Infos to get you started
Here is some information which helps you to get active within your organisation:
- Take a look at our Guide to a Climate Friendly Travel Policy describing 9 steps organisations can take to “ground” their travel policies
- Take a look at and fill in our survey that shows you the most common travel policy measures
- Find below resources concerning universities, NGOs and corporations, funding agencies and governmental policies as well as tips for organisations on how to organise virtual meetings.
Some resources on this website are coming soon. Sign up here to get the info when they are available.
Check back to this website regularly, since it will be constantly updated. Feel free to send us hints regarding helpful resources or policies, we are happy to include them!
Do you feel lost and don’t know where to start? Do you want to exchange experiences with other people engaged in changing travel policies?
Our webinars for organisations might help. See for example our webinars “Grounding Travel Policies in Organisations” (with a focus on academia) and “Virtually International”, in which we discussed how virtual communication can help us to avoid business flights.
Other General Resources
Find below resources concerning universities, NGOs and corporations, funding agencies and governmental policies as well as tips for organisations on how to organise virtual meetings.
The Travel Better Package by “Sustainability Exchange”, delivered by the Alliance for Sustainability in Education (EAUC), aims to support the reduction of air travel in the education sector. It contains:
- A Questions & Answer tool addressing concerns individuals may have about reducing air travel
- The Travel Better Pledge Template for individuals, departments or institutions
- The Air Travel Justification Tool, which supports individuals in justifying/reflecting on attending events only accessible through flying
Prepare for landing: Practical tips on tracking, reporting and reducing business air travel emissions by the Stockholm Environment Institute
There are already hundreds of articles, studies and opinion pieces on the possibilities, obstacles and consequences of flying less for business trips – especially in academia. The experiences of universities provide many important lessons for other types of organisations, too. We highly recommend to have a look at the following resource collections, from which also this website could benefit (thank you very much!):
In recent years, universities in Europe, the USA and Canada have increasingly become places of progressive and climate-friendly travel policy – there is a real growing movement in this sector. This accumulated knowledge can also be very helpful for other organisations in formulating and implementing travel policies.
Platforms for universities
Roundtable of Sustainable Academic Travel: network developed by University Edinburgh of universities all over Europe, the US and Asia to share ideas and enable open discussions on business travel emissions in academia, online workshops, open to any higher education institution interested in addressing business travel within their setting.
Scientists for Future: Unter 1000 mach ich’s nicht! (GE, AT, CH): Scientists for Future initiative for scientists in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to voluntarily refrain from taking short-haul flights up to 1,000 km (equivalent to about 12 hours train journey) for the purposes of business-related travel.
#flyingless: great blog on flying less in academia by Park Wilde (Tufts University, Massachusetts/US) with huge FAQ-section and petition calling on universities and professional associations to greatly reduce flying
No Fly Climate Sci (US): website by Peter Kalmus for scientists and institutions of earth sciences to pledge to stop or reduce flying, including a resource collection.
Universities with grounded travel policies and guidelines
For an overview of the variety of measures taken by universities all over the world, see the Map of Academic Air Travel Reduction and Offsetting Projects, created and being maintained as part of a PhD project by Agnes Kreil at ETH Zürich.
See below links to travel policies and guidelines of different universities all over the world that aim to reduce air travel.
United States and Canada
Grassroots initiatives and proposals for travel policies at universities
In universities all over the world, grassroots initatives from students or staff are forming, encouraging their administration to establish a grounded travel policy.
ExPlane aims to build a network of students and staff demanding universities and schools to lead by example in travelling consciously by creative actions, petitions, student trips, film nights, thesis proposals etc. ExPlane is an official campaign partner of the “Let’s Stay Grounded” campaign.
Environment and Climate Emergency Working Group White Paper by students and staff at the University of Exeter (UK), including travel policy.
NGOs and Corporations
There are not that many NGOs and corporations yet that have travel policies with the explicit goal of reducing air travel. Find here some initiatives, platforms and examples in a hopefully constantly growing list. If you have any hints regarding best practice examples, feel free to contact us! Of course, the resources regarding universities (see above) are also very helpful for corporations and NGOs.
Platforms for NGOs and corporations
Anders Reizen: coalition of more than 50 large organisations with 450,000 employees with the ambition to halve the CO2 emissions of business travel by 2030 (compared to 2016), facilitated by our campaign partner Natuur en Milieu.
Einfach. Jetzt. Machen: German initiative for corporations to pledge to refrain from domestic flights and from flights for journeys of up to 1,000 km, to minimise energy consumption in all operating facilities and to obtain the remaining electricity requirement from 100% green electricity and to refrain completely from meat from conventional, industrial production and to use only organically, seasonally and regionally or fairly produced food for catering and hospitality as far as possible.
Climate Perks: works with climate-conscious employers to offer paid ‘journey days’ to staff who travel on holiday by train, coach or boat instead of flying
Loving the Atmosphere: Individual pledge to no longer use domestic business flights and/or flights to neighbouring countries for business trips or to no longer use an airplane for business trips in future at all.
NGOs and corporations with grounded travel policies
Haberkorn reduced the number of flight kilometers by a third between 2008 and 2017 by urging employees to take at least one way by train (website in German)
BKS Bank is promoting video conferencing and could avoid 269.000 km of travel in 2018
PwC UK aims to reduce travel emissions by reducing the number of journeys and promoting less carbon-intensive ways of working and making better use of technology-based alternatives
Politiken: the daily Danish newspaper announced that their staff will only fly domestically when absolutely necessary and that it will reorient their travel section in a more climate-friendly direction (link to announcement in Danish).
Helsingborg Concert Hall in Sweden will not fly in international artists in the 2020/21 season
The band Massive Attack announced they will tour Europe by train to reduce their carbon emissions.
German TV station Tele 5 abolishes flights within Germany for its staff (link in German).
The travel policy of the NGO Right Livelihood Foundation aims to improve digital meeting culture, monitor and report transport-related CO2-eq emissions and to avoid flying if a destination can be reached without air travel in less than 10 hours. (A more detailed travel policy is under revision right now.)
Travel policies of funding and public institutions
Many organisations depend on funding from private or public institutions or have to abide by governmental regulations regarding business travel. These travel guidelines and the structure of the funded projects highly influence the ability of organisations to reduce their air travel. Also, more and more public institutions themselves are changing their travel policies.
Here is an expanding collection of some promising initiatives in this field.
- Change of the German “Bundesreisekostengesetz” regulating business travel of state employees: From January 2020, the use of the railway is always possible for journeys and is reimbursed – even if this results in higher costs. Flight bookings don’t have to be preferred anymore for economic reasons. See the anticipatory regulation letter in German here.
- Barcelona City Council will avoid flights of less than 1,000 km if there is an alternative by train
- Swiss Government officials are now required to travel by train rather than plane if the journey time does not exceed six hours.
- Open Letter initiated by Young UN Agents for Change network (2019) on Climate Action of United Nations institutions. One chapter is concerning air travel policies.
- Open Letter of scientists: Decarbonize research through funding rules. Signatures still possible.
- European Innovative Training Network (ITN) COUPLED: A group of PhD students started a discussion on the COUPLED travel policy. See their blog article here.
- Funding criteria by the Wellcome Foundation aiming to reduce the environmental impact of the travel it funds
Resources on Organising Virtual Conferences
Virtual meetings and conferences can be one important means to reduce air travel in organisations. In this section, we collect information that may help you to promote online communication in your organisation. See also our webinar “Virtually International – How Virtual Meetings Can Help to Avoid Flights”.
- UC Santa Barbara/ Environmental Humanities: Nearly Carbon-Neutral (NCN) Conference Model
- Online Conferences of Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA), section of the American Anthropological Association: Reflections on Conference 2018 (“Displacements”) and How to Guide (video series) for presenters at the 2020 conference (“Distribute”)
- University of Alberta’s Virtual Conferencing TOOLKIT
- Association of Computing Machinery SIGPLAN’s conference carbon calculator allows organizers to upload a spreadsheet of conference attendee data to calculate total air travel footprint.
- “Seven steps to make travel to scientific conferences more sustainable” (Olivier Hamant, Timothy Saunders and Virgile Viasnoff, 2019, Nature)
- Professor Charlotte Rae’s “Guide for academic societies that are looking to generate an Environment Policy”
- Semi-virtual ESCOM conference in music and psychology (2018) taking place in four different hubs around the world, video documentary about the conference and talk of Richard Parncutt about the format.
- The Climate-Friendly Global Academic Conference with a Human Touch: Webinar with several online conference organisers from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
- Article on the online conference of the European Biological Rhythms Society (EBRS) in Munich
- Climate Action Taskforce of the Council of the American Association of Geographers (AAG)
- Reflections on the Photonics Online Meetup (ETH Zürich)
- Reflections on the Signs of Change National Networked e-Conference (New Zealand)
- Roundtable and video presentations on “Reimagining the Annual Meeting for an Era of Radical Climate Change” of the Canadian Anthropology Society and American Anthropological Association
- Report on the CET Beyond Oil Conference 2017 & 2019