The University of Guelph’s Centre for International Programs (CIP) is investing in new initiatives to help offset and reduce carbon emissions, a move that is critical for the future of the environment and the viability of study abroad, said Dr. Lynne Mitchell, director of the Centre for International Programs.

Through a collaboration with PlanetAir, a non-profit leader in the fight against climate change, U of G students, faculty and staff can now offset their carbon emissions from travel by purchasing gold-standard carbon offsets. These offsets contribute to environmental sustainability projects and lead to verified climate benefits.

CIP’s efforts build on its commitment to invest in sustainable solutions to achieve carbon-neutral study abroad by 2025. This aligns with one of the United Nations goals for sustainable development on climate action.

Air travel to send students abroad ‘major contributor’ to global climate crisis

“I’ve been sending students on international experiences for almost 30 years, and we know how much it can positively impact students’ lives and academic careers, but we now also know how it impacts the planet,” said Mitchell.

Dr. Lynne Mitchell sits in a chair wearing glasses and a maroon shirt.
Dr. Lynne Mitchell

The air travel required for students to participate in study-abroad opportunities is a major contributor to the global climate crisis, she said. “We can’t keep putting students on planes without a second thought.”

CIP and PlanetAir are encouraging some friendly competition in the process, creating codes to track offsets for faculty, students, staff and alumni to see who can offset the most carbon over the next year. Students can also enter a draw for environmentally friendly prize packs.

The theme of sustainability also extends into the programs offered by CIP. For example, two of this year’s field school offerings focus on sustainable livelihoods in Ecuador and sustainable tourism in Mexico.

CIP is also expanding virtual exchange opportunities, eliminating the need for air travel, and 40 of U of G’s study-abroad partner institutions have expressed interest in collaborating on more sustainable future for study abroad.

“We are encouraging U of G students, staff, faculty and alumni to offset their carbon emissions,” said Mike Lafleur, CIP education abroad adviser. “Even if you can only afford to offset a portion of your emissions, your contributions combined with others will make a difference for these projects and our environment.”

To purchase carbon offsets through PlanetAir, click the link.

Promo codes are as follows:

  • UOG-UGSTUDENT – Undergraduate students
  • UOG-GRADSTUDENT – Grad students
  • UOG-FACULTY – Faculty
  • UOG-STAFF – Staff
  • UOG-ALUMNI – Alumni


Lynne Mitchell