Commitment to Travel Sustainability

Document purpose

To foster sustainable travel practices in support of the University’s carbon neutrality commitment.


July 1, 2020


May, 2024

Responsible Office

Procurement Services


Penn Sustainability


Recognizing the social, environmental, and financial impact to traveling, the alternative of avoiding travel should always be a consideration as individuals contemplate travel for University research, teaching, or business. When travel is determined to be a necessity, or it is determined that travel will provide sufficient value beyond the alternative of not traveling, travelers should consider best practices in sustainable travel.  These best practices include, but are not limited to, utilization of public transit services, sustainable car share programs, sustainable flight selection, and sustainable lodging choices.  Information about sustainable travel, including non-travel alternatives such as video conferencing, can be found on the Penn Travel & Expense Management website.

Air travel in particular is understood to be a major contributor to Penn’s overall carbon emissions.  Given the University’s commitment to carbon neutrality and recognizing that there will continue to be a level of air travel, Penn has established a pilot program – the Air Travel Carbon Offset Program – to offset the carbon impact of air travel.  Using Penn’s systems to collect air travel data, a carbon offset investment charge – the Climate Impact Offset or “CLIO” – will apply to University air travel and will be used to fund investments in verified initiatives to offset the carbon impact made by those travel estimates.  Penn Procurement Services and Penn Sustainability will facilitate this quarterly carbon offset investment charge at the School/Center level and will coordinate the accounting of the charge with School/Center business administration.

This Policy and Program are governed by a travel sustainability collaboration between Penn Sustainability, Penn Procurement Services, and participating faculty and staff that oversee the program and the purchase of carbon offsets.