De nulmeting van de VUB-koolstofvoetafdruk geeft een overzicht van de klimaatimpact van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2016. Op basis van deze nulmeting wordt een ambitieuze visie en klimaatactieplan opgesteld.

Waarom Carbon Footprint?

De koolstofvoetafdruk meet de uitstoot van broeikasgassen, deze gassen worden uitgedrukt in CO2-equivalenten op basis van hun broeikaseffect. De som van de VUB-uitstoot van broeikasgassen is de koolstofvoetafdruk uitgedrukt in CO2e per jaar en geeft de klimaatimpact van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel weer.


De VUB-koolstofvoetafdruk in het jaar 2016 bedroeg 34.869 ton CO2e, wat overeenkomt met 2 ton CO2e per student. Dit is het equivalent van 125 miljoen autokilometers of de jaarlijkse koolstofvoetafdruk van 1600 gemiddelde Belgen. Het vereist 1,3 miljoen bomen om deze CO2-uitstoot te absorberen binnen één jaar.


Voor de berekening van de nulmeting werden alle VUB-activiteiten en -infrastructuur op campus Etterbeek en Jette in beschouwing genomen. Voor de gedetailleerde scope, impactcategoriën, dataverzameling en berekening kan u het volledige (Engelstalige) rapport raadplegen.

De 55% van de totale voetafdruk is vanwege personentransport (woon-werk, dienstreizen en studentenmobiliteit), 27% is afkomstig van direct energieverbruik (elektriciteit en verwarming) en 12% van kapitaalgoederen (infrastructuur, meubelen, wagens, ICT-apparatuur).

Uit vergelijking met andere Belgische universiteiten blijkt dat de totale pendelafstand afgelegd door VUB-studenten hoger is, maar de modal split is duurzamer (afstand met openbaar vervoer is 4x hoger dan afstand met de auto). Daartegenover is er ruimte voor verbetering om afval te sorteren aan de VUB ten opzichte van de andere universiteiten.


Interested in the calculation method of the carbon footprint? Curious in the scope and detailed results per impact category? More information on our footprint comparison with other universities and colleges? What are the different CO2 compensation strategies?

Full Report

ABC of the VUB travel policy

International flights by staff account for 13,6% of the total carbon footprint of the VUB. To combine the internationalisation with its climate ambitions, a new travel policy becomes essential. The Board of Directors recently gave the green light for the further development of this policy according to the ABC principle to tackle the impact of our international travelling:

A.void international travelling; B.ook an alternative; C.ompensate your CO2 emissions.

In 2013, 16% of the flights with known destination were within a radius of 750 km. One in three journeys to London were made by plane. It should therefore come as no surprise that the 2016 baseline measurement of the VUB Carbon Footprint showed that international flights by staff  account for 13,6% of our total of 34,869 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.

In recent years, several researchers have taken the initiative to reduce their CO2 footprint. These bottom-up initiatives showed that there is a demand for agreements at the level of the organisation. In November 2017, during a 'Sustainable Tuesday', the discussion on international travelling was opened and students and staff members together paved the way for a new travel policy. This process resulted in the approval of the ABC principle by the Academic Council on 21 January and the Board of Governors on 29 January 2019.



Flights are harmful to the environment because of the emission of greenhouse gasses. The VUB stimulates its staff to be selective when making business trips. Videoconferencing  and teleclassing are complementary alternatives to business trips. Travel-free courses, meetings and conferences allow us to save both money and time and spare the environment. The department Onderwijsinnovatie offers lectures to stimulate and facilitate distance/blended learning and the VUB is expanding the technological infrastructure at our campuses.


If travel time by train is less then 6 hours, the standard travel mode is the train. The VUB has drawn up a list of cities that are accessible from Brussel-Zuid in less than 6 hours by train. Air travel is  exceptionally allowed if there is an acceptable motivation and an agreement of the hierarchical superior. If travelling by train from Brussel-Zuid takes between 6 and 8 hours, travelling by train is strongly recommended. Therefor a city list is also available with designated destinations for journeys by train. The NMBS is expanding its offer for international rail traffic.


If avoidence is not feasible and the trip over land is too long, the CO2 emissions of your flights are compensated. If you compensate by making a financial contribution for a CO2 reduction project in a developing country, there will be a CO2 reduction in this project equal to the CO2 emitted by your travel.

Greentripper allows you to calculate and compensate your trip's carbon footprint. Greentripper gives you a solution to neutralize the CO2 impact of your travel. The proposed climate projects are Gold Standard or UNFCCC certified. Greentripper and CO2logic are verified by multiple organizations.


The Core Group Sustainability and Finance Department are preparing a framework agreement for the organisation of VUB-business trips. As soon as the framework contract enters into force, a run-in period is started. During the running-in period, flying to short destinations will still be possible, subject to an explicit request and motivation and compensation of flights are optional.

The contractors of the framework agreement take care of the bookings and form the link between employees of the VUB and the airlines, compensation platforms, international rail operators, visa offices, etc. They will ensure compliance with the travel policy for trips booked under the framework agreement. In this way, we will also achieve a real administrative simplification.

Contact the Core Group Sustainability on duurzaamheidsraad@vub.be for more information or to schedule an info session.