Work / Life Ecologies

University Sustainable Air Travel Policies


Sustainability is now a common part of most Australian universities governance. Most universities have policies and initiatives that seek to reduce the environmental impact of the institution and its activities. Typically, this involves measures such as energy efficiency retrofits, reduction in the use of water, and promotion of non-car based transport.
One area that has been overlooked by many university sustainability policies is air travel. Academics often fly as part of their work, to attend conferences, to conduct fieldwork, to meet with partners, or in some cases commuting. This flying comes with a significant carbon footprint, somewhere around 10-15% of an institutions total emissions.
As part of the SUPP project, we are seeking to understand the extent to which Australian universities recognize air travel as a sustainability issue, and what measures they are taking to reduce the amount of flying their employees do.
How many of Australia’s 43 universities have sustainable air travel policies? Do these policies entail specific commitments to reduce air travel? What alternatives to air travel to these policies propose for academics that feel compelled to fly as part of their work?



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