International travel is important in the academic world. It is an important factor for the development of a research network and for knowledge exchange.
However, it also takes up a significant share of UAntwerp’s total emissions, especially if one also takes commuting into account. According to the zero-measurement report, transporting people (commuting and work-related travel combined) accounts for 50% of the total footprint.
Currently, we are working on mechanisms to stimulate UAntwerp staff or students to travel in a more sustainable way. New is that there is a general university wide mechanism in place to offset CO2 emission from international travel. Several funding sources (e.g. BOF, FWO) are starting to accept CO2-compensation as an eligible cost for research projects. Also, the Flemish Government and the UGent are restricting staff to travel by airplane on short distances (< 500km or < 6h over land).
- Installing the necessary tools and mechanisms to monitor the emissions from international travel in detail by 2021.
- Developing, promoting, and continuously improve the variety of alternatives to flying.
- Roll-out of a comprehensive scheme enabling CO2 compensation to cover all work-related travel by 2022.
Priority action points
- Creating a general university-wide mechanism for CO2 compensation for international traveling, taking into account the existing initiatives.
- Assimilating the policy of the Flemish government on short distance travels
- Invest in highest quality video conferencing technology at every campus and actively promote the opportunities it provides