Policy Recommendations for Conference & Business Travelling

Stay Grounded Initative

Stay Grounded Policy Guide – A Guide to a Climate Friendly Travel Policy. More information about the Stay Grounded Initative can be found here

European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) Colloquium [1]

Recommendation 1: Travel less and harness technology

§  Harnessing technology: Prioritizing travel-free meetings and video conferencing over physical travel and, when travel is needed, preferring collective forms of ground transportation (see recommendation 2)

  • Offering blended sub-themes for upcoming EGOS meetings (committing to offer XX% of participants to participate via video-conferencing – especially those from overseas)
  • Offering blended pre-workshops for upcoming EGOS meetings (committing to offer XX% of participants to participate via video-conferencing – especially those from overseas)

Recommendation 2: Opt-in for sustainable travel

§  In Europe: Choose collective ground transportation for travelling to EGOS

  • Preferring train transportation within all destinations < 10 hours travel time, or longer if you have a direct day or night train option (soft version) [2]
  • Preferring ground transportation within Europe in general (strict version) – we experienced for instance Edinburgh –> Köln (12 hours) Köln -> Vienna (night) as easy[3]
  • Appointing “train champions” in the main city hubs who coordinate travel groups and may organize pre-conference meetings  
  • Scholars sign and organizers promote #EGOSbyTrain Pledge

§  From Overseas: Choose to renounce short-haul flights in Europe for travelling to EGOS

  • Carbon intensity for short haul air travel is disproportionally higher because of the greater portion of emissions generated during take-off and landing
  •  Faculty who travels from abroad/overseas commits to travel the last distance from the airport to the final destination by train (e.g. EGOS 2020 – from e.g. Frankfurt/Paris/London/Zürich (main hub) to Hamburg (final destination)). Further recommendations for long distance air travel:
  • Choose to fly direct: choosing direct flights or flights with fewer connections is often more sustainable than multiple take-offs and landings.
  • Choose economy class: business class seats have a greater share of weight per person and as such contribute to an increased fuel consumption and emissions

§  Choose active transit during the conference: Promote biking (cooperation with city bikes?) and walking options as main within-city transport during the conference to reduce air pollution, improve health through physical activity and offer affordable and accessible options.

Recommendation 3: Spread the word, collaborate and challenge the default flight-mode (conference board)

§  Spread the word:

  • Start conversations about sustainable travel habits
  • Share stories via social media – Be a role model in engaged actions 

§  Collaboration with other events:

  • Consider central, easy by train reachable places for conferences 
  • Consider “hub-and-node” event design – local European events (i.e. PROS; summer schools etc.) held in close tandem with larger central events (i.e. EGOS) to build local networks that consider travelling by train together (e.g. from PROS to EGOS…)

§  Challenge default-flight mode:

  • Put ground transportation (especially train transportation) as primary mode of travelling (e.g. signaling through recommending trains as first option)[4]
  • Check Tyndall Centre’s for Climate Change Research decision tree below

Conference general improvement ideas:

§  Water bottles and Coffee mugs 

§  No plastic cups or 100% decomposable cups

§  No one-way lunch packages

§  Vegetarian/vegan catering

Points to consider when making conference travel decisions (Tyndall Centre):


[1]Based on our own experiences and inspired by existing policies, especially Tyndall CenterCBS,Ghent UniversityETH ZurichMcGill University.

[2]University policies range between 6 and 12 hours. The Tyndall center suggests 12 hours (see also Note 3)

[3]A suggestion: for the day trip plan to finish one of your papers; when you arrive at destination you will have done a lot of work but regret not having more time – a couple of hours more would have helped! 

[4]There are some specialized train tickets providers like https://www.thetrainline.com/or Ruefa for Austria. Important information on train travel at https://www.seat61.com

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