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Fitzwilliam College launches carbon offset programme

Fitzwilliam College has announced an innovative programme that will offset the carbon emissions stemming from all Fitzwilliam-supported travel.

The College’s Environmental Committee has had a new policy approved to use Cool Effect, a non-profit organisation with a 13-year track record in carbon offsetting.

Fellow Dr Rogier Kievit said: “We recognise the considerable value that comes from Fitzwilliam students travelling all over the world to interact, engage and enrich their learning experience. At the same time, we consider it important to recognise the environmental costs of these activities. To this end, we have proposed this new initiative, which will carbon offset the costs associated with air travel, and move forward the discussion on climate change.

“Cool Effect is fully transparent in its methodology and reporting – a recent review* suggests it has particularly high likelihood of reliable carbon reduction through a range of projects. It works with a number of established organisations in science, technology, and the environment and donates more than 90% of funds to sponsored projects. All of the projects that it runs has extensive documentation in terms of monitoring, validation and verification.”

Andrew Powell, Fitzwilliam Fellow and Bursar, added: “This is a further step towards the College’s mission commitment to balance the needs of present and future generations, and so ensure long-term sustainability. We hope that this initiative might inspire others to follow suit.”

The following will be covered by the new policy:

  • Travel by undergraduates supported in part or completely by a College travel grant
  • Travel by postgraduates supported in part or completely by a College travel grant
  • Travel abroad by Fellows, when directly supported, in part or fully, Cy college funds (e.g. by using their research allowance)
  • Travel abroad by the College senior leadership (Master, Bursar, Development Director and Senior Tutor) on behalf of the College.

Rogier said: “We recognise the responsibility of the College to demonstrate leadership in facing global environmental challenges. This includes creating more awareness about the costs of travel, the encouragement of more carbon-friendly alternatives, such as other forms of travel as well as e-conferencing solutions, and the expansion of the conversation on climate change to everyday College matters. Of course, this is only one part of a much wider discussion on environmental issues that Fitzwilliam is taking part in.”

He continued: “We are now able to offset the climate impacts of travel, but we’re doing it in a way that will benefit important projects – from funding fuel-efficient cooking stoves in Peru to saving rubber trees to reduce carbon and help indigenous communities in Brazil.”

*http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/papers/carbon-offsets.pdf

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