solutions that represent our firm commitment to sustainability. Our EcoVadis Platinum rating validated our outstanding sustainability performance, confirming our position in the top 1% of all companies assessed.
We would be remiss in not calling out several developments that speak to the unique conditions of 2020 and to the influence those conditions will have on the way we and our clients will operate in the future:
Climate change: The management of the environmental impact of our operations and the development of innovative solutions to help our clients make their travel programs more sustainable were in focus in 2020. To be future fit to meet our internal goal to reduce carbon emissions significantly by 2030, we signed on to the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). Our defined carbon goals will be submitted by Q4 2021.
Sustainable collaboration: Our focus on sustainable travel doesn’t just mean protecting the environment and addressing climate change, it also covers traveler wellbeing and minimizing risk. This is an especially important factor as we manage the impact of COVID-19. We’re working with clients to enable virtual collaboration as a viable alternative to business travel. It’s one of the most important opportunities for companies seeking to increase sustainability, savings, and employee satisfaction. Across our business lines, we’re addressing health and safety concerns related to the current pandemic by advising on strategies and facilitating both fully virtual and hybrid meetings and events.
Be You at BCD: We continue to grow as a company dedicated to creating thriving teams where everyone feels safe and welcome and respectful environments where everyone is valued. Driven by employee-led regional Diversity & Inclusion councils, we expanded internal education and awareness opportunities that help each of our people “Be You at BCD.”
Life Sciences Center of Excellence: It is our honor and privilege to serve 90% of the world’s top 20 life sciences companies. As the companies we serve in the pharmaceutical and life science industries raced to deliver coronavirus vaccines and treatments that will help give people the confidence to travel again, we were at their sides. Our expanded service offerings focus on patient-centricity to further enhance travel programs, leverage cost and improve experience. Our support for these clients (and so many others) translates into a force for positive change backed by partnership and shared purpose. The world needs them and they need us. And that is something we can be truly proud of.
Sustainable Development Goals: As a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact since 2008, our actions are guided by its ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. We continue to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have the greatest impact on our business. In 2020, we identified five additional SDGs, extending the number of supported goals to ten. These two UN initiatives continue to be a driving force in our current and future sustainability strategy.
FIT FOR THE FUTURE
As we pass the one-year anniversary of the first coronavirus country lockdowns, uncertainty continues to rule the day. The world was galvanized by the approval of effective vaccines at the end of 2020, but we still don’t know when vaccinations will create herd immunity and how national and international measures and restrictions will evolve.
Business travel will look very different as we move into a post-COVID world. But one thing will never change: our commitment to the wellbeing of our people, our clients and their travelers, and the wellbeing of the global community in which we all live and work. In partnership with our clients, we’re tackling this dynamic global crisis with discipline and cautious optimism. Together, we look forward to renewed success and sustainable growth.
President & CEO
Vice President & Executive Chair, Sustainability