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Bow-Tie Briefing III: Leading the Way for a Better Future

In the previous two editions of “Bow-Tie Briefing”, we have so far discussed the following five United Nations Sustainability Goals (SDGs) namely: SDG 3) Good health and well-being; SDG 7) Affordable and clean energy; SDG 9) Industry, innovation and infrastructure; SDG 10) Reduced inequalities; and SDG 12) Responsible consumption and production.

This third part of the article is the last in the series, and we will further illustrate SDG 13) Climate action and SDG 17) Partnerships for the goals. How can these goals be incorporated into our corporate travel programmes to further expand our horizons?

2019 was the second warmest year on record and the end of the warmest decade (2010- 2019) ever recorded. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose to new records in 2019. Climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, and weather events are becoming more extreme.

How to offset corporate carbon emissions has become a responsible company’s goal. For instance, Microsoft announced an ambitious target – they will be carbon negative by 2030.

Microsoft president Brad Smith said: “Beginning next year, we will also make carbon reduction an explicit aspect of our procurement processes for our supply chain. Our progress on all of these fronts will be published in a new annual Environmental Sustainability Report that will detail our carbon impact and reduction journey. And lastly, all this work will be supported by our voice and advocacy supporting public policy that will accelerate carbon reduction and removal opportunities.”

Hence, their Travel Department will also be required to act accordingly to accomplish this goal. For details of their pledge, see here: Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030

The SDGs can only be realised with strong global partnerships and cooperation. A successful development agenda requires inclusive partnerships – at the global, regional, national and local levels – built upon principles and values, and upon a shared vision and shared goals placing people and the planet at the centre.

“This (SDG 17) has extreme similarity to one of our Informa Plc integral guiding principles,” said Melissa Willock, group travel director and head of corporate events. “Success is a partnership – we get to better answers by combining skills and talents, joining forces and embracing ideas, wherever they come from. This broadens perspectives, expands horizons, sparks innovation and keeps our thinking fresh.”

Hence, the trump card of success is partnership. As a consequence, partnership must be further augmented in order to be successful. This absolutely includes the subtle partnership relationship between our travel vendors and travel managers.

During this three part article, I am very pleased to have had a chance to share the core concept of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Altogether, seven out of the total 17 goals were illustrated in detail. Moreover, their possible application to our beloved travel industry were further reviewed.

May I have the honour to conclude this SDG article series with a quote from a distinguished Korean, an iconic Asian global leader, the 8th Secretary-General of United Nations, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon (반기문). In his keynote opening address at Climate Week NYC back in 2014, he stated: “If we can’t all swim together, we will sink. There is no plan B, because there is no planet B.” The inspiration from this simple statement is so powerful! Travel managers, let us join hand-in-hand to lead the way for a better future! 

(Bow-Tie Briefing shares the views of Benson Tang, a corporate travel thought leader and Executive Director of the Corporate Travel Community (CTC). Benson’s remarkable career in travel started more than 25 years ago and his extensive knowledge of the corporate travel sector has made him a sought-after speaker and lecturer.)

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