New Zealand Universities Air Travel Consortium

The NZUATC is a network of academics within New Zealand universities. It was established in 2020 by Massey University to address current high carbon university mobility practices.

For example, long-haul economy air travel was Massey University’s biggest single source (22.6%) of carbon emissions in 2019.

On current projections, the 1.5°C target in the Paris Agreement is incompatible with conventional aviation continuing past 2050. Air travel forms a large proportion of the carbon footprint of many universities at a time when universities around the world have set emission reduction goals, including net zero targets. Frequent long-distance flying, however, is a well-established part of academic research and network building.

The NZUATC was formed as a collective voice to coordinate and advise on academic flying policies and practices.

List of members

  • Prof. Quentin Atkinson (Auckland)
  • Prof. Susanne Becken (Griffith)
  • Prof. Jan Evans-Freeman (Canterbury)
  • Dr. David Hall (AUT)
  • Prof. Bronwyn Hayward (Canterbury)
  • Prof. James Higham (Otago)
  • Prof. Lynda Johnston (Waikato)
  • Dr. Sal Lampkin- Chair (Massey)
  • Prof. Gillian Lewis (Auckland)
  • Dr. Simon McCallum (Victoria)
  • Dist. Prof. Robert McLachlan (Massey)
  • Dr. Brendan Moyle (Massey)
  • Dr. Sylvia Nissen (Lincoln)
  • Charlie Potter (Administrator, Massey)
  • Dr. Lin Roberts (Lincoln)
  • Prof. Tim Ryley (Griffith)
  • Hsueh-Yu Tseng (PhD Researcher, Otago)

Terms of reference

  1. To establish a network of academics from all eight universities to address current high carbon academic mobility practices in New Zealand. While most university travel arises from academic staff, this network will consider all university staff travel including senior managers, and those engaged in brand promotion, global engagement/student recruitment
    a. To advance networks, relationship building and coordinated collective action to reduce academic travel emissions on the part of all New Zealand universities
    b. To research current academic travel practices collaboratively, and responses to the impacts of COVID-19 on academic practices
    c. To explore opportunities for virtual substitution to reduce academic travel emissions by sharing lessons from running virtual conferences;

2. To work with institutional sustainability offices at New Zealand universities, to provide academic perspectives on mitigation measures. The activities of the network will extend to advising UNZ and hence, indirectly, the New Zealand government, and other relevant organisations
a. To offer advice on institutional policies that shape academic travel practices;
b. To seek to improve social justice and equity of access globally, building on the opportunity that the pandemic crisis (e.g., transition to virtual conferences and webinars) has provided
c. To consider what is happening overseas in particular in Australia, with a view to extending the network to include Australian universities.

To be reviewed April 2023.

Meeting Minutes

2022 planned meetings are:
– Tues 8 Feb
– Mon 4 April
– Tues 7 June
– August TBD
– October TBD
– December TBD
Meetings were held every 3 months in 2021.


Click on the button below to learn more:

NZUATC Research

Planning in progress.


Why universities are starting to re-evaluate their academics’ travel, Sal Lampkin and Robert McLachlan, The Conversation (2022)
A path to decolonization? Reducing air travel and resource consumption in higher education, Joseph Nevins, Stephen Allen, Matt Watson, Travel Behaviour and Society 26, 231-239 (2022)
Tseng, S.H.Y., Higham, J., Lee, C. (2022).
Academic Air Travel Cultures: A Framework for Reducing Academic Flying. In: Bjørkdahl, K., Franco Duharte, A.S. (eds) Academic Flying and the Means of Communication. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.
Higham, J., Hopkins, D., Orchiston, C. (2022).
Academic Aeromobility in the Global Periphery. Bjørkdahl, K., Franco Duharte, A.S. (eds) Academic Flying and the Means of Communication. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.


University air travel and greenhouse gas mitigation: An analysis of higher education climate policies, Anthony Schmidt (Jan 2021)
Changing scientific meetings for the better, Sarabipour, S., Khan, A., Seah, Y.F.S. et al. Nat Hum Behav 5, 296–300 (2021)
“Sustainable aviation fuel is the only way forward if we want to keep flying”, The Guardian 26 Feb 2021, Paul Callister and Robert McLachlan
Rethinking travel in a post-pandemic world, Josie Glausiusz, Nature 589, 155-157 (2021)
The carbon impact of flying to economics conferences: is flying more associated with more citations?, Konstantinos Chalvatzis & Peter L. Ormosi, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 40-67 (2021) 
Flying Less: Reducing Academia’s Carbon Footprint, a blog by Parke Wilde (Tufts) and Joseph Nevins (Vassar)
Hoolohan, C., McLachlan, C., Jones, C., Larkin, A., Birch, C., Mander, S., & Broderick, J. (2021). Responding to the climate emergency: how are UK universities establishing sustainable workplace routines for flying and food?. Climate Policy, 1-15.


2019 and earlier

Contact Information

Dr Sal Lampkin
Massey University
Turitea Campus
Palmerston North

+64 21589116

Tennyson’s vision of the future greets travellers arriving at Auckland International Airport. “Locksley Hall” was written in 1835 (not 1860 as stated) when the poet was 25 years old. His vision came true a century or so later, although with some unintended consequences.