HKS faculty and staff air travel contributes greenhouse gas emissions equal to running our campus buildings. 

Travel helps us achieve our research, academic activities, and mission. But because air travel has a large environmental impact, we should make smart travel choices. 

Why fly less? 

  • No one large action will fix the environmental harm of air travel. But many small actions add up to powerful change. Flying less goes a long way. 
  • Can you attend that conference remotely? Consider flying for research, teaching, and in-person meetings only when necessary. You may find you are more relaxed and your quality of life is improved by less travel! 

Tips for flying less

  • Prioritize. Think through which meetings and events need an in-person connection and which can be done virtually. 
  • Consider using a virtual meeting platform such as Zoom or Teams when you can. 
  • Invite guests to participate in HKS events virtually

By taking fewer plane trips, we can reduce our greenhouse gas footprint, which is one of the largest contributors to our environmental impact on campus.

How can you fly better? 

  • “Flying better” means making smart choices about how and when to fly and taking small steps to lesson your environmental impact. 
  • Combine trips when you can.  
  • Take direct flights. Direct flights produce fewer emissions than indirect flights, so fewer flights make a difference.
  • Take the train or bus for short trips. 
  • Fly economy. First and business class seats take up more space and have a larger environmental impact.  
  • Pack less. Lighter luggage means a lighter load on the plane and less jet fuel use. 
  • Research airlines and aircraft. Some newer planes and certain airlines use more efficient biofuels. 
  • Use your Harvard credit card to purchase travel. This helps us track HKS air travel and understand how to offset our carbon and greenhouse gas damages.  
  • Ask event attendees if they would be willing to purchase carbon offsets for travel to campus.  

HKS commits to carbon offsets for travel

Beginning FY23, HKS will purchase trusted, high-quality offsets to mitigate the environmental, climate, and health damages when air travel is purchased with HKS funds.   

We are developing mechanisms to charge the offset costs to the activity requiring air travel (as best we can) to help raise awareness and drive behavior change.