To offset the carbon footprint left by frequent air travel, the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business is investing in carbon offset projects to go carbon neutral.
Gustavson believes it is the first business school in the world to do so.
In its 2016 carbon report, the business school found the employee and student-related international travel and commuting accounted for 82 per cent of overall greenhouse gas emissions.
More than 90 per cent of the business school’s students and staff travel abroad each year.
Gustavson is investing in five carbon offset projects, with two in B.C. and one each in Uganda, Honduras and Thailand.
By investing in the five projects, Gustavson says it is reducing or removing the same amount of greenhouse gas produced by the school’s travel.
“Offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions of our travel is a way that we’re enacting our school’s values of sustainability and broader purpose while maintaining our focus on international education and experience,” Gustavson Dean Saul Klein said.
“It’s important and timely to demonstrate leadership to our students and to the world; if our actions have a negative impact, we have a duty to do something about it.”
The projects include the Great Bear Forest Carbon Project, which supports the management of the Great Bear Rainforest to sustain biodiversity and create jobs for Indigenous communities.
The business school is also investing in the Quadra Island Forestland Conservation Project to bring down greenhouse emissions and protect environmental and cultural features specific to Quadra Island.
UVic is getting involved with a wastewater treatment project in Thailand that will reduce fossil fuels by 4,700 litres a day by capturing methane at a starch manufacturing plant and converting it to heat for the starch-drying process.
Gustavson is also working on a chlorine dispenser project in eastern Uganda to provide clean drinking water in rural communities, removing the need to boil water with wood burned fire.
Another project involves cooking stove distribution in Honduras that are 50 per cent more efficient than traditional wood-burning open fires.