Corp Travel Giant CWT Pushes Customers For Microsoft-Style Carbon Penalties

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Skift grip

More and more companies are taking carbon management into their own hands and moving away from offsetting. This new fingerprint indicator could give CWT customers a lot more control.

Matthew Parson

Travel management firm CWT is now showing for the first time how much carbon travelers could potentially generate from flights and hotel stays, after adding a ‘point of sale’ calculator to its app and to its online booking tool.

The travel company previously only showed these types of shows in its analytics tool, rather than when employees were evaluating their travel options. The new platform paves the way for its enterprise customers to adopt a similar tactic used by Microsoft which charges an internal carbon tax for business travel.

“It’s a use case that’s on our roadmap and we’re working with our customers,” said Erik Magnuson, vice president of product management, travel content and connectivity, CWT.

The addition of the calculator, which is provided by Thrust Carbon, follows a survey of its customers at the end of 2021, in which 87% of respondents said they wanted to provide information to employees at the point of booking to help reinforce responsible travel. . choices.

“What we’ve heard overwhelmingly from our customers is that they want better, richer data on understanding carbon footprint,” Magnuson added.

Compensation as a last resort

This booking tool add-on highlights a growing trend that companies are looking to offset carbon emissions as a last resort. Regarding Microsoft’s internal carbon penalties, Magnuson said the company is moving away from a “cost-based understanding and budgeting for travel.” In the customer survey, 76% of CWT customers said they did not want the agency to provide them with point-of-sale clearing capability.

Magnuson added that there are four aspects companies need to address: understanding carbon footprints, avoiding what’s unnecessary, reducing what they can, and finally offsetting.

Could posting this information leave CWT with fewer bookings? “We consider this (calculator) to play a role in these key aspects, and if that means avoiding travel is one of them, we have other options with our meetings and events business, which creates virtual meetings or hybrids,” Magnuson said.

CWT customers could now consider adding a carbon tax, like Microsoft, or developing carbon budgets, he added.

The calculator may also end up naming and blaming airlines that produce comparatively higher levels of emissions. In this case, Magnuson said the new data allows each part of the ecosystem to take ownership of climate change. “In some cases, companies see it as the responsibility of suppliers to compensate themselves.” According to a recent report, United Airlines is offering its corporate customers a new sustainability dashboard with a carbon footprint calculator through its Jetstream portal.

CWT customers will soon be able to use Thrust Carbon data in its analysis tool, or continue to use its existing carbon emissions calculator based on data from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Business rural. However, the addition of Thrust Carbon was seen as a “natural evolution and progression” as it offered more granular detail, such as the impact of aircraft engines on the environment.

“I don’t want to oversimplify, but it’s just a bunch of averages,” Magnuson said. “There are some good capabilities in there, and it was the first of its kind. But as with everything when it comes to saving the planet, starting somewhere is better than nothing.

And since some experts argue that carbon emissions should only be calculated post-flight, due to the effect load factor can have, Thrust Carbon will later include post-trip data in CWT’s analyses. Data on carbon emissions from cars and trains will also be added later in the year.

“We are rapidly moving towards a world where emissions data will be evaluated alongside financial data,” said Mark Corbett, Founder and Director of Thrust Carbon.

CWT itself aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, and this new feature is part of its commitment to invest $100 million in its myCWT booking tool.

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