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Penn's Work on Air Travel Offsets Selected as Finalist for the International Green Gown Awards

May 12, 2022
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Airplane Photo

The University of Pennsylvania has been selected as a finalist for the 2022 International Green Gown Awards for Creating Impact for its work in offsetting air emissions. The International Green Gown Awards are supported by UN Environment and seek to recognize exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by the world's universities and colleges.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Travel Sustainability Working Group was developed to identify and communicate near- and long-term solutions to promote reduction and overall containment of air travel and assess and identify carbon offsetting strategies to address remaining travel that is a necessity of one’s work.

  • Air travel booked for Penn’s faculty, staff, and students through the University represents approximately 10% of Penn’s carbon footprint.
  • As of July 2021, a Climate Impact Offset charge (CLIO) will be applied to all Penn business travel.
  • This new program formalizes the University’s commitment to sustainable travel and is in alignment with Penn Compact 2022 and Penn’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0.
  • The fees are collected from each school and center into a travel sustainability fund that will be used to purchase verified offsets.
  • Where possible, Penn is exploring local carbon offset projects to further the impact of the fund and live up to Penn’s vision for impact, innovation, and inclusion.

As a potential next step for these offset funds, Penn is exploring local carbon offset projects to offset its air travel and is developing a partnership with the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) to provide solar power to Philadelphia schools to offset Penn’s air travel while engaging our community though education and research.  The winners of the International Green Gown Awards will be announced on July 6, 2022 as part of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Other finalists in the Creating Impact category represent universities from Malaysia, Australia, India, Mexico, and Pakistan. To learn more, visit the IGGA website.

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