Richard Johnson leads CWT Solutions Group globally. His team is responsible for providing highly customised consulting services to our customers, helping them enjoy the best possible value for their investment in travel.
Richard has been at CWT for just over four and a half years. He joined in Sydney and initially led Solutions Group for the APAC region, based in Australia and then Singapore. He relocated back to the UK to lead EMEA in late 2018 and then, when the pandemic hit in 2020, took on global responsibility. Richard has over ten years in corporate travel consulting and payments. We talk to Rich about his motivations, sustainability and the future of business travel.
Who or what motivates you in your daily life and career?
My dad is my motivation. He passed away a few years ago after a sudden, short illness and I miss him every day. He worked two jobs for most of his life to give me the opportunities and things he never had, and he inspires me to aim high for myself and help anyone I can to do the same. I try to behave in a way that would have made him proud.
What is an important lesson that you have learned at work?
Patience is an important part of being successful, but don’t let yourself fall into a rut. Be assertive putting yourself forward for opportunities to progress or develop and don’t be afraid of the experience of being uncomfortable to begin with.
Where do you see the business travel industry going from a sustainability standpoint?
The sustainability movement has tremendous momentum and I think this will act as the catalyst for innovation within the industry. I think we’ll see widespread, greener options as things like sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) become more common. Better availability of high-quality information and established, common standards will drive good decision making before, during and after trips. This will also enable companies to target sustainability for all aspects of their travel – air, accommodation, car rental, taxis and last mile travel.
Virtual alternatives will remain and I would expect them to become more immersive and inclusive as technology evolves. This could allow organisations to be very precise in their segmentation of permissible and non-essential travel, meaning that travel dollars will be spent more carefully but will also be used in the most sustainable way.
What is the single most important step that corporates need to make towards a more sustainable travel program?
It’s critical to understand that true sustainability is achieved by balancing employee wellbeing, climate protection and organisational (financial) outcomes and then, set target-based objectives that identify what success will look like in these areas.
What do you do to reduce your personal carbon footprint?
I drive a plug-in hybrid car and my family recycles as much as possible.
How do you unwind?
I’m very aware of the importance of physical health and how it goes hand-in-hand with our mental wellbeing. So, I go to the gym 4-5 times a week and play football (soccer) twice a week to unwind and keep my energy levels up.