Internationalisation and Sustainability
Internationalisation and Sustainability
05.12.2019 | Motivated by the students' commitment to FridaysforFuture, a group of scientists is also active at the University of Oldenburg who call themselves Scientists4Future in order to strengthen the topic of climate protection at the UOL and thus also to make it more visible to the outside world.
Following the example of an initiative at the TU Berlin (and some other universities), they are asking the scientists at the University of Oldenburg to sign a voluntary commitment to refrain from short-haul flights. Even if short-haul flights do not make up the majority of business trips at the university, refraining from such flights is a good first step towards making a significant contribution to climate protection in this area.
Universities are particularly challenged in this field of action. International cooperation is indispensable for scientific work and is thus part of the self-image of universities with strong research capabilities. However, the associated travel is one of the most important institutional sources of greenhouse gases. By switching to climate-friendly means of transport and using virtual communication, we as researchers, lecturers and management and administrative staff can also contribute to reducing or limiting mobility-related greenhouse gas emissions.
The basic idea is to voluntarily renounce short-haul flights of up to 1,000 km by signing a self-commitment declaration.* Short-haul flights are particularly easy to replace with much more climate-friendly rail travel.
Initiated by the then Vice President for Internationalisation, Prof. Dr. Esther Ruigendijk, an event on the topic of internationalisation and sustainability was held on 05 December 2019 in the foyer of A14 (Haarentor Campus), where the impact of internationalisation on the environment and possible measures were discussed. The underlying questions were:
- What are the consequences of internationalisation for the environment?
- What can the university and each individual do to reduce CO2 emissions - for example, during business trips?
- What support can politics provide?
Speakers at the event were:
- Prof. Dr. Esther Ruigendijk (VP-N & FKIII)
- Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner (FK II)
- Prof. Dr. Hans Gerd Nothwang (FK VI)
- Prof. Dr. Joachim Peinke (FK V)
- Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gerlach (FK V)
Attention students: Both Erasmus+ and the University of Oldenburg promote green travel for a semester abroad. Travelling by bus, train or carpooling is supported with a grant of 100 euros and travelling by bicycle or on foot is supported with a grant of up to 350 euros . You can find all important information about the funding here.
Since autumn 2022, the University of Oldenburg has been participating as a satellite in the research project flying less of the ifeu Institute. The project addresses the issue of reducing air travel in the science sector and is funded by the National Climate Protection Initiative. As a satellite in the project, the University of Oldenburg participates in workshops and surveys and can in turn draw on the project's information and communication material as well as expert advice.
Participation as a satellite therefore supports the work on this topic at the University of Oldenburg and the implementation of the climate protection concept.
From 2017 to 2019, a significant reduction in emissions from business travel was achieved.
For example, CO2 emissions from business trips by private car were reduced by 18.71%. This can be explained, among other things, by the fact that trips of more than 1,000 km were made less frequently. For example, business trips of more than 1,000 km accounted for 134,692 km in 2016. This figure was no longer even half as high in 2019, at 60,465 km. As a result, 74,227 km have been saved, which corresponds to emissions of 10.92 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. In the car category, emissions from Cambio CarSharing should still be considered. These have risen steadily from 2014 until reaching a peak of 10.68 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2017. After that, there was a significant decrease in emissions from 2017 to 2019 of 50.73%. One reason for this is that the cooperation between the AStA and Cambio CarSharing ended in 2019, resulting in fewer trips being booked with Cambio CarSharing through the university.
The emissions caused by journeys with Deutsche Bahn play the smallest role in relation to the individual vehicle categories, as according to Deutsche Bahn, emissions are only produced in local transport, while long-distance transport is operated exclusively with green electricity.
By far the largest share of emissions results from business trips by air. In 2019, 2.45 business trips were made per employee. At the same time, the average number of flights per employee:in fell from 0.37 flights in 2017 to 0.30 in 2019.