Capita goes ‘virtual first’ as it targets 75% corporate travel reduction

Consulting and services giant Capita
is aiming to cut its corporate travel by 75 per cent by 2030, compared to a 2019 baseline, by making meetings virtual by default. 

The company has announced its “virtual
first” approach will be used for all meetings, including client meetings and
regular team check-ins, following its “successful hybrid working model” during Covid.

“While office spaces will still
be used for colleagues, clients and partners to benefit from collaborative working,
offices will be used carefully and appropriately to ensure people only travel
when they need to,” the company said in a statement.

The company has committed to be
net zero across all parts of its business by 2035 and said that corporate travel emissions were
reduced by 71 per cent in Covid-hit 2020 when travel ground to a standstill.

Jon Lewis, the company’s CEO,
said, “I believe passionately that businesses have a vital role to play in
helping tackle the climate emergency, and as leaders we must step up to drive
through significant, sustainable changes to how our organisations operate.”

In March this year, the company
announced that it planned to sell off is travel management division Capita
Travel and Events; the division was rebranded as agiito in July.

James Parkhouse, agiito’s CEO, said: “Agiito, as a
responsible travel, meetings and events provider, work with all our clients and
partners to help them deliver on their climate, sustainability and business
goals by ensuring they have the tools and capabilities to connect their people,
whether in person or virtually.

“Whilst some of our customers are encouraging
employees to think about whether more meetings can be held virtually,
face-to-face meetings will remain an important way for people to do business.”

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WTTC develops emissions reduction roadmap

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched the
Net Zero Roadmap for the travel and tourism sector to support its efforts to help
combat climate change.

The announcement came during the WTTC’s virtual climate week
event and coincided with the launch of social and environmental research data,
which will be produced across the entire sector and will continuously be updated
as emissions targets are achieved.

According to the WTTC, these “vital pieces of work” represent
the organisation’s biggest deliverables in the sector’s aim to achieve net-zero
emissions by 2050.

The initiative is being run in collaboration with the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and professional services and consulting
firm Accenture.

The Net Zero Roadmap will include a “status quo overview” of
climate actions taken by the travel and tourism sector, lessons learned in the
past and action frameworks for specific industries to help accelerate climate
commitments and emissions reduction.

Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, said the organisation
and its partners will launch the roadmap at the UN Climate Change Conference
(COP26) in Glasgow in November. She added: “As a sector, we are aware that not
all industries can achieve such goals at the same time, which is why our Net
Zero Roadmap will be so critical.”

The WTTC’s announcement comes as Marriott International vowed
to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
, while corporates and travel firms from
around the globe have signed a pledge to power aviation using a minimum of 10
per cent sustainable aviation fuels by 2030.

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MAG calls for testing reduction for travel this summer | News

Plotting a path to restriction-free travel is key to the full revival of the ailing aviation sector.

That was the message delivered today by MAG, as the largest airport group in the UK, as it revealed figures showing passenger numbers were down 90 per cent across the first 12 months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Such a roadmap should be based on greater cooperation between the UK government and its overseas counterparts, to share information about the emergence of new Covid-19 variants of concern and eliminate the need for travellers to take expensive PCR tests on their return.

Currently, the UK government proposes that all passengers – even those returning from the lowest risk ‘green’ destinations – will have to take a PCR test, so it can gather data that will help with genomic sequencing.

MAG said this could be avoided if governments worked together on sequencing and sharing data on variants.

The testing requirement is part of the Global Travel Taskforce’s ‘traffic light’ framework, announced last week, which categorises countries as red, amber or green based on the risk associated with visiting them.

Subject to final confirmation, it is set to come into play on May 17th, the earliest date non-essential travel can resume.

MAG – the owner of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports – said that the framework should be improved urgently to include a fourth, restriction-free category capitalising on the success of the vaccination programme.

Doing so would remove significant personal cost to passengers and inject much-needed confidence into the UK aviation sector ahead of what will be a critical summer season.

The dramatic downturn aviation has experienced was laid bare in MAG’s annual passenger figures, which showed that compared to March 2020, MAG served 93 per cent fewer passengers in March 2021, and that its rolling 12-month passenger total is down 89 per cent.

In March 2019, MAG served more than four million passengers, compared to March 2021 when it served 140,000 – a 97 per cent decrease.

Manchester Airport handled just 95,798 passengers in March 2021, 89.8% down on the 942,900 it handled 12 months earlier.

At Stansted, the figure was 44,259 this March, compared with over 800,000 a year earlier – a 95 per cent drop.

At East Midlands Airport, the airport served just 71 passengers for the whole of March this year, against 106,529 in 2020.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive, MAG said: “The UK government is among the first to have set out proposals for a system that enables international travel to resume and should be applauded for taking the lead.

“After more than a year of almost total shutdown – and with so many jobs and so much economic value at stake – it’s really important we get people moving again once it is safe to do so.

“We now need Government to confirm the May 17th start date as soon as possible, along with the list of countries that fall into each ‘traffic light’ category.”

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Germany considering further travel restrictions and dramatic reduction in air traffic 

An airplane passes over a hotel as it takes off from Heathrow Airport in London on January 25.
An airplane passes over a hotel as it takes off from Heathrow Airport in London on January 25. Chris J. Ratcliffe/Getty Images

The UK’s travel sector reacted to new government quarantine guidelines outlined by Prime Minister Johnson earlier, saying battling Covid-19 is the top priority but it needs more government support to survive.

Earlier today Johnson announced the UK would be introducing government-provided accommodations, for example hotels, for 10 days for those who cannot be refused entry into the UK from high-risk countries. 

Heathrow Airport, the UK’s largest airport, said it fully backs any measures that protect public health but called for more fiscal aid

“Aviation will play a vital role in delivering the Government’s ambitions for Global Britain, levelling-up and a green recovery, but only if it survives – now we need 100% business rates relief, an extension to the furlough scheme and a roadmap to reopening borders safely,” said Heathrow in a statement to CNN.

The Airport Operators Association warned that these new measures are another blow to the industry adding that the public health benefit of the mandatory hotel quarantine remains to be seen, also echoing calls for more government action.

“The Australian and New Zealand governments have backed up their government-ordered aviation shutdowns with more than a billion dollars in combined aviation-specific support. It’s time the UK Government backed their tough stance on border with similar financial support for the industry hit hardest by that stance,” the Airport Operators Association said.

Separately, airline bosses from the UK’s biggest airlines, including British Airways, easyJet, Virgin, TUI, Loganair, and Jet2, have signed a joint letter to the Prime Minister asking to discuss an “exit plan and a bespoke support package” to save the 1.56 million jobs at “immediate risk.”

“Jobs are being lost at an alarming rate and longstanding businesses have gone to the wall,” the UK’s Travel Association ABTA told CNN. 

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