40% CXOs in Travel Sector Yet to Buy into ESG

High cost, C-suite's lack of interest, poor access to technology, and inadequate knowledge, are hurting the implementation of ESG in the Indian travel industry.

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Image credit - ET Travelworld.com

An Amadeus commissioned research among 80 senior sustainability decision makers across India, and seven segments of the travel industry to gain insight on ESG ambitions, priorities, and challenges finds several barriers to implementing the much-needed ESG standards. While the study found Travelers increasingly demanding that travel experiences align with their values and expectations when it comes to sustainability, barriers to them are significant.

The study also revealed optimism for the global travel industry about hitting the UNWTO-proposed goal to reach net zero by 2050. 79% of ESG decision makers believe the industry can reach its target. Of that 79%, 43% believe it is possible to reach without any adjustments, while 36% believe it is possible, but progress needs to be accelerated urgently.

An Amadeus India press note stated that the key to this is a focus on action. 92% of those surveyed have a step-by-step strategy in place to help them achieve environmental sustainability objectives or are planning to implement one in 2024. 95% of respondents are either currently active or plan to be actively involved in social sustainability initiatives that impact beyond their organization. This commitment was matched by increased investment, with 58% of respondents anticipating investing more in 2024 than last year.

Barriers to delivering on ESG initiatives:

  • 41% cited cost as the biggest barrier for environmental commitments, followed by C-suite buy-in (40%), and then lack of technology and knowledge (26%).
  • For social initiatives, the biggest barriers include lack of knowledge (35%) and C-suite buy-in (34%), and lack of technology (30%).
  • For governance initiatives, the barriers highlighted include lack of knowledge (40%), complex legal obligations (31%), and not enough guidance from industry bodies (29%).

Notably, the study highlighted a clear and recognized role for technology to help the industry reach its ambitions.91% of respondents indicated technology is important to help organizations achieve environmental sustainability objectives, with 89% saying the same for social objectives.

  • 34% of respondents highlighted technology solutions that help remove CO2 from the atmosphere as the technology with the highest potential to accelerate environmental sustainability.
  • 31% said access to data to allow for true personalization across all stages of the travel process, from inspiration, on-trip, destination and post-trip would be important.
  • 30% said more advanced search capabilities allowing travelers to understand the different environmental impact of available travel choices had the most potential.

Methodology

The survey was conducted from September to October 2023 by strategic insight company Opinium Research. The findings are based on 896 (out of which 80-based in India) senior decision makers responsible for sustainability and ESG across travel sellers, hotels, mobility companies, airports, airlines, DMOs and corporations in markets including Australia, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, the UK, and the US.

Amadeus India is wholly owned by the Bird Group, one of India’s largest travel conglomerates that provides global automation technology platform to the Indian travel industry.

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