CAP 2030 Targets and Actions: Business Air Travel

Business air travel undertaken by UBC faculty & staff to attend academic and professional conferences account for 17,500 tCO2e/yr.
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By 2030, reduce business air travel emissions by 50% from 2019 pre-COVID-19 levels.


Business air travel is a significant source of extended impact emissions. Much of this travel is undertaken by UBC faculty and staff to attend academic and professional conferences. By leveraging the availability of better communication technology solutions, greater social awareness, and recent learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, air travel and associated emissions can be reduced while providing an opportunity to maintain or improve UBC’s education and research objectives, and is a key opportunity to increase access to educational opportunities for students and departments lacking means for engaging in extensive travel. This acknowledges the dependence upon air travel for researchers to carry out certain types of research and scholarly projects. Generally speaking the UBC Okanagan Campus often bears a somewhat disproportionate amount of “UBC system” travel. Identification and removal of barriers to choosing travel alternatives will be integral to shifting cultural norms, while ensuring an equitable approach.

  • Initiate a Sustainable Travel Program to develop behavioural change programming and awareness campaigns that shift behavior and create awareness around travel impacts and the increasing number of virtual alternatives available.
  • Implement a study across both campuses to understand inter-campus air travel patterns, barriers and opportunities to reduce inter air-travel emissions. This action will enable UBC to better understand travel between the two campuses and how our travel behaviours should ideally shift as we start to emerge from COVID-19 travel restrictions.
  • Track and report GHG emissions and other key parameters for all UBC business air travel.
  • Lead a coordinated approach to reduce air travel across the University ecosystem by leveraging UBC’s leadership role across peer networks.

Take Action Now

UBC is actively expanding its Sustainable Travel Program to address business air travel emissions, and forthcoming support, resources, and initiatives will be developed and shared with the UBC community, along with increased opportunities for involvement. In the meantime, view our recommendations for choosing lower carbon travel methods or going virtual where possible to reduce emissions from both business air travel and commuting.

Travel Sustainably