Transition plan sustainable travel policy 2020-2030

With the (further) development of a sustainable travel policy, we try to find a balance between two important objectives. On the one hand, there is the need of an academic institution to be internationally active and to exchange knowledge, experiences and people. On the other hand, there is the need, again according to the academic community, to take into account the urgency of the climate issue and to act accordingly by establishing effective guidelines and measures. Read the full transition plan sustainable travel policy 2020-2030.


Ghent University commits itself to fly less, more thoughtfully and more sustainably, and thus to reduce the CO2 emissions of its air travel by at least 1/3rd by 2030 compared to the reference year 2019.

To this end:

  • Ghent University is working to find a balance between the need to be internationally active and the need to take into account the urgency of the climate issue; as an institution, it is also weighing in on the ongoing international debate on this topic;
  • Ghent University is shifting 'the standard' towards sustainable mobility, by stimulating sustainable alternatives and putting a brake on unnecessary travel;
  • for necessary air travel, a contribution is collected to partly compensate for the emitted CO2;
  • Ghent University involves expertise and commitment to work on solutions for sustainable mobility.

Strategic framework

An ambitious action plan is needed to achieve the above objectives. It is based on 7 pillars:

  • Data collection and monitoring
  • Reflection on the balance between internationalisation and sustainability
  • Behavioral change
  • Stimulating sustainable alternatives to flying and offering alternatives
  • Steering measures to reduce the number of plane trips
  • Compensating CO2 emissions from air travel
  • Use of UGent expertise


Here is a list of some measures, which should limit the number of flights in the coming years:

  • Putting frontrunners in the spotlight, sharing stories.
  • Make alternatives to air travel known: where can you get there by train?
  • In case of international cooperation, engage in advance with the partners around sustainable mobility.
  • Make objectives and progress clear per faculty and department.
  • If we can get to a destination with 8 hours of train travel, we will do so.
  • For each flight, a CO2 contribution of 50 EUR/tonne is collected, which is spent on reforestation projects, subsidizing train tickets and financing living labs.

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