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Image © Train Photos 'Photoshopped 466013' CC BY-SA 2.0

Business travel can play a key part in achieving academic, research and education objectives at the University of Cambridge. However, in 2018/19, carbon emissions from business travel were estimated to be at least 16,000 tonnes CO2e, with 95% of this comes from air travel (2018/19 data).

To reduce emissions related to business travel we need to consider when we can choose virtual alternatives or low-carbon transport modes over carbon-intensive, and difficult-to-decarbonise transport modes such as flying. For example, zero-carbon alternatives to short-haul flights are not expected to be widely available before at least 2050.

The University’s Carbon Reduction Strategy has a target to reduce emissions per-capita (i.e. per person) from flights by 25% against 2014/15 levels by 2024/25. Between 2014/15 and 2018/19,  emissions per capita from flights increased by around 30% (Environmental Sustainability Report 2019). 

Guidelines on Sustainable Business Travel 

The University Council have approved the adoption of the Guidelines to advise staff and students on expectations and to support decision making to minimise the environmental impact of business travel. The Guidelines were developed under the oversight of the Environmental Sustainability Strategy Committee and informed by a consultation with staff and students between August and October 2021.

When planning and undertaking travel, consider the options to reduce your impact on the environment and possibly have a more enjoyable journey, read the full guidelines here: University of Cambridge Guidelines for Sustainable Business Travel. 

To access the Sustainable Business Travel Guidelines video transcript as a PDF, follow this link.

Please note that the Guidelines do not intend to limit all business travel. Furthermore, they recognise that some considerations may require deviation from the recommendations, such as individual safety, disability, health conditions, or inappropriately long journeys.  

University Carbon Offsetting Scheme 

The University scheme is under development. It is recommended, if you would like to offset recent flights, that you keep a record of those flights for potential retrospective application once the scheme is launched.

All enquiries should be directed to the Environmental Sustainability Team. 



Image © Train Photos 'Photoshopped 466013' CC BY-SA 2.0