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German companies are willing to spend more on sustainable business travel

Neu-Isenburg, September 06, 2023

Companies in Germany are increasingly making their business travel more sustainable and are not shying away from the associated additional costs. This is confirmed by a survey of around 110 top German managers conducted by corporate payment specialist AirPlus International.

German companies increasingly see themselves as having a responsibility to make more environmentally conscious decisions. When asked what measures have already been implemented or are planned to promote ecological sustainability, it is revealed that companies have stepped up their efforts enormously compared with the previous year. This is shown by the AirPlus survey of 107 top German managers.

The most popular measure is the selection of travel partners based on defined sustainability criteria, with 95 percent agreeing (2022: 37 percent). Directly behind is the bundling of several business appointments. This means that 93 percent of companies said they consciously avoid single trips (2022: 60 percent). Even the least frequently mentioned measure – the conscious selection of the most environmentally friendly means of travel possible – is classified by 83 percent of respondents as already implemented or at least planned. Last year, the approval ratings were only between 25 and 64 percent, depending on the measure.

There is also a change in willingness to pay. On average, respondents say they are willing to spend 69 percent more for more sustainable business travel. Last year, this figure was just 12 percent.

Determination and compensation of CO2 emissions on the rise

More and more companies now want to determine and compensate their CO2 emissions or are already doing so (91 percent in total). Last year, the figure for determining emissions was 33 percent, while the figure for offsetting was only 25 percent. Regulatory requirements are, of course, a key driver for companies.

Nevertheless: Digital transformation and artificial intelligence are more important for companies than sustainability

Interestingly, however, in the broader context, top managers do not assign any greater importance to the topic of sustainability today than they did in 2021. In both years, the topic lands in 7th place in the survey. The general economic situation, digital transformation, and the topic of artificial intelligence, among other topics, are rated as more important (rank 1-3). Unsurprisingly, the economic impact of Covid-19 no longer plays a major role in the meantime (rank 15), while new-work topics play even less of a role (rank 20). Flexible working models now seem to be firmly anchored in the companies.

"For many German companies, it is now a matter of course to align themselves more sustainably. Our survey underlines that top management is prepared to make the necessary investments, but also to implement changes. Digitalized processes also have the potential to drive sustainability efforts. This starts in everyday life with the reduction of paper consumption, continues with sustainable business travel management, and ends with the development of a data pool to gain clues for more climate-friendly decisions," comments Oliver Wagner, CEO of AirPlus International.

AirPlus surveyed a total of 107 top managers in Germany, including CEOs, CFOs and heads of sales.

About AirPlus International:

AirPlus International is a leading international provider of corporate payment solutions. 53,000 corporate customers rely on AirPlus for the payment and evaluation of their business trips and other purchasing services. The products and services are marketed worldwide under the AirPlus International brand. AirPlus is an issuer of the UATP and Mastercard card schemes. The AirPlus Company Account is the most successful billing account within the UATP. For more information, visit

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