Consider the climate when you travel

If you need to travel for work, the university encourages you to choose the most climate-friendly form of travel – and to think twice about whether the trip is really necessary. AU’s revised travel policy will contribute to reducing the university’s carbon footprint.

Photo: Colourbox

Approved after a broad consultation

A draft version of the revised policy was developed by a broadly representative working group of academic and administrative staff, and it was then reviewed by the faculties, the departments/schools, the academic councils, the liaison committees and the OSHA committees, as well as the administration’s management team. Following this process, the revised policy was approved by the senior management team. You may wish to read Proposed new travel policy encourages less and more climate-friendly work travel (from 7 January 2022).

Aarhus University is an international workplace and, as university employees, we often need to travel in order to collaborate with international partners, participate in conferences, make use of international research facilities and conduct fieldwork, among other things. We will still be able to do this – but, in the future, we need to consider the climate to a greater extent when making our travel plans. This is the central message of AU’s travel policy, which has been revised in order to contribute to achieving the university’s climate goals. Following an inclusive internal consultation period, the revised travel policy has now been approved by the senior management team.

The updated travel policy is intended to contribute to the joint task of reducing the university’s carbon footprint, which means that AU employees must consider the climate when making travel arrangements.

”As employees at Aarhus University, we all have to do our best to reduce our CO2 emissions, for example by taking the train instead of flying. So the question becomes how we can travel in the most climate-friendly way – or whether we can replace the trip with a virtual setup”, says Rector Brian Bech Nielsen on behalf of the senior management team.

When making travel plans, staff should also balance climate considerations in relation to logistical issues and travel time.

The revised travel policy will apply to all trips booked after 3 October 2022. Read the travel policy on the AU website – or get a quick overview of the most important changes below.

A summary of the changes to AU’s travel policy

The new policy explicitly encourages staff to think about their own travel habits and reconsider the forms of travel they use by, among other things:

  • choosing the most climate-friendly form of travel whenever possible.
  • challenging the number of in-person meetings held in well-established existing networks.
  • considering whether the trip can be replaced by on-line meetings, or be planned closer to home.
  • travelling by train rather than by plane, if the train trip is less that five hours each way.

When planning a trip, staff should also naturally balance travel time and logistics in relation to the demands of their work schedule and private life.

On business travel by car

  • AU staff are encouraged to use AU’s electric cars instead of their own diesel/petrol cars.
  • AU staff who use their own cars for business trips are encouraged to carpool wherever possible. 
  • In relation to car rental, staff are encouraged to rent electric cars whenever it’s practically and economically feasible to do so.

On domestic travel

For domestic travel, as a general rule, staff should travel by train and/or carpool. However, there may be cases in which domestic air travel is necessary for practical or professional reasons, or in connection with international flights.

On booking air travel

Although it’s still possible to book plane tickets directly from the airline, all staff are strongly encouraged to use AU’s travel agency Carlson Wagonlit Travel Denmark (CWT) instead. One major advantage is that CWT can provide AU with data on CO2 emissions from trips booked through them. The university needs this data in order to be able to evaluate whether its climate policy is having the desired effect. Read more about how to book travel with CWT and find user’s guides here.

Further information

  • If you have questions about the climate aspects of the travel policy, contact: Andreas Sindal Stounbjerg
  • If you have questions about other aspects of the travel policy and travel generally, contact: Eva Kristensen