As I said earlier, we at the Global Change Ecology Centre of the University of Antwerp are working towards a reduction of our carbon footprint, through a more sustainable flight strategy and a carbon compensation project. As I find this extremely important for scientists to provide a good example here, I wanted to use the summary of the project that the University recently published on their website. May it inspire others!
In a first step, all work related flights at the Global Change Ecology Centre will be CO2-compensated from January 1st 2017, in cooperation with the project Wildlife Works. Dr. Mwangi Githiru presented the “Wildlife Works” project on November 15th 2016. He provided information on the REDD+ programme and focused on the specific project area in Kenya that GCE will cooperate with. Wildlife Works has been certified through the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the “Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard” (CCB). Compensation will be a part of a larger sustainable flight strategy, where absolute necessity of each flight, as well as alternate transport options and tele-conferencing will be considered.
The basic principle is that all research related flights will be compensated (not only those paid through UAntwerpen), unless another third party has already arranged CO2 compensation. The compensation will be paid for flights of paid employees, postdocs, ATP, professors and PhD-aspirants on the occasion of:
- Conferences, workshops, symposia, lectures, …
- Sampling campaigns and field trips
This also includes the incoming and outgoing flights of invited guests, that were invited for lectures or cooperation talks.
Other research groups at University of Antwerp and beyond already indicated their interest to join the initiative. Interested people can always contact the GCE. Within the department of Biology, we have used the momentum to discuss the sustainability of the operation of the whole department. On January 27th , members form the different biology research groups will join for a first workgroup on sustainability.