2021 Belgian Sustainability Report
Companies are major contributors of global warming and corporate travel is responsible for a huge percentage of global greenhouse emissions. While our firm was already rethinking our assumptions around corporate travel prior to COVID-19, we have now accelerated our steps towards travelling less and making greener choices.
The restrictions and risks of air travel during the pandemic resulted in major cutbacks to international business travel. In 2021, we reduced our international business travel by nearly 100%.
Becoming more aware of our carbon footprint is a good thing. It gives us a chance to set more worthwhile targets. During the pandemic, we have learned that air travel is not necessary to do business. It also motivated us to create more environmentally-conscious travel guidelines to support our mobility ambitions.
Our new travel policy takes into account our WorldClimate commitment to embed sustainability in all that we do. It encourages more sustainable behaviours, such as travelling by train not plane and choosing economy instead of business class, as well opting for video and phone conferencing whenever possible. As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, and travelling internationally returns to pre-pandemic levels, we will closely monitor the situation to ensure our organisation remains on track to meet our ambitions.
To do this, we aim to keep business travel emissions below our 2019 levels, irrespective of employee or business growth. We will continue to lead by example, with all of our business leaders pursuing measurable objectives that align with our company-wide goals. In addition, we have drastically cut our budget for business travel by half when compared to 2019. Our ultimate goal is to achieve a 70% reduction in travel-related emissions per employee by 2030.
Fewer flights more train rides
By establishing Deloitte North and South Europe gradually over the past four years, we have reinforced our commitment in this region. This way, we can provide better services to our customers, offer our people more opportunities, have a deeper impact on society and exchange knowledge in a smarter way to service the client.
While air travel is essential to servicing clients, it is also one of the largest sources of carbon emissions. That is why Deloitte Belgium has been very thoughtful about how to offset unavoidable air travel emissions and find new ways to do business while caring for the environment.
We’re leveraging greener modes of transport, with 87% of international business trips to neighbouring countries within a 500 km radius, including London, Paris, and Amsterdam, are now being carried out using Europe’s extensive train infrastructure.
COVID-19, indeed, has had an impact on travel, but by integrating our offerings and services across countries in our network, we can also look at smarter ways to meet the needs of our clients. We aim to reduce the number of kilometres flown per traveller by 55% in 2023 and 60% by 2030, and travel more by train. Our targets are to have 80% of all business trips to cities in neighbouring countries, within a 500km radius, made by train by 2023 and 100% by 2030.