European sustainability legislation is set to impact any professional who manages travel and events, directly and indirectly.

Navigating the Green Wave: Unpacking the Impact of European Sustainability Laws on Business & Event Travel

As the head of an audience engagement consultancy with a global reach, I’ve been closely monitoring the evolving landscape of business and event travel – a vital component of global corporate operations. The winds of regulation, driven by the urgent need to combat climate change, compel us to re-evaluate our corporate travel strategies through the lens of sustainability.

The Global Business Ecosystem and Sustainability

In our interconnected world, no business operates in isolation, especially concerning sustainability, a challenge transcending borders and industries. A fresh wave of European legislation is revolutionising the way businesses approach travel, emphasising minimal environmental impact.

European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)

Scheduled to phase in from January 2024, the CSRD significantly broadens the number of companies obligated to report on sustainability – from 11,700 to around 50,000. Qualifying firms are now required to set and report on emissions targets, fostering greener travel policies.

EU Supply Chain Law and Environmental Accountability

The EU Supply Chain Law mandates larger companies to conduct due diligence on human rights and environmental impacts across their value chain. In an era of heightened consumer consciousness, this directive forces scrutiny of supply chains, including business and event travel.

The Battle Against Greenwashing

The Green Claims Directive is set to regulate environmental claims, demanding transparent, objective, and verifiable commitments. It ushers in an era of accountability and tangible action, marking the end of empty corporate environmental rhetoric.

CountEmissions EU and Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS)

Initiatives like CountEmissions EU target inconsistencies in CO2 emissions calculations. MDMS aims to make eco-friendly travel alternatives easily accessible, promising a future where sustainability is a realistic choice for businesses.

Transforming Aviation for a Sustainable Future

Aviation, a major contributor to greenhouse emissions, is also undergoing transformation. Initiatives like the EU’s RefuelEU Aviation and the UK’s Jet Zero plan advocate sustainable aviation fuels. However, complexities and challenges persist in this evolving field.

National Regulations and Environmental Goals

Countries are enacting regulations to restrict air travel to meet environmental goals, signalling growing momentum towards sustainable travel. Sustainable business and event travel may seem daunting, but it’s an opportunity to innovate and reimagine travel that’s efficient, effective, and planet-friendly.

Adapting to New Regulatory Landscapes

Compliance with these regulations will require deep dives into travel policies, investments in sustainability, and unwavering transparency. The long-term benefits, from improved corporate reputation to future-proofed operations, justify these efforts. In the event industry, these laws will reshape how we conceive and deliver events. Exploring technologies for virtual and innovative gatherings will be key in reducing high-emission travel.

Navigating the Green Wave Together

As we navigate these green waves, remember that the journey is challenging but the destination – a sustainable future for business and event travel – is worth it. Let’s embrace this opportunity to redefine corporate travel rules, creating a narrative where efficiency, innovation, and sustainability coexist.

Join the Conversation

I look forward to exchanging ideas and insights with you all as we embark on this journey. Share your thoughts and experiences on how your business is rising to the sustainability challenge. Together, we’ll shape the future of business travel.

Let’s shape the future of business travel, together!


About the author:

Leslie Robertson is the Founder of Open Audience, an audience engagement consultancy that specialises in making healthcare and life sciences meetings more engaging with more positive, successful outcomes – whether in-person or in the virtual space.  The Open Audience team helps to strategize and prepare pre- and post-meeting production, as well as providing real-time support and guidance during the meeting. Open Audience also offers customisable, multilingual engagement platforms that include interactive polling, surveys and ideas exchange.

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