CRESTING Travel Policy

National and international travel represents a significant contribution to Europe’s carbon emissions and requires a large change in travel habits.  Whilst travel is an essential part of academic research, project members feel it is crucial for CRESTING to show leadership by acknowledging the role of project travel in increasing global carbon emissions, and engaging in action towards reducing these emissions.

Aim

The CRESTING travel policy aims to guide project members in their decision-making, encouraging a reduction in travel and providing guidance for selecting low-carbon travel options. In addition to the travel policy, the project has decided to record and measure all CRESTING project-related travel. This project consists of members from eight Universities in six different European countries, presenting challenges for the implementation of an overarching policy.  Therefore, information on the barriers faced by individual ESRs to select the desired low-carbon travel option will be recorded and utilised in later stages to inform recommendations for future EU funded research projects.

These actions are guided by the Mission Statement and Code of Conduct below:

Mission Statement:

Acknowledging the sustainability challenges (as expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs)) and in particular SDG 13 on the climate emergency;  we are committed to reducing and, if unavoidable, offsetting carbon emissions from project-related travel, in order to maintain the integrity of our sustainability research, while upholding the research and training goals of the Cresting ITN project.

Code of Conduct:

Reduce travelling and the footprint of travel in CRESTING-related events:

  1. Opt for online participation when possible and invite relevant guest speakers in the proximity of CRESTING events.
  2. Plan travel carefully and early: Try to combine travelling to several events or private vacation to minimise travel distances, as far as possible under the respective university administration. Aim to realise as much value as possible from travel experiences.
  3. Monitor and account for travel (justify): Record data on travelling in the travel emission calculator, and use the decision tree to record the decision pathway.
  4. Promote a low-carbon research culture internally and externally: Encourage low-carbon travelling options and online participation in the respective university and the CRESTING network. Lead by example to stimulate action for yourself and others.
  5. Offset carbon emissions as a last resort: After travel-related emissions have been reduced, offset unavoidable carbon emissions through a suitable offsetting scheme. In any case, aim for the mode of transport with the least emissions.

Concrete actions: Internal

The CRESTING Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) Kieran Campbell-Johnston, Katelin Opferkuch, Santiago Perez, Heather Rogers, and Anna Walker have created the CRESTING Taskforce on Emission Reduction to steer activities related to the travel policy.  As a first step, they have facilitated the creation of the Code of Conduct and the Mission Statement in a participatory workshop with all CRESTING ESRs.  The results of this workshop have now been endorsed by all members of the project, including the CRESTING Supervisory and Advisory Boards.

Besides the co-created mission statement and code of conduct, the task-force has also developed a decision tree, to aid and record the travel decision-making processes of project members.  The final tool to assess the impact of project-related travel is a travel emission calculator which has been developed by the task-force.  This tool records individual travel distances, modes of transport, travel time, funds spent, as well as the decision taken (based on the decision tree).  Barriers to taking the lowest-carbon option are also recorded for all project participants.

Through extensive data collection on current travel behaviours and choices, CRESTING intends to reduce overall travel, lower carbon emissions by resorting to other modes of transport, monitor unavoidable emissions, and offset project travel emissions where possible.

Concrete actions: External

The CRESTING Taskforce further aims to explore existing barriers to low-carbon travel options, and the mechanisms that might be needed to implement a net zero-carbon travel strategy for future EU Horizon2020 projects. Therefore, the taskforce will consolidate the collected data in a final report, outlining current barriers to low-carbon travel as well as the total amount of carbon produced by this Horizon2020 ITN.  In this way, the ESRs hope to stimulate a broader discussion on the travel-related emissions of European research projects.

Download the CRESTING Travel Policy

Download the CRESTING Decision Tree