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How can the number of international mobility opportunities be increased while reducing the resulting environmental footprint? By creating the handy “Greener Mobility best practices: Let’s get inspired!” document, the National Agency Movetia examine the issue of more environmentally-friendly mobility in the higher education sphere. The publication presents a number of “green” ideas to be developed at policy level, best practices to be adopted in higher education institutions throughout Switzerland and Europe and considerations to be taken into account by beneficiaries.
Ecological impact of international mobility
Within the field of education, international mobility is inextricably linked with the issue of sustainability, with air travel playing an integral role in trips abroad. At ETH Zurich, for example, “more than half the total greenhouse gas (GG) emissions produced […] are the result of business trips. More than 90% of these emissions are caused by air travel” (Althaus and Graf, 2019). Generally speaking, international flights leaving Switzerland account for 10% of the total national CO2 emissions (FOCA, 2020).
Initiatives in Switzerland
Several Swiss higher education institutions stand out as a result of foreign travel regulations which, while sometimes restrictive, are part of a clear policy supporting sustainable development. Be it at the ETH in Zurich, the universities of Geneva, Neuchâtel or Basel or Zurich University of the Arts, initiatives promoting greener mobility are setting the tone in terms of sustainable actions. Discover these best practices in the Movetia document.
Role of mobility stakeholders
“What form should more environmentally-friendly mobility and cooperation programmes take?” That is the question explored in the document published by Movetia. Different aspects can be developed so that international mobility can, little by little, become more environmentally-friendly while maintaining the growth objectives adopted in internationalisation strategies. To achieve this balance, it is essential to design mobility programmes encouraging the use of sustainable means of transport, to increase public awareness by means of initiatives, to collect and analyse information linked to mobility and to initiate the debate within the political sphere.