The number of overseas business trips taken each year could fall by more than a third in the post-coronavirus future.
That’s the forecast from international non-profit, the Climate Group, which surveyed 100 sustainability professionals to assess the long-term impacts of COVID-19.
Around 89% of business professionals think their company’s overseas travel in the next few years will be significantly reduced compared to pre-pandemic levels, even after travel restrictions are eased – only a tenth say their company will undertake the same amount of international travel as before and just 1% think the frequency of travel will increase in the long-term.
The report notes a ‘conservative assessment’ could indicate a potential average reduction in international business trips of up to 40%, a decline that would see 28 million tons less carbon dioxide generated every year.
Such a reduction in air travel would also save businesses more than $500 billion (£399bn) if this trend were to be reflected globally.
Mike Peirce, Director of Corporate Partnerships at the Climate Group, said: “Despite the challenges presented by COVID, we know from our partners in business and government that they don’t want to return to ‘business as usual’ – we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild a greener, fairer future and they want to grab it.
“Businesses have seen there are many digital solutions available to them that allow for remote working to be effective and collaborative, while cutting costs and emissions from travel – something we all thought was in the hard-to-do box before the pandemic. It makes sense that they carry this mentality forward after travel restrictions have lifted.”