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Travel Management

 May 03, 2007
BCD Travel Selects Atmosfair As Global Carbon Off-Set Provider

 BCD Travel, the world's third largest global travel management company, has chosen Atmosfair, a non-profit provider whose high quality offset projects have been independently verified, as its global carbon off-set partner. The move adds another element to BCD Travel's Responsible Travel Management offering, which integrates solutions in the areas of both sustainability (with services that recognise and reduce the environmental impact of travel activities) and accountability (with services that act to mitigate risk, improve traveller wellbeing and security and promote ethical standards through a company's travel supply chain).

Carbon off-setting is the process of balancing a defined unit of carbon dioxide emissions with an investment in resources that save or store an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. A traveller or a corporation may choose to pay a carbon off-set provider for the amount of emissions produced by his/her or its business travel. The provider then uses the revenues for financing climate protection projects that feature renewable energies or increase energy efficiency.

The addition of a global carbon off-set partner to BCD Travel's continually expanding roster of global services meet clients' growing demand for travel management that goes beyond hype and corresponds to their larger corporate social responsibility goals. Dee Runyan, executive vice president for products, technology and supplier relations for BCD Travel, said: "Our customers continue to focus on maximum savings and maximum efficiency in the management of their travel programmes. But increasingly, they want to get their results with minimum environmental impact."

Carbon off-setting joins BCD Travel's carbon emission reporting, recently expanded globally (see below) as two key pillars in the company's sustainable travel management services that help clients evaluate and compensate for the environmental impact of their business travel.

Atmosfair was initiated as a joint initiative of Forum Anders Reisen, an association of German tour operators formed to promote sustainable tourism, and the environmental association Germanwatch. The award winning atmosfair standards for off-setting were developed in a research project conducted by the german federal environmental ministry. Atmosfair is currently active in many projects, including the use of solar energy to power cookers in Indian rice kitchens, and cleaning and recycling sewage water from a palm-oil factory in Thailand. Under the auspices of former Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme Klaus Töpfer, it has performed as top runner in many international independent studies.

In choosing a global carbon off-set partner BCD Travel screened potential candidates through a rigorous evaluation of key criteria, including: the company profile (for profit versus non-profit, length of tenure in industry); the percentage of income dedicated directly to emissions-reducing projects; the quality of the off-set projects invested in; the presence of third-party standards and/or verification;; the price per ton of carbon off-set; and the degree of transparency exhibited by the candidate. The company profile was crucial for BCD Travel's clients, said Runyan, because money spent in offsetting projects through a registered charitable organisation can, in some countries, be treated as a tax-efficient donation.

Atmosfair, which conforms to the Gold Standard (widely recognised as the most stringent of third-party standards) for emissions calculation, project selection and funds allocation, was the clear choice for BCD Travel.

"We are delighted to partner with a best-in-class provider for this important initiative," said Runyan. "Our clients around the world now have the opportunity to incorporate carbon offsetting into their CSR-focused travel programmes. BCD Travel's ability to globally support a full range of CSR-related activities sets us apart from our competitors' local or regional approaches."

BCD Travel Expands Sustainable Travel Reporting Offering

BCD Travel also announced that the carbon emission reporting tool it had developed in-house has been rolled into its information management solution, DecisionSource: Data Manager, which provides intelligence to targeted audiences throughout the travel and reimbursement lifecycle. Now available to all of BCD Travel's customers throughout the world, the CO2 emission tracker calculates emissions produced by air travel and provides reports on this information at company, departmental and individual traveller levels.

The BCD Travel reporting tool calculates emissions in accordance with two of the most reliable and widely-used methodologies: the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, and DEFRA (the United Kingdom 's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). Both methodologies provide clients with a credible, transparent and consistent structure for quantifying their carbon emissions. BCD Travel's decision to incorporate both methodologies resulted from research that showed that many of its customers were already using one or the other. In line with its commitment to flexible technology, the company wanted to provide maximum flexibility to clients intent on integrating business travel emission reporting with their broader internal CSR initiatives.

Runyan said, "Thanks to DecisionSource: Data Manager's newly extended emission-tracking functionality, any of our clients, anywhere in the world, can rely on solid environmental data for improved decision-making."

Commenting on the expansion of BCD Travel's reporting solution, Mary Ellen George, general manager for Advito, BCD Travel's independent consulting division, said: "You cannot change what you cannot measure. Obtaining a clear understanding of your company's carbon 'spend' is one of the first steps you must take in establishing a truly sustainable travel programme. This kind of information will act as an important source of information for Advito's 'carbon footprint assessment' consulting engagements for our mutual clients."