Lancaster University employee cycling to Netherlands to raise awareness of low carbon business travel

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A member of staff from Lancaster University Management School is raising awareness of the carbon emissions linked to business travel by tackling a mammoth commute to the Netherlands this weekend – on his bike.

Adam Mitchell, marketing manager for Lancaster University Management School, decided to undertake the 390 mile cycling challenge after assessing the carbon emissions of his business journey to Breukelen in the Netherlands by different modes of transport.

Cycling and using the ferry presented the most environmentally-friendly option – which will save the equivalent of 182.8kg CO2 when compared with travelling by plane.

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Adam will cycle from Lancaster University Management School, travelling east across England to the coastal city of Hull.

Adam Mitchell with his bike.Adam Mitchell with his bike.
Adam Mitchell with his bike.

From there, he will catch the overnight ferry to Rotterdam before riding to Breukelen, near Utrecht, to visit Nyenrode Business Universiteit where he will share his experiences at the European Foundation for Management Development conference at Nyenrode University.

He hopes this may encourage others to think differently when making their own travel decisions.

Adam said: “I’m looking forward to the journey. While I totally appreciate that for most people this particular journey would be unfeasible, the culminative effect of hundreds of staff deciding to leave their cars behind and commute even one mile in a more environmentally-friendly way, would be huge - far greater than this single trip!

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"So, I hope this will raise awareness of green travel for work and that I’ll discover, first-hand, some of the practical challenges that may arise with a journey of this length that I can report back to the Pentland Centre, our research centre dedicated to improving sustainability in business.

“As a university, we are committed to becoming more sustainable, and as an employee that means thinking more carefully about travel and the environmental impact of our decisions. Simply researching the journey was eye-opening – I was shocked to learn that driving from Lancaster to Manchester Airport alone would release around 26kg CO2 equivalent – more than the cycle-ferry option in total.

"By sharing my experiences with peers from all over the world at the conference, I hope it will help others reflect on their own future travel options.”

As a keen cyclist, Adam is looking forward to the physical challenge of covering the 390 miles – but has never had to carry his own luggage before!

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Prof Claire Leitch, Dean of Lancaster University Management School, said: “We are all behind Adam on this journey, and while cycling to the Netherlands won’t be a practical option for the majority, we are so impressed by his dedication to test out alternative travel options and raise awareness of these important issues.

“Our university announced its commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2035 and this is a pledge that we take seriously.

"So, while many international events are now taking place online or in hybrid form, if staff are due to travel they we have issued them with sustainable travel guidance so they can learn more about options available, and how they can help to reduce our carbon footprint.”