• 16 januari

Adjusted travel arrangements Fontys: 'The most sustainable trip is not traveling'

Edwin Nugteren and Eva Buijsman. 'It's not like we're going to ban employees from traveling internationally.'

From the summer of 2024, the modified Travel Regulations Abroad will go into effect at Fontys. The goal? Getting Fontys employees to be more aware and greener when traveling internationally, in order to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. What does that mean in practice?

Speaking: Gerrit van Heusden (external sustainability advisor), Edwin Nugteren (business operations manager Finance & Procurement Department) and Eva Buijsman (consultant Team Internationalization).

In 2022, Fontys employees traveled a total of 4.2 million international kilometers. That is ten times (!) from the earth to the moon and back. In the new International Travel Regulations, employees will find new agreements on international travel. The regulation does not come out of the blue. The Mobility Agenda stipulates that Fontys wants to reduce CO2 emissions by 3.7 percent annually.

'It is not that we are going to prohibit employees from traveling internationally,' Gerrit emphasizes. 'Fontys is increasingly embedding internationalization in its courses and its research. This of course often includes international travel. But how can you do that as sustainably as possible? That's what the regulation answers.'

An example of such a "travel rule"? Gerrit: 'For European destinations, there will be more and more train travel in the future. Travelling to Paris or London, for example, is perfectly possible by train, he says. Our international train network is good and will probably only improve in the coming years. That means we will be flying less.

Making trade-offs

But the scheme is about more than just the trade-off between train and plane. Eva works for the Internationalization Team. According to her, the topic of sustainability is not really alive there yet, even though a lot of international travel takes place within the internationalization network. She is therefore designing a "conversation starter" to raise awareness.

It contains all kinds of questions. Does this trip really have to be made? After all, the most sustainable trip is not traveling. Is it necessary anyway: what is the payoff? Is traveling the only way to get that return? And if you go, with how many colleagues?' This so-called consideration framework is a tool to have the conversation with a team or department. After introduction of the travel arrangement, this consideration framework will be used Fontys-wide.

New travel contract

In 2023, the total cost of international travel by Fontys employees was over 1 million euros. For example, they visited a congress or university abroad. Edwin: 'Reducing the carbon footprint is the main reason for the new travel policy, but of course it also has financial benefits. If we fly less, we save money, which we can then spend on other things, such as improving the quality of education.'

Around the summer of 2024, the tender for a travel agent will be completed. 'Then there will be a new travel contract that incorporates the sustainable travel rules. Our motto is Fontys for Society; as far as I'm concerned, the new travel rules fit in perfectly with that. Hopefully everyone will set a good example within their own Institute or Service.'

Author: TextVast