Objectives and current situation
25% reduction of ecological footprint of all travel by 2026
The footprint analysis carried out in 2019 serves as a baseline measurement for this goal. It revealed that the UvA emits an estimated 18 thousand tonnes of CO2 for mobility. This is about 26% of all UvA emissions (as included in this measurement). The sources of these emissions can be further broken down as follows:
- 11,341 tonnes from student commuting
- 3,838 tonnes from official travel abroad
- 2,678 tonnes from staff commuting
Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the contracting of a new service provider, no up-to-date data are currently available to provide insight into the development of these travel-related emissions.
No (or hardly any) flights are taken any more to destinations that can be reached by train within six hours
In 2021, the UvA set up a new booking portal and introduced new travel policies aimed in particular at reducing short flights. This policy states that staff may no longer fly to destinations that can be reached by train within six hours, and that travelling by train is expressly the preferred option for destinations that can be reached within eight hours. This policy has been integrated into the new official travel booking portal; read more about sustainable travel.
Travel by train to cities that are more than six hours from Amsterdam by train will double
The situation is difficult to monitor at the moment because train journeys are not recorded.
We will achieve a reduction of the number of kilometres flown in absolute terms
The situation is difficult to monitor at the moment because plane journeys are not recorded.
We will explore the most effective ways to reduce travel emissions
Based on a random sample of our travel data for 2019, we have established that most flight kilometres are travelled on long-haul flights. 65% of flight kilometres concern intercontinental flights. Flights to ‘distant’ European destinations that cannot be reached by train within eight hours account for 30% of flight kilometres. Flights to destinations that can be reached by train within eight hours account for only 5% of flight kilometres, and of these, only 2% involve flights to destinations that can be reached by train within six hours.
It follows from the above that the impact of the train travel zones currently in effect (mandatory for destinations within six hours, the preferred option for destinations within eight hours) have at best a minor effect on overall emissions. Making longer train journeys within Europe and, above all, reducing intercontinental flight kilometres could yield additional gains.
Status of envisaged measures
Read more about the measures in the White Paper on Sustainability (PDF, 19 pages).
There are no more flights to destinations that can be reached by train within six hours
The 2021 travel policy states that, in principle, we will no longer fly to destinations that can be reached by train within six hours. Such flights can be booked only in exceptional situations and after having been approved by a manager.
Train travel to destinations that can be reached within eight hours is the preferred option
The proposal to offer train journeys to destinations that can be reached within eight hours as a preferred option in the booking portal has so far been only partially implemented. A banner appeals to people to take the train, but train travel is not explicitly presented as a preferred option because the service provider did not have the option of doing so.
Taking direct flights (for medium-haul distances) is encouraged
A banner in the booking portal appeals to people to do this.
The introduction of a realistic internal CO2 price is being explored
No steps have yet been taken to do this because we want to ensure that all or nearly all flights are booked via the new booking portal before raising additional obstacles.
Reimbursement of costs of travelling by car versus public transport
The UvA will only reimburse the costs of travelling by car on official business in cases where travelling by public transport is unworkable. The policy has not yet been adjusted on this point.
Parking spaces for staff
We will not issue parking spaces to staff unless there are medical grounds to do so. Policy on this point has not yet been adjusted.
Offsetting CO2 emissions from official travel
We will offset CO2 emissions from all official travel with gold standard carbon offsets. We started buying offsets in 2022. Regrettably, gold standard offsets were not available for 2022.
Facilitating the use of e-bikes
We facilitate e-bike use by offering charging facilities. We are also exploring other options to encourage e-bike use, such as providing an advance for the purchase of an (e-)bike. The tax incentive scheme for purchasing (e-)bikes has been widened.
Creating transparency regarding the environmental impact of travel
We are taking administrative measures to create transparency regarding the distances travelled and to give staff better insight into the environmental impact of their journeys. A major mobility survey (intranet) was conducted in 2022.
Remote meeting facilities
We are exploring the possibility of enabling (large) UvA conferences to be attended remotely. We are currently exploring the possibility of speakers participating in UvA congresses as holograms.
What else we are doing to reduce the travel footprint
- The UvA is the cycling ambassador of higher education. This means that we encourage staff and students to come to campus by bike.
- We are in the process of setting up a Bike Kitchen, a workshop where students and staff can repair their own bikes under supervision.