Ecological sustainability in our offices

Air travel

Air travel

Being an international network organisation, traveling by air has always been necessary for our operations. We are aware that this considerably increases our ecological footprint, and always try to use Teams or Zoom as much as possible, as well as combining as many assignments as possible in one trip.

The following principles guide our decisions as to whether airtravel is absolutely required or not:

  • Flying is the last resort. Rikolto staff should always look first for alternatives to travelling by plane.

  • When considering the options, look at distance, but also time. Sometimes travelling by car or public transport takes too long and can be exhausting. Travel time for staff should also be taken into account, as it might significantly reduce the time available for programme activities.

  • If you fly, you compensate. We always carbon offset the trips made by our staff. Non-staff are invited to do the same. Compensation will be invested into a specific Rikolto project aimed at climate change mitigation. Rikolto’s sustainability working group (one staff member from each office) decides on how the money is allocated.

In 2021, our air travels increased as compared to 2020, but airtravels were still lower than pre-COVID.

Our aim is to reduce travel by air to the absolute minimum. All staff are encouraged to combine activities in order to minimise the frequency of travel and maximise the time used for programme activities, and to use public transport when available and safe. The line managers monitor the implementation of this policy in assessing and approving travel requests.

Dewi Catur Utami Programme Manager in Indonesia

As in previous years, the number of flights is highest for Indonesia, due to the country’s geography limiting other travel possibilities. With the exception of Vietnam and the DR Congo, air flights have gone up again in our other regions but are still significantly lower than pre-covid. This is due to a combination of covid restrictions that remained in place in the course of 2021, and specifically in DR Congo also due to the drop in airfares because of the volcanic eruption and covid, which pushed some companies to stop their traffic for a long period. Additionally, ICT literacy and ICT infrastructure have improved among colleagues and partners, decreasing to a certain extent the need for flights.

For 2021, the total amount of 316,241 kg of CO2 equals a carbon compensation of €8,956. It was decided to pool this amount together with the carbon offsetting funds of 2020, i.e. €4,276, to be able to make a more meaningful investment. As such, the combined amount of €13,232 is invested into Rikolto’s Innovation Fund. The selection of the project funded with this amount will take place after the publication of the annual report and will be reported on next year.