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Sustainable business travel

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Last updated on 21 December 2023
From 1 January 2022, VU Amsterdam will choose sustainable travel options for business trips, which are less harmful to the environment.

VU Amsterdam aspires to keep our planet liveable

The VU takes responsibility for people and the planet. This is part of our mission. We strive for a climate-neutral university, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. To achieve this, we will have to critically examine all our activities. We ask all employees to do their bit. After all, only together can we realise the VU's ambitions.

In this context, the business travel scheme has been amended with a number of new guidelines. These regulations help employees to make environmentally conscious choices when planning their business trips. The regulation is based on personal responsibility and the 'comply or explain' principle.

The environmental impact of our business travel

As we know, (air) travel causes a lot of CO2 emissions. In 2019, the emissions from business travel at the VU were more than 3,000 tonnes of CO2. This is equivalent to the CO2 consumption of 150 average households and is around 7% of VU's total emissions.

The VU will try to reduce CO2 emissions in many different ways. Making business trips more environmentally friendly is one of the ways employees can contribute to this.

The guideline in a nutshell

The new guideline for sustainable business travel asks all employees to assess any business trips against the question of whether they are A. necessary and B. possible sustainable, alternative forms of travel.

 The following applies to question A:

1. choose to have short international meetings of 3 hours or less conducted digitally;

2. limit the number of intercontinental flights to once every two years.

We understand that this last guideline is not directly applicable to all researchers. We ask for a conscious consideration and explanation if the guidelines cannot be met.

The following applies to question B:

1. travel by public transport (bus or train) to destinations that can be reached within 6 hours;

2. travel by public transport to destinations that can be reached within 8 hours if the time difference between flying and public transport is less than 2 hours;

3. Consider opting for public transport even for travel times that are longer than 8 hours, because longer flights in particular cause large CO2 emissions.

Besides the bus or train, other more sustainable means of transport can also be considered, such as (electric) shared cars.

What do we ask of managers?

This guideline is based on the 'comply or explain' principle. We ask every employee to make conscious choices with regard to business trips, with the above guidelines as a starting point. This will not be possible for everyone in all cases. We ask managers to keep these guidelines in mind when approving requests for business trips and to talk to employees if, in the case of exceptions, it is not sufficiently clear why the regulations cannot be followed. There is no monitoring at the individual level. It is about personal responsibility and 'the good conversation'. At a central level, it will be assessed whether the chosen scheme is sufficient to achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions from business trips.

More  information on domestic and international business travel

The complete VU guideline for business trips can be found by clicking on the tiles at the bottom of this page. There you will also find more information about the reimbursement and declaration of travel and accommodation expenses.

Information about reimbursement of travel and accommodation expenses, booking flights and hotels, and more for domestic and international business travels.

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