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Are employees on-board with sustainable travel?

As the climate crisis heats up, many decision-makers are shifting their focus towards making more sustainable choices for businesses and their employees. Savanta's UK omnibus explores employee attitudes toward 'Journey Days', a new initiative combining paid time-off with a sustainable rationale. 

Abby Tucker Senior Executive 27/06/2023

With climate change at the forefront of younger employees’ minds, many expect workplaces to transform to become more ‘climate-positive’.

But this doesn’t stop with young adults; recent research conducted by Savanta revealed that one in five (20%) of all UK adults rank climate change among the top three issues facing the country.

While many companies are taking steps to become net zero, these actions are often carried out behind the scenes and are not noticeable to many employees. So how can companies become climate-positive in a visible and authentic way?

Companies are expected to do more

Sustainable travel is important to more than half (55%) of adults, according to recent data from Savanta’s UK public omnibus. This was highest amongst millennials, with 60% feeling this way.

People also care about how their company approaches sustainability, with 45% agreeing that their company’s response to the ethical treatment of both people and the planet is important. Again, millennials are the most outspoken; more than half (55%) feel this is important compared to just 35% of Boomers (those over 55).

The low carbon proposition for holidays

UK adults do care about their carbon footprint whilst travelling, but travelling sustainably can seem insurmountable for those who have limited annual leave.

While flying less often is one of the most impactful personal behaviours that an individual can take to cut carbon emissions, it might seem out of the question for those not wanting to use up holiday time to travel more sustainably.

However, a new concept to empower employees might just be the ticket.

As environmentally friendly travel schemes become more popular amongst UK companies, businesses are introducing a new type of paid time-off called ‘Journey Days’. These allow employees additional time to travel to a holiday destination via a more sustainable low carbon method rather than flying.

With the rise of ‘flight shame’, or guilt felt when travelling by plane, the initiative seems like a no-brainer. But are employees likely to climb aboard this new climate-positive movement and embrace slower travel?

Are people on board?

Just under half of UK adults (46%) are likely to embrace Journey Days if they were offered by their employer.

This is highest amongst Millennials (61%) and Gen Z (55%) when paired with extra days for travel, whereas older age groups are the least likely to do this (32%).

What next?

By extending corporate sustainability efforts into the lives of their workers, companies can foster a holistic approach to sustainability that goes beyond their commercial operations and attract new sustainably-minded talent. This involves recognising that employees play a crucial role in shaping a sustainable future and actively supporting their well-being, both inside and outside the workplace.


If you need any support navigating changes in the travel and transport sector, or wider markets, please get in touch.

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