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Author's profile photo Maria Angeles Sanchez

Sustainable Travelling Dashboard in SAP Analytics Cloud

In our kick-off for the activities of our Sustainability Team in Barcelona we were discussing which topics could be more interesting for 2020. We were wondering how great would be having the data from the travelling of SAP Spain in terms of number of flights and trains taken during one year to explore the numbers and understand how much we are travelling and specially how we are travelling.

As you may know SAP is supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to help end poverty, protect the planet, fight diseases, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.


Focusing on the goal 13 Climate Action, SAP is committed to be carbon neutral by 2025 and this requires to run all our operations on 100% renewable energy and compensate for all other emissions within the material scope of its operations through investments such as those in the Livelihoods Carbon Fund.

Business travel is a key area to focus when talking about being carbon neutral because most of our CO2 footprint is coming from travelling by plane. We know that if you can’t measure you can’t improve it and that is the reason we need the data to support shifts towards more sustainable travel behavior.

On the basis of the above, we asked for the travelling data to create a dashboard in SAP Analytics Cloud to show all this relevant information in a engaging and easy to consume way. With the expertise of my colleague Guillermo Lopez Ortuno from my team we built a story in SAC. Later, we organize a session about Sustainable Travelling in July to share our findings with our colleagues from SAP Spain and Commercial Sales.

Some important remarks about the data.

  1. Data is coming from the external company BCD Travel Spain, it belongs to SAP Spain and SAP EMEA Commercial Sales during 2019.
  2. Data was enriched with geographic coordinates in order to show the journeys in the maps and to calculate the CO2 consumption.
  3. The CO2 consumption per flight was calculated following the estimation from ICAO  (International Civil Aviation Organization).
  4. The CO2 consumption per travel by train was calculated assuming that the CO2 footprint when travelling by train is 4 times smaller that doing the same distance by plane.

After enriching the data and doing some research about the CO2 footprint of travelling by plane and train we were ready to build our dashboard to show how we travel to our colleagues.

In the overview, it can be seen the total number of trips in 2019. About 22.500 trips with a distribution of 87% by plane and 13% by train. On the right, the most frequent trips, first and second position are for MAD-BCN with more than 3000 flights and BCN-MAD with more than 2300 flights.

In the middle we have the map with all the routes represented. Wider lines represent most repeated journeys. Zoom in around Europe and Spain we easily see the most frequent routes.

We can also check how the trips are distributed along the year. As expected, August and December were the months with the smallest number of trips. It also shows the trips by mode, more than 19.604 trips by plane and 2.904 trips by train. The average rate per trip is also shown, 228 € per flight and 97 € per train ticket.

When preparing the session about Sustainable Travelling our focus was on the domestic flights. The flights within Spain that can be switched easily from plane to train. It makes non sense to think about travelling from Madrid to Paris or from Barcelona to Frankfurt by train. At least not with the trains we have today, we’ll see what happens in the future…

So, applying in the filters “Spain” for country of origin and country of destination and selecting “Plane” on the filter mode of transport we can explore only the domestic flights.

And this is the overview now, more than 8.000 domestic flights, 5.500 of which are flights between Madrid and Barcelona. Domestic flights that contribute with more than 530 tons to our CO2 footprint, 340 tons of which belong to flights between Madrid and Barcelona.

And here it is our conclusion, if most of our CO2 footprint due to domestic flights is coming from flights between Madrid and Barcelona and considering that both cities have a great offer of public transport and are connected by high-speed train. Could we try to switch at least part of these domestic flights to trains? Are we doing enough to be carbon neutral? Are we travelling in a sustainable way?

Opinions and feedback is more than welcome.

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      Author's profile photo Bärbel Winkler
      Bärbel Winkler

      Hi Maria,

      thanks for the article and analysis!

      I have a comment about "It makes non sense to think about travelling from Madrid to Paris or from Barcelona to Frankfurt by train."

      While I haven't checked options for travelling by train from Frankfurt to Barcelona, I actually planned to go from Stuttgart to Barcelona by train in September/October which is doable in one day via Paris with 3+ hours from Stuttgart to Paris and then 6+ hours onwards to Barcelona. Granted, you'll need enough time in Paris to get from one station to the other, but it shouldn't be too bad. Alas, "thanks" to COVID-19 I had to scrap those plans for this year, but hope to give it a try in 2021.



      Author's profile photo Maria Angeles Sanchez
      Maria Angeles Sanchez
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Bärbel!

      Thank you for your comment. Regarding that sentence I kept in mind colleagues from sales or presales or just a customer-faced role that need to be travelling often and sometimes with a short notice. For me, that I used to travel for business reasons two times per year maximum it is much easier to plan a more sustainable trip. By the way, related to this I just found this super interesting blog, that may be of interest for you:

      And finally, as a citizen of Barcelona during more than 3 years I really encourage you to visit this beautiful city as soon as you feel comfortable 😉


      María Ángeles

      Author's profile photo Guillermo Lopez Ortuno
      Guillermo Lopez Ortuno

      This is an extremely relevant topic. Sustainability is now in everybody's agenda, but especially we need to re-think how we travel to prepare for when we can do it again. You and the rest of the Sustainability Team from Barcelona are doing a fantastic job. Keep it up!