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Reporting university business travel emissions

The University of Edinburgh’s Department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability (SRS) has developed an automated tool to help reduce the university’s carbon footprint. The Business Travel Report (BTR) has cut the time taken to analyse travel data from weeks to days.

The system analyses business travel of university staff by capturing details such as origin, destination, and mode of transport, generating a more accurate calculation of carbon emissions.

Previously, analysing over 100,000 annual journeys taken on behalf of the University took staff weeks to complete using standard spreadsheet software. The inclusion of an online, interactive graph also allows for greater transparency of business travel at the University to internal and external audiences.

The BTR continues to be developed by the Department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability, with scope to allow other institutions to use the BTR software for their business travel data, as well as displaying personalised carbon reporting for University Staff.

As the BTR system utilises data in a standard Excel format, it is possible for other institutions to input their own business travel data into a copy of this software to display their own carbon emissions. In doing so, this will assist in the understanding of the scale of business travel across the higher education sector, and will allow for more direct comparisons of emissions with other institutions in the UK and abroad.

This is especially pertinent as there is growing concern regarding the scale of carbon emissions from business travel across the higher education sector. The BTR software is available as an open-source package, and the SRS team is working to develop this into a standard install for other institutions to make utilisation of the report easier to implement.

This will assist in the understanding of the scale of business travel across the higher education sector, and will allow for more direct comparisons of emissions with other institutions in the UK and abroad