YAS Sustainable Business Travel Pledge

Join us in committing to reducing the environmental impact of our work-related travel!

The YAS Sustainable Business Travel Pledge is for individuals whose professional roles have traditionally involved significant amounts of long-distance travel, and where final decisions about when and where to travel are often made by the individual rather than the employer. In particular, this applies to many individuals working in academia and other research organisations. While employers and funding bodies have a crucial role to play in reducing the environmental impact of business travel in these sectors, this pledge focuses on actions that can be taken at an individual level to address this issue. In recognition of the wide range of individual circumstances we have avoided quantitative prescriptions about reduction in business travel; the goal instead is to shift the emphasis of discussions around the need to travel.  We welcome comments on the pledge and will review and update the wording annually in order to incorporate feedback from colleagues around the world.

The Young Academy of Scotland supports the Sustainable Business Travel Pledge and it is committed to reduce the environmental impacts of its activities and offset the carbon footprint of any related travel. YAS will also support its membership in the development of carbon-neutral projects and activities that will support the aim of making Scotland Carbon Neutral by 2040.

YAS Sustainable Business Travel Pledge

By signing the pledge, I am joining a community of environmentally conscious professionals who are committed to the following actions.

As individuals:

  • When contemplating air travel for professional purposes, we will use a justification tool like this.
  • Year by year, we will track and reduce the environmental footprint associated with our business travel.
  • When we travel, we will ensure that we obtain maximum value from the trip, for example by combining multiple work-related activities within the same or nearby locations.

As event organisers:

  • We will make an effort to facilitate meaningful remote participation, for example by seeking funding for alternative technologies.
  • We will actively seek opportunities to arrange local meetings and to provide regional hubs to support/enhance remote participation in international events.

As leaders and advocates:

  • We will recognise and promote the diversity of ways in which successful ‘networking’ can happen aside from social encounters at large international conferences – such as email exchanges, video conference calls, social media interaction, and smaller face-to-face meetings – and support those we mentor, supervise and manage to build professional connections effectively and sustainably.
  • We will not use international travel or international mobility in careers as a measure of assessing international standing or research excellence in recruitment / promotion / reviewing of grant applications. Where possible, we will use positions of influence to argue against doing so.
  • When managing budgets, we will expect justification of the need for travel with high environmental impact.
  • We will use positions of influence to encourage institutions and funders to adopt flexible approaches to travel, e.g. allowing researchers to pool funds from different grants in order to combine work for several projects into a single trip, or permitting a higher spend for lower-emission travel options.
  • We will lead by example in our own travel planning; by encouraging consideration of environmental issues in any collaborative travel/conference/grant application planning; and by including a discussion of sustainability issues related to travel funds requested in grant applications.

To sign the pledge, please use the form below.

YAS Sustainable Business Travel Pledge

19 signatures

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Learn more about our COP26 work

This pledge is one of many YAS initiatives around the climate change crisis.  To learn more about our members work in this area, visit our COP26 page.

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