Low carbon travel initiative

An initiative by TU/e academics

We are academics from the TU Eindhoven (TU/e) concerned about our carbon footprint. We would like to make some positive changes, starting with the way we travel for work.  Reflecting on our footprint as academics, we see international travelling for conferences and fieldwork as inherent to our work, but at the same time an impactful practice of academic life.

These concerns are shared by many of our colleagues. Hundreds of academics from Dutch and other European universities are questioning their travel practices (see Klimaatbrief). We feel a more systemic change is needed if we want to collectively reduce high carbon travel.  Thus, we have taken it upon ourselves to work towards solutions which we, our colleagues, and hopefully also you are willing to take part in.

A successful travel initiative depends on the support and actions of individual academics. This starts with awareness, but also requires practical assistance in making different travel choices. We are grateful for the support we have already received from the TU/e in developing this initiative and experiment. However, as we make these choices within the systems and policies of the university, support at an administrative level is crucial. To make this possible we are collaborating with internal affairs and the university’s Green Office.

In our search we follow the logic of ‘trias mobilica’, a model providing three rules of thumb: reduce carbon travel, travel more efficiently, and switch to more sustainable alternatives. These guiding principles help us make more sustainable travel choices and delineate the focal points of this low carbon travel imitative.

Our efforts aim to:

  • Formulate university-wide policy document on international travel and its environmental impact.
  • Promote a critical attitude towards international travel and reduce the number of trips.
  • Promote efficiency at the research group level by e.g. encouraging to send smaller delegations to conferences.
  • Identify easy to reach destinations with low carbon travel options within Europe.
  • Offer a travel planning procedure that integrates low carbon travel options.
  • Create administrative and financial support to overcome barriers to use low carbon travel options via e.g. compensation for increased travel time and cost.

Sign our petition*!

We want to show the Executive Board of TU/e that there is a need for a university-wide policy document on international travel and its environmental impact. To show this, we need as much support as possible from our colleagues. By signing the petition* you can help us demonstrate that the TU/e community stands behind this low carbon initiative.

If you agree that there should be a university-wide policy on international travel, that makes planning work-related trips in a sustainable manner more accessible for TU/e employees, please sign our petition*!

* By signing our petition, you do not promise or plea in any way to change your travel behaviour. While we would support all TU/e employees to travel sustainably, the goal of the petition is solely to show that TU/e employees wish for a university-wide policy document regarding international travel and its environmental impact.

What can you do in the meantime?

We encourage you to personally reflect on your international conference and research travels and start the discussion with your colleagues. You can share your reflections on our website where some colleagues have already shared their experience with sustainable travel choices.

Let us know what you or your group is doing to encourage low carbon travel.