Sustainable travel policy

vliegtuigreisDue to the growing internationalisation of research, education and social services, academics head out on numerous business trips every year. A big chunk of those happens by plane. Approximately 15% of the total amount of CO2 emissions of Ghent University is caused by these business trips. Most of these business trips take place within Europe.

Multiple departments are already taking the lead by choosing videoconferencing, choosing not to fly to cities easily reachable without an airplane, by compensating their C02 emissions and by adding an extra check-up when it comes to the value of faraway conferences. These measures are now firmly anchored in the sustainable travel policy.

By train to 'green cities'

'Green cities' are cities that take less than 6 hours to reach by bus or tram starting from Ghent,  or if the travel time by train is no longer than the travel time by plane (duration of the flight + 2 hours, being the standard duration of travel time to the airport + duration of check-in + duration of transfer). When booking a trip to one of these ‘green cities’, the plane is no longer offered as a possible means of transportation. However, if circumstances prevent the use of bus or train, a flight can exceptionally be requested.

A non-exhaustive list of ‘green cities’:

Amersfoort, Amsterdam, Ashford, Birmingham, Bochum, Bonn, Bordeaux, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Egmond aan Zee, Enschede, Frankfurt,  Grenoble, Groningen, Heidelberg, Julich, Keulen,  Leeds, Londen, Luxemburg, Lyon, Mainz, Marseille, Metz, Montpellier, Münster, Nancy, Nantes, Noordwijkerhout, Oxford, Parijs, Reims, Rennes, Rotterdam, Sheffield, Southampton, Straatsburg, Stuttgart, Trier, Tübingen, York

Preferably by train to 'orange cities'

'Orange cities' are cities that take less than 8 hours to reach by train. When booking a trip to one of these ‘orange cities’, Ghent University staff members will be presented with a train or bus ride as the preferred option. This allows the more sustainable means of transportation to be seen as the evident choice.

A non-exhaustive list of ‘orange cities’:
Aix-en-Provence, Basel, Berlijn, Bern, Bremen, Durham, Freiburg, Fribourg, Genève, Göttingen, Hamburg, Hannover, Karlsruhe, Lausanne, Leipzig, München, New Castle, Nice, Nuremberg, Toulouse, Twente, Zürich

CO2-compensation for trips by plane

Along with the measures mentioned above, CO2 emissions of every Ghent University business trip by plane will, from now on, be compensated (partly), for which the university collaborates with CO2logic. Ghent University gets to decide together with the initiative which projects will receive their financial support. More information you can find here.

For any flight not booked through the central skeleton agreement, a fixed CO2 compensation of 50 euro will be charged.

Learning from Ghent University

What happens in Ghent (sustainable) travels abroad. Our "first steps towards a sustainable travel policy" have already been forwarded 10 times to governments, institutions, fellow universities, companies, ... at home and abroad. The action group 'the green locomotive', wrote down how a bottom-up project evolved into a decision. Read it here.