Sustainable traveling

Radboud University and Radboudumc are working together to create a healthy world and a sustainable campus and aim for CO₂-neutral transport by 2030. Air travel contributes greatly to the greenhouse effect by emitting CO₂ and other harmful substances. It is therefore important to consciously change our travel behaviour.

Business Air Travel Policy

In 2020, the Executive Board of Radboud University and the Board of Directors of Radboudumc adopted the joint sustainable flight policy. The policy is briefly summarised in an infographic (in Dutch).

Reducing business air travel requires first and foremost awareness of the harmful effects of flying, knowledge of the alternatives and thus a change in behaviour and habits. Therefore, the main aim of this policy is for a person to be able to make his or her own informed decisions regarding his or her business travel. This policy therefore does not aim to be perceived as a 'must', the why is central.

Measures 2020 – 2022

  • Drawing up and implementing a communication plan to raise awareness among employees of the impact of flying and increase knowledge to reduce this impact. This will include ambassadors and best practices that show that things can be done differently. The principle of Avoid, Book an alternative, Compensate (ABC) is used as a starting point.
  • Centrally organising the booking of international travel. By booking travel through a travel agent, one will be unburdened and there will be better visibility of travel dates. The travel agent is expected to be launched in 2023, employees will be informed of this. Through this travel agent, CO₂ emissions from trips made will be offset.
  • No more flying to cities that can be reached within seven hours with sustainable alternatives. When the travel time by plane and train is the same, travel by train. Exceptions to this are possible in special cases by agreement.
  • It is being investigated whether use of (shared) video conferencing meets the need. As a result of this study, it will be possible to estimate the investment required to make these facilities a good alternative to a physical visit to, for example, a conference or meeting.
  • Eand number of measures can also be applied to subsidy applications for student travel. For this, we are collaborating with StudentLife and have developed a scheme that encourages sustainable travel.

What can you do as a department?

As part of the Radboud International Travel Challenge 2022, several university and Umc staff and departments have developed plans to reduce their carbon footprint. Looking for inspiration to make your department's international travel policy more sustainable? Then take a look at the ideas of the participants:

  • Discuss the topic of sustainable travel periodically within your team or group to increase commitment. Make agreements together, go through results and adjust them based on advancing insight.
  • Set concrete targets. For example: we aim to reduce our travel-related CO₂ emissions by 50% by 2027 compared to 2022. That means we aim for a 10% CO₂ reduction every year.
  • Monitor the CO₂ emissions of your travels and adjust your choices accordingly. Ask your colleagues to report the CO₂ emissions of their travels and how much they save by travelling by train, for example. You can easily find out the CO₂ emissions of your trip with an online tool, for example from sustainable travel international of ecotree. For foreign business trips, we can monitor how much CO₂ emissions employees consume with VCK Travel.
  • Offset the carbon emissions of your travel behaviour.
  • Agree on a maximum number of flights or air miles per colleague. In this, strike a good balance between the interests of experienced and young colleagues. For example, a maximum of one long-distance trip per year for experienced colleagues and a maximum of three flight destinations for a 4-year PhD trajectory.
  • Combine as many appointments and activities as possible in locations abroad, so that international trips are more profitable.
  • Set up a competition for teams or groups that challenges them to make their travel behaviour more sustainable and reward the winner, e.g. with an award. Set up associated criteria (e.g. points for long-distance train travel and for attending digital conferences).
  • Explore whether, with or without international colleagues, you can transform an existing physical event into a multi-hub event (physical on multiple continents) or even an all-digital event.
  • Set up a decision tree for employees. For example, see the decision tree below from Communication Science (in Dutch):
beslisboom zakelijke vliegreizen

Infographic Reisbeleid