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Travel management: How to travel sustainable and cost-effective

Business trips not only cost a lot of money, they also produce large CO2 emissions that pollute the environment. Intelligent itinerary planning and careful choice of transport allows every traveller to improve their CO2 footprint considerably, thus contributing to climate protection. Patrick Reiß, responsible for travel management at MediaMarktSaturn, explains how business travel is gradually becoming more environment-friendly.

The Travel Management department at MediaMarktSaturn (MMS) is dedicated to providing employees with a convenient and stress-free way to organise business trips while keeping an eye on costs and the protection of the environment. The focus is on smart tools and the standardisation and optimisation of processes. At the same time, the plan is to provide information and raise awareness on how to save costs and protect the environment by planning ahead and choosing better transport means.

“As of March 2019, a new business travel guideline will regulate all aspects of employee processes from travel booking to travel expense accounting,” says Patrick Reiß, Department Manager Business Travel Management, in an interview with Sustainability News. “This offers standardised tools for more convenient travel planning. And it includes a strong commitment by the company to make business travel greener.”

Biggest sustainability driver: avoiding travel.

In principle, avoiding travel is the best path to sustainability. MediaMarktSaturn wants to raise the awareness for this by providing specific information and training, especially for employees involved in travel planning.

Can an appointment be combined with another appointment in the vicinity? Is it also possible to use the telephone, WebEx or telepresence? If you consider these questions when planning your travels, you can significantly reduce the impact on the climate and the environment. MediaMarktSaturn has therefore integrated all tools into Outlook, making it as easy as possible for employees to choose digital alternatives.

Train, plane or rental car?

When time windows are tight, or destinations can only be reached through connecting transport, planes or cars are often the best form of transport. For many itineraries, taking the train is not only more environment-friendly, but also the faster and more convenient option.

Deutsche Bahn oekostrom

In the past, planes and cars were often the preferred means of transport at MediaMarktSaturn. This will change with the new directive: for domestic itineraries, train travel is the recommended means of transport. Travel by train has a lower CO2 cost than by plane or car. For business travellers and owners of a Deutsche BahnCard, a journey by rail is even CO2-neutral: Deutsche Bahn obtains a large part of its electricity from renewable energy sources, which is allocated to BahnCard holders and business travellers on the balance sheet.

Patrick Reiß and his team are proactively promoting train use across all channels in order to raise employee awareness of the time, cost and environmental advantages and to make rail the preferred mode of transport:

Travel Management
Patrick Reiß, Department Manager Business Travel Management

“We compared the costs, time and greenhouse gas emissions of a journey from Ingolstadt to Berlin, a common journey for our employees, both by train and airplane in a door-to-door calculation. The result: the time expenditure is equal. The costs of the train are slightly cheaper. For business trips, CO2 emissions by train are zero, and by airplane they are significant. Those going by train for more than 4 hours can also travel comfortably in first class.”

In order to encourage employees to choose the train, MediaMarktSaturn also advertises the BahnCard Business, a business product with several advantages over the “private” BahnCard. For the company, it will pay off after just a few trips, and the employee can enjoy the (tax-free) benefits privately as well. Advertising for the Deutsche Bahn has already had an impact on our key figures.

Smaller rental cars save money and CO2

Standardised rules now apply to rental cars for all employees of German companies. Cars can be chosen as desired – up to Comfort class. Not only are these cars cheaper, they also emit significantly less climate-damaging CO2 than bigger cars.

At the same time, Travel Management improves its service for using rental cars. For example, cars are supplied free of charge by our partner Sixt, and MMS employees can pick up their cars directly at the airport without delays.

Transparent carbon footprint with KPI dashboard by Travel Management

Together with our partners CWT, AirPlus, Deutsche Bahn and Sixt, MediaMarktSaturn collects all travel information. This provides a comprehensive carbon footprint for business trips. It also provides the basis for all additional efforts of the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.