Responsible Travel

Reducing Travel-Related Emissions with Responsible Travel Choices

Preliminary data indicates that emissions associated with MIT’s Scope 3 business travel could be equivalent to 27 percent of MIT’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions in pre-pandemic years (FY2019) and 7 percent as travel began to recover in FY2022. Air travel can be a necessary part of fulfilling the mission of the Institute and one’s role at MIT, but there are many opportunities to limit, avoid, or improve travel choices. When air travel is unavoidable, the Air Travel Carbon Offset Program can offset emissions resulting from travel. Explore below to learn more about travel options to inform your next MIT-related travel decision. 

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Avoid Travel

  • Evaluate whether your trip is necessary. Traveling less is the most effective and cost-efficient way to reduce your travel-related greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Many meetings can be conducted virtually. MIT has Zoom Rooms for Community Use available through Atlas. 

  • Consider how many people need to attend an event or conference, especially if the only way to travel is by air. When fewer team members travel, find new ways to share knowledge and research.

  • Use Concur, MIT's online travel booking and expensing tool, to explore pricing between different modes of travel. 

Limit Travel

  • Bundle trips if you have multiple events and meetings to attend in the same region.

  • Choose to limit your travel to local events when possible.

Avoid Air Travel

  • Understand the emissions impact of your flight and consider alternatives.

  • If you need to travel, or there are clear benefits of traveling, choose less carbon-intensive modes of transportation. For regional trips consider train, carpool, or electric vehicles. For local travel, explore options like walking, biking, public transit, or taxi share.

Limit Travel Impact

  • Minimize car travel by choosing accommodations close to your event or conference. 

  • Avoid single-use plastics. Bring reusable water bottles and travel mugs, bags, and containers to reduce waste.

  • Support local businesses when traveling. Purchase locally-sourced products and support local economies to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation.

Offset Your Travel

  • Offset your carbon footprint. Today, travelers at the MIT Sloan School of Management, School of Architecture and Planning, and the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research are participating in the MIT Air Travel Carbon Offset Program pilot. Travelers in these areas can purchase carbon offsets for the emissions generated by MIT travel.

  • Following the pilot phase, this program will be offered to the entire MIT community.

  • Departments may consider establishing a mileage budget for each faculty and staff member and a tracking system to monitor. 


Remember, local trips add up. Explore how Access MIT supports low-carbon commutes.


Have questions about the program or want to learn more? Email