Developing greener mobility

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, Movetia wanted to examine the issue of more environmentally-friendly mobility in the higher education sphere. This 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.

Sustainability has become a key concern for states, institutions, businesses and the population in general. How can greener consumption be ensured? How can CO2 emissions be reduced in a world where consumer opportunities have never been so diverse? These questions are also raised in higher education institutions which organise numerous visits abroad for their teaching staff, not to mention the international mobility opportunities available through different programmes. Some 9,010 mobility visits, for example, were organised for students and staff members between Switzerland and Europe in 2018/19 as part of the Swiss-European Mobility Programme, SEMP.

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” ( 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.

Anyone who has been awarded a grant to travel abroad can also contribute to a greener mobility. Discover all the advice provided by Movetia in its document.