France

Business travel: emissions by major French groups down by a third compared with 2019

May 24, 2024
17 of the 18 French companies analysed in a new study by Transport & Environment's 'Travel Smart' campaign have kept their business travel emissions lower than before COVID, although many are quickly creeping back up.

A new T&E analysis of the business travel emissions of 18 French companies in 2023 reveals that, on average, they have reduced their emissions by a third (-33%) in 2023 compared to 2019. But some of them are rapidly approaching 2019 levels. Among these, Forvia (formerly Faurecia), Sanofi and Air Liquide are back to almost 90% of their 2019 emissions. And this despite the fact that companies have learned to work with online collaboration tools and fewer flights since COVID, and most of them have committed to reducing their carbon footprint.

One company, bioM├ęrieux, has exceeded its 2019 flight levels (+9%).┬á At the same time, it says that in 2023 it set an internal reduction target of -10% compared to 2022 travel emissions, a positive development that should help to correct its trajectory.

9 of the 18 companies analysed have set targets for reducing business travel emissions, and two companies have succeeded in significantly reducing their flights, which account for the bulk of business travel emissions, and have maintained the low emission levels observed at the end of the pandemic. Dassault’s 2023 business travel emissions are at -60% of 2019 levels, and Amundi’s at -51%. In 2022, nine companies had achieved this performance, largely due to COVID restrictions. Dassault and Amundi have targets for reducing their business travel emissions.

J├ęr├┤me du Boucher, France Aviation Manager explains, “We’re seeing a worrying return of a rise in business travel emissions in France. It seems that the lessons of the pandemic have not been learned. And yet the way forward has been mapped out: more online collaboration, more travel by rail and less by air. Unfortunately, too many companies are returning to excessive flying habits, with little consideration for the planet.”

The French government has recently taken some encouraging measures regarding business travel. As part of its energy savings plan, it has asked companies as well as government employees to travel by train instead of plane for journeys that can be made in less than four hours, from January 2024. The government also recognises the enormous climate impact of transport. And that’s why the subsequent memorandum on the State’s commitment to ecological transformation includes a target to reduce employee air travel by 20% in 2024 compared to 2019, and to raise its ambition to -30% for 2027.

T&E calls on French companies to do the same and set targets to reduce business travel emissions by 50% or more by 2025. This goal has been defined on the basis of T&E’s Roadmap to climate neutral aviation, which shows that a 50% overall reduction in business travel emissions is needed during this decade, to keep aviation on a 1.5┬░C-compatible┬á trajectory.

 

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