American Express GBT taking more steps in leading corporate travel to sustainable future

25 May, 2023

American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), the world’s largest corporate travel management company, published its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report on 22-May-2023.

It outlines the company’s actions, commitments, objectives and strategies to ensure the economic and social benefits of travel are achieved in a way that the company considers environmentally responsible.

The report suggests major repercussions for global aviation and business travel.  

'A huge release of human energy' in 2022

Last year, 2022, was momentous for the global travel industry. When restrictions finally eased in Mar-2022, and Amex GBT acknowledges there was "a huge release of human energy". People around the world could more easily meet colleagues, friends, and relatives in person and the travel ecosystem had to "increase its speed to cope with relentless demand," it says.

Amex GBT has long championed travel as a force for good in the world and this was evident as the COVID-19 pandemic meant movement of people was severely curtailed. "There was a record drop in gross domestic product, unemployment rocketed, and mental health issues soared," highlights Amex GBT CEO Paul Abbott.

Therefore, he notes, it has never been more evident that travel "brings people together, connects communities, builds cultural understanding, and drives economic growth. Put simply, the world is a safer and more prosperous place with travel – travel is a force for good".

Amex GBT aims to drive industry change and leave a legacy of positive societal impact

Mr Abbott describes 2022 as "a seminal year" for Amex GBT. "We became a public company, defined our purpose, and set out bold commitments to drive change in our industry and leave a legacy of positive societal impact," he says.

“At the beginning of 2022 we pledged economic, social and environmental commitments to power progress through travel. The goals were to make the future of work an opportunity for all, move people when it matters most, and lead the industry to a lasting solution for sustainable aviation respectively," he adds.

ESG report highlights series of environmental commitments and business decisions made in 2022

In the 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, Amex GBT has laid out a series of environmental commitments and business decisions made during 2022, which will inevitably favour air travel providers that are making early progress on net zero ambitions.

Amex GBT reported the following environmental actions that were taken in 2022:

  • Launched a carbon pricing pilot scheme. Through this, Amex GBT clients can create budgets to invest in sustainability initiatives by placing an internal price on carbon emissions;
  • Integrated with CHOOOSE to integrate its carbon emissions calculations across Amex GBT’s travel booking and reporting tools, in order to accelerate sustainable business travel;
  • Launched its SAF pilot programme, with 1 million gallons of SAF available at launch, through a partnership with Shell Aviation and Accenture via Avelia;
  • Partnered with Green Compass 30x30, allowing Amex GBT’s consulting team to demonstrate to clients how to achieve a 30% emission reduction within their travel programmes by 2030;
  • Amex GBT Meeting and Events signed the Net Zero Carbon Events (NZCE) pledge, a commitment by the global events industry for a net zero carbon future. A roadmap is being developed by the events industry for a joint commitment to achieve the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement; 
  • Working towards a formal commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), with the objective of submitting a target for official validation before the end of 2023. SBTi is a corporate sector climate initiative, intended to provide companies with science-based targets and clear paths towards reducing their emissions in line with the goals arrived at during the 2018 Paris Agreement (limiting global temperature to ‘well below’ 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by peaking greenhouse gas emissions before 2025 and reducing emissions overall by 43% by 2030);
  • Signed onto the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a member, becoming the first travel management company to join in the process, as well as becoming part of the First Movers Coalition and signed the WEF’s ‘Clean Skies for Tomorrow’ ambition statement to achieve 10% sustainable aviation fuel use by 2030.

Amex GBT one of the pioneers in adopting ESG criteria to guide its business decisions

Amex GBT is one of the pioneers in adopting ESG criteria to guide its business decisions.

With the company moving public in May-2022, it has only intensified these efforts.

The firm has committed to “lead the industry towards sustainable aviation”, and this will have major repercussions for its suppliers, and potentially its clients, in pursuit of their own environmental goals.

DOWNLOAD report...

Download the American Express Global Business Travel report: 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)