Letter from our Executives
The uncertainty the world faced in 2020 rolled into 2021, as COVID-19 continued to affect nations, businesses and individuals alike. Being a business travel stakeholder in 2021 required clear-eyed realism, as we watched restrictions on travel loosen, tighten and loosen again in countries around the world. But we leaned into our innate capacity resilience, taking the challenges we – and our clients – faced as an extraordinary opportunity for evolution and an unprecedented chance to drive sustainable change.
In 2021, we focused on exceeding rapidly shifting expectations for sustainability within newly vulnerable global supply chains. As business travel began to return, we also continued to innovate in partnership with customers in establishing new parameters for sustainable travel programs. And we looked inward as well, creating opportunities to elevate our employees’ experience within BCD – with a particular focus on further raising D&I awareness and embedding D&I into our systems and policies.
The disruption presented by COVID-19, climate change and other world events in 2021 has encouraged companies to think critically about plotting a course for sustainable business travel in the future.
As a result, what our clients expect of BCD, and the sustainable value that we bring as part of their supply chain, has continued to change. Global summits like COP26 are also setting a clearer pathway to reduce the impact of climate change – and clarifying the role that BCD and others in our industry play in this effort.
Across industries, our clients have called for more active contributions from their supplier partners to their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental impact, carbon reduction and business ethics. The strong foundations that BCD has laid across our six sustainability Focus Areas meant that we were more than ready for these greater expectations.
As we grow, we have an obligation to ourselves, our clients and our communities to do so sustainably. We’ve consistently demonstrated our commitment through our alignment with the UN Global Compact and Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Reporting Initiative and ISO 26000. We also became the first global travel management company to join the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
For the second year in a row we earned a Platinum rating from EcoVadis, the world’s largest and most trusted provider of independent sustainability ratings.
The Platinum rating confirms our outstanding sustainability performance, validated best practices, and provides transparency and risk mitigation. It also places BCD in the top 1% of the 90,000+ companies currently assessed by EcoVadis.
Building sustainable travel programs
In a survey of 101 travel buyers conducted in November by BCD’s Research & Intelligence team, almost 70% reported an increased interest in sustainability from their company’s senior leadership. In 2021, we continued to develop solutions to enable clients to better integrate sustainable best practices into their travel programs, using innovative practices so that they meet their sustainability targets.
For many clients, environmental concerns remain firmly top of mind. From achieving ISO certification for Advito’s proprietary carbon emissions methodology initially piloted in 2020, to launching a new practice designed to help customers take advantage of high-speed rail, we’re helping them optimize spend, reduce carbon emissions, and increase traveler productivity and satisfaction. At the same time, we’re focused on encouraging companies to think more broadly – and helping them expand their travel program sustainability conversation to include social and governance aspects. We remain committed to being at the forefront of what a sustainable travel program looks like for our clients.
Elevating our employee experience
As the pandemic shook the foundations of people’s lives both personally and professionally, companies across all industries saw their workforces reassess what they prioritize in and around work. When it comes to the experience of our employees and what it means to be part of our organization, we’re committed to finding opportunities to continue supporting our people as they navigate the impact of COVID-19.
We knew that it would never be a case of ‘returning to normal’; the needs of our global workforce have fundamentally shifted. From piloting new features of our engagement platform to wellbeing initiatives and leadership learning forums – we implemented measures that support this evolution and enhance the employee experience at BCD. Our unwavering focus on employee experience helps us retain the best talent to bring continued innovation to our clients.
We also made a point to bring broader sustainability initiatives closer to our employees – giving them confidence that BCD will always make the right choices for a sustainable future. In 2021, in partnership with Delta Air Lines, we signed the first-ever sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) agreement for a travel management company. The premier agreement helps address emissions from our employee travel and bolsters the future of sustainability in the travel industry.
Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)
How we enable an experience that supports diversity, equity and inclusion for our people was once again a priority for BCD in 2021. We made key developments to our Be You at BCD program, including the appointment of a Senior Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, who brings a wealth of expertise to our D&I framework and regional D&I councils.
This leadership position is tasked with building on our significant investment in 2021 in multimodal education – including live and on-demand awareness sessions, employee-generated intranet content and cultural connection opportunities – to further address the integration of our D&I principles into the full spectrum of workplace processes, from talent acquisition to employee retention. We know that there is always more to be done to truly embed a culture with diversity, equity and inclusion at its heart. Our global leadership team is committed to actively participating in the ongoing creation of an environment that nurtures different voices, backgrounds and perspectives.
Our commitment has never faltered
As demonstrated throughout this report, our commitment to sustainability across our global company has never faltered. Since our decision in 2007 to formally embed our sustainability principles into the way we do business, the evolution of our global sustainability management system has been significant. We’ve been leaders in governance, ethics and compliance, workplace practices, how to best manage environmental impact, sustainable procurement, service performance and charity and community support.
Together with our clients, partners and industry peers, we’ve faced two years of unprecedented challenges to global business travel. But that adversity has only sharpened our focus on the future. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved and what we’ve continued to build on. As we build back for the future of corporate travel, we will do so in a way that broadly, positively impacts the wellbeing of generations to come.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Vice President and Executive Chair of Sustainability
Learn how our approach to sustainability supports your company.