Sunday, June 16, 2024
HomeHotelsGBTA's Call to Action to EU Policymakers

GBTA’s Call to Action to EU Policymakers

  • Shaping a Low Carbon Future for Business Travel: GBTA’s Call to Action to EU Policymakers   

By Delphine Millot, SVP, Advocacy & Sustainability, GBTA; Managing Director, GBTA Foundation

In the past five years, the way we travel for work has undergone significant transformation. By interrupting travel, the Covid-19 pandemic also brought to light the travel sector’s impact on environmental sustainability. As the enduring desire for human connection is driving continued projected growth for travel demand, our attention must now firmly rest on our industry’s potential to shape how we think about sustainable value-chains to balance the need to travel for work, build a thriving economy and deliver progress on climate action.

GBTA and its newly relaunched Foundation arm have been at the forefront of discussions with European decision-makers to ensure the right policy framework for the deployment and access of lower carbon travel options. With the recent backlash against the Green Deal – a flagship policy of the 2019-24 EU mandate – the upcoming European elections could have a profound impact on the direction of sustainability and climate policy.

Ahead of the EU elections (taking place across EU countries between the 3rd and 9th of June) – and in line with GBTA’s recently released Policy Priorities for the EU 2024-2029 Agenda, let’s take a look at what needs to be done in the next mandate to keep Europeans connected while deploying solutions to help manage and reduce travel emissions.

Developing the market for Sustainable Aviation Fuel

It’s widely acknowledged there is no silver bullet to bring aviation on the path to net zero. The EU’s Aviation Strategy for 2050, which aims to maintain the competitiveness of the EU aviation sector while mitigating its environmental impact, involves modernising air traffic management, improving aircraft technology, adopting market-based measures and promoting sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

While this ‘basket of measures’ all needs to be pushed in parallel, SAF has now emerged as a leading solution and one of the biggest opportunities to decarbonise air travel by delivering a net reduction in carbon emissions compared to fossil-based jet fuel. The ReFuelEU Regulation, which mandates the gradual increase of the share of SAF blends supplied at EU airports (from 2% in 2025 up to 70% in 2025), despites some of its operational pitfalls, has been contributing to sending a clear demand signal to boost SAF production in Europe. The inclusion of SAF in the EU Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA) should also send a positive message to investors and help unlock the financial signal incentives needed to expand production at commercial scale, bringing SAF prices down.

Another important piece of the puzzle, to stimulate the developing market for SAF, will be the recognition by policymakers of Book & Claim for the environmental attributes of SAF. Clear and consistent accounting is vital to enable long-term investment from corporate aviation consumers.

Making highspeed rail and electromobility more viable options for business travellers

Europe has a clear advantage when it comes to its rail infrastructure. Yet, long distance, cross-border rail remains an untapped opportunity for low carbon business travel. This is when the upcoming Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS) regulation enters into play. It would change the legal framework for multimodal travel information, booking and ticketing services. The objective is to make travel for European citizens simpler and greener and the transport system more competitive by simplifying the booking process onto one platform and to incorporate multiple travel options.

The European Commission is still expected to present a proposal after the European elections, which GBTA will certainly support. Ultimately, faced with a growing demand for travel and transport, the EU needs to focus on the decarbonisation across the wider mobility system, to achieve net zero emissions across all modes of transport and facilitate cross-border multi-modality beyond air, making ground transport and rail become more viable as business travel options.

Providing clarity and transparency on emissions display, and reporting  

The single market is one of the EU’s greatest strengths. In the past mandate, we’ve seen many pieces of legislation that attempt to capitalise on the single market to channel consumer demand in order to reduce emissions. To this end, new labels and labelling regulations have been introduced, as well as new standards for substantiating products’ environmental claims.

GBTA welcomes the effort to provide buyers with clear, accurate, and standardised information about environmental performance. At the same time, we call on the European Institutions to ensure that these new regulations are implemented in such a way that the rules are practically implementable and enforceable, and that they do not discount industry efforts or lead to regional fragmentation.

Decarbonisation is not only the remit of consumers, but businesses as well, and the carbon emissions from travel are no exception. At time of writing, 64% of business buyers indicate that their companies track emission for business travel, and a little over half have been given emissions reduction targets. However, it remains difficult to track emissions due to the varied field of methodologies currently available. In this spirit, the CountEmissionsEU proposal, which seeks to offer a harmonised framework for accounting for travel-related GHG emissions, is a welcome development. We encourage the European Institutions to go further to ensure a level playing field with clear standards and methodologies for business travel to do its part in shaping a decarbonised travel market in Europe.

Thanks to its volume, business travel can play a key role in spearheading the travel sector towards a more sustainable future. GBTA will continue working with the new EU policymakers who will be elected this year to make sure business travel can continue to deliver for Europe’s economy and society while rapidly decarbonising its practices.

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments