Cutting business travel at Lloyds Banking Group
With over 100,000 employees working across the UK and overseas, business travel has a significant impact on Lloyds Banking Group’s operations. Here, we look at how the Group’s TRAVELwise programme is tackling the issue through introducing new ways of working, exploiting technology and promoting more sustainable means of travel.
Lloyds Banking Group has a long standing commitment to managing and reducing the environmental impact of our business operations. Lloyds TSB was one of the first banks to introduce an environmental policy in 1996 and achieved a 31 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from its property estate between 2002 and 2008.
Our vision is to be recognised as a leading environmentally responsible financial services organisation that works with staff, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders adapt to environmental and sustainability issues and opportunities, and make the transition to a low carbon, more resource efficient economy.
In 2010 we launched our new targeted Groupwide environmental action plan to ensure that environmental efficiencies are fully ingrained in our decision making. The action plan, called “Smart & Responsible”, is linked to one of our core values: “We Act Wisely”. By acting wisely, we aim to reduce our impact on the environment by making more effective use of our resources.
Smart & Responsible is underpinned by seven “wise” pillars which ensure that the environmental impacts of our business operations are managed and minimised. Alongside TRAVELwise are BUILDwise, ENERGYwise, PAPERwise, WASTEwise, WATERwise and WORKwise, each aligned and governed through a single overarching programme. This year, we set challenging 2020 targets, for each pillar of Smart & Responsible.
For TRAVELwise the Group target is to reduce business travel by 20% by 2020.
In addition, Lloyds Banking Group has signed up to WWF-UK’s One in Five Challenge, committing to cut our business flights by 20% over the next 5 years. In 2010 across the Group we flew 169 million kilometres for business.
The approach of the TRAVELwise programme combines investment in virtual conferencing technology and tools; which facilitate collaborative working without the need to travel; with the promotion of more sustainable travel options and a drive to transform the travel culture of the Group.
1. Technology and Tools
An initial focus of the programme has been to increase the use of existing tools such as telephone and video conferencing. Video conferencing in particular had low usage levels across the Group, suffering from a poor reputation amongst employees, who in the past have struggled with an unwieldy booking process and unreliable facilities.
To address this, the service has been enhanced with the introduction of a single simplified booking system; which connects endpoints together to eliminate the need for manual dialling; and a dedicated video conference support team who are on hand to help colleagues’ set-up and run video conferences. In addition rooms are being upgraded to further improve the user experience.
A further technological development relates to the Group’s web conferencing software (Live Meeting) which has been harmonised onto a single platform and is now available to over 90% of colleagues.
To facilitate sustainable travel, we also launched a new Groupwide Car Share scheme tool in December 2010. Since its launch, over 600 colleagues from across the country have already registered to help them match their journeys with other colleagues.
2. Education and Awareness
At the heart of Smart & Responsible is the principle that to make a difference every colleague needs to work in a more sustainable way. Employees play a key role in delivering our environmental agenda and are central to driving down our carbon emissions and use of resources across the Group. We strive to engage colleagues and enable them to make a contribution.
Business travel is certainly an area which is heavily influenced by the choices colleagues make.
Alongside the improvements to facilities and tools runs a comprehensive programme to increase awareness of the benefits of reducing business travel, promote and provide training in the use of new tools and encourage staff to take personal actions to reduce the environmental impacts of the choices they make.
Typical of the approach has been a recent internal campaign to mark Green Transport Week which combined news, information and tips with product demonstrations and the launch of self-assessment tools to allow colleagues to appreciate and understand the environmental impacts of their travelling habits.
The Group’s Sustainability Network also plays a vital role in driving awareness and advocacy amongst colleagues. Initially established by colleagues in 2008, the Network now officially supports our Smart & Responsible programme. Following a re-launch in 2011, to make it more action focussed; over 800 employees have joined this community as “Supporters”, “Champions” and “Project volunteers”. Champions are actively involved in the promotion of sustainable practices throughout the Group, and Project volunteers take forward the delivery of schemes to improve the Group’s environmental performance.
3. Policies and Practices
The TRAVELwise programme is also influencing the development of policy and staff guidance to support the required cultural change.
In 2009, we introduced a common travel policy across the organisation which supports a focus on sustainable travel. It helped us deliver a reduction of 143,000 journeys compared with 2008. Across the combined Group, the volume of teleconferences increased by 40% to over 1.1 million in 2009. We also increased the volume of teleconferences by 73% in 2010 compared with 2009, to 1.9 million.
In addition, small changes have been made to address some fundamental issues, such as room booking policies being revised to free-up videoconferencing facilities. More significant initiatives are also been introduced. One of these is a monthly “No Travel Week”. We are actively encouraging staff to avoid all but the most essential travel for one week a month and the results have been impressive. The first No Travel Week saw a 39% increase in the use of video conferencing and a 44% increase in the use of Live Meeting compared to the previous month’s figures.
Across the Group colleagues have responded positively to these initiatives, suggesting that the groundwork of raising awareness of the issue has been a success and that employees are ready and willing to make the required changes to how they work.
4. Monitoring and Measuring
A further improvement that the TRAVELwise programme has introduced to the Group is a Business Travel dashboard. Key metrics have been identified and are now available to track performance, and identify problem areas. The data is made available to leaders across the Group, so they can appreciate the impacts of their own areas of the business.
To date the success of TRAVELwise has been to put in place a programme of work and Groupwide approach that will enable a reduction in business travel over coming years. Early signs are promising, as colleagues across the Group recognise that there are better and more efficient ways to work.
 From our 2010 baseline of 421 million km
 A national campaign organised by the Environmental Transport Association (ETA)