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Department of Geography

Air Miles

Air travel by academic staff is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions at GIUZ. Our aim is to quantify, address and reduce the amount of air travel at our department.

  • Air Miles Group of the Department of Geography

    We are extremely delighted that our work has been honoured with the UZH Team Effort Award 2023!

    Image: Ethan Welty

  • Air Miles Group of the Department of Geography

    We are extremely delighted that our work has been honoured with the UZH Team Effort Award 2023!

    Image: Ethan Welty

UZH Team Effort Award 2023

Christian Schwarzenegger, Vice President Faculty Affairs and Scientific Information, presented the Team Effort Award to the Airmiles Group of the UZH Department of Geography (GIUZ) for its initiative, which makes an important contribution to a more sustainable UZH. Ceremony as part of the Dies Academicus 2024, 27. April 2024, Campus Irchel.


With the Team Effort Award, the University of Zurich honours the Air Miles Group of the Department of Geography (GIUZ) for its pioneering role in reducing flight-related emissions at UZH. Air travel accounts for a large proportion of UZH's greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2017, countless hours of voluntary work have been spent at the GIUZ collecting, analysing and publishing the flight data of employees and guests on an annual basis. In 2020, the Air Miles Group used this data to set reduction targets for the GIUZ and developed strategies to achieve them, as well as an advisory service for members of the department. The Air Miles Group thus raised awareness of an issue that is also very important from a university-wide perspective. 

UZH Team Effort Award 2023

Dies Academicus 2024

Air Miles Timeline


Milestones in our air miles activities (GIUZ), those of the Faculty of Science (MNF) and the University of Zurich (UZH). Click on the hotspots to get more information.

The GIUZ Airmiles Report 2023

In 2023, total air travel at GIUZ remained almost the same as the year before, but lower than in pre-Covid years. Flight distances and emissions were almost exactly meeting the UZH target. The most frequent reasons for air travels were conferences / workshops and field trips / excursions. 


Scenarios for the future

How can we reach our air miles reduction goal? What do you think?

  • Can we already reach the target by avoiding short-distance flights in Europe?
  • Should we still fly to far-away destinations?
  • What about inviting fewer guests arriving by plane?
  • And which division at GIUZ has the best environmental footprint for air miles?

Have a look at the five scenarios in the slideshow below and find out!

  • Scenario 1: No ultra-long flights

    We reach the reduction target by reducing ultra-long flights (> 10,000 km one-way) by 90%.

  • Scenario 2: Train rides instead of short flights

    Trains are great, but they will not help us reach the reduction target. We still miss the target clearly by avoiding short flights to destinations that can be reached by train (<1,000 km).

  • Scenario 3: Visit European instead of non-European conferences

    We miss the reduction target slightly by visiting only-European conferences instead of conferences on other continents. The number of conferences and the number of flights is assumed to remain constant.

  • Scenario 4: Fewer guests arriving by plane

    If 90% of all guests at GIUZ arrived by other means of transport than by plane, we would reach the reduction target.

  • Scenario 5: Be like GIScience

    Currently, the GIScience division has the fewest air miles of all research divisions at GIUZ. If all other divisions had a similar travel behaviour, we would easily reach the reduction target. In fact, travelling like GIScience 75% of the time would be enough.

We want to learn about your ideas and scenarios to reduce air miles at the GIUZ! See us in the Air Miles Monitoring group and join the discussion!  Contact

Weiterführende Informationen

 Imagine we are in the year 2030 …

Imagine we are in the year 2030…

More about Imagine we are in the year 2030…

… and we have reached our goals and reduced our flight emissions to less than 53% compared to 2018. What concrete steps did we undertake? What support did we receive? Did it influence our research? 

air travel at GIUZ

Air travel at GIUZ: Preaching water – drinking wine?

More about Air travel at GIUZ: Preaching water – drinking wine?

We believe that we cannot go back to flying as usual if we are to remain credible as (climate) scientists.

Smarter than flying – Virtual conferences

Are you looking for ways to reduce flight-related greenhouse gas emissions in science? Virtual conferences have become more important in this regard.

air miles

Air miles monitoring & reduction @ GIUZ

GIUZ Sustainability Award 2020

First GIUZ Sustainability Award

More about First GIUZ Sustainability Award

To our secretariat staff for their compilation of air travel information for the years 2017, 2018, and 2019. Congratulations!

Our glaciers are melting. Glaciologist Michael Zemp believes that a reduction in air travel among the scientific community is inevitable.