Business travel outside Edinburgh (Climate Conscious Travel)
Details of the University's actions to reduce carbon emissions from business travel.
As a global university, we rely on international collaboration to achieve the best standards in teaching and research. That means that our staff and occasionally, our students, fly more than 80 million kilometres per year. That’s more than 100 times to the moon and back, or about halfway from the Earth to the Sun.
Over time, our travel emissions have risen significantly to the point that they will likely be the number one cause of our carbon emissions before 2040. In 2016/17, a huge increase in business travel cancelled out all the emissions cut from other parts of our operations.
Flights are responsible for 95% of our travel emissions, and more than half of those are from long-haul international flights where it wouldn’t be easy to take another form of transport.
To tackle this challenge, in 2020 we introduced the Climate Conscious Travel project.
What is Climate Conscious Travel?
Climate conscious travel is:
- being aware of the environmental impacts of travel and choosing a method of travel that reduces these (e.g. by train rather than plane for travel within mainland Britain)
- ensuring unnecessary travel is not undertaken (e.g. sending the minimum number of individuals required to fulfil the purpose of travel)
- choosing not to travel when virtual collaboration tools will adequately fulfil the purpose of travel (e.g. for meetings where a video link would suffice)