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Reducing Flights and Carbon Offsetting our International Dialogues

BASIC takes its responsibilities to environmental sustainability seriously. We see a direct relationship between the climate emergency and broader ecological crisis, and efforts to strengthen global security, and we therefore try to do what we can to keep our carbon emissions to an absolute minimum. 

We have recently updated our organisational Sustainability Policy – which you can read here – which contains a number of new commitments including: 

  • to mandate that all journeys of less than 8 hours are taken by rail or road, to cut our short-haul flights
  • to join overseas meetings virtually wherever we feel we can have the same impact or build equivalent trust online
  • to pursue carbon offset contributions from funders that require us to fly, in order to mitigate our carbon impacts

In March, we purchased our first set of carbon offsets (118.68 tons of carbon dioxide) to cover the travel during the Programme on Nuclear Responsibilities between August 2022 and March 2023. This has been made possible thanks to the support of the UK’s Counter Proliferation and Arms Control Centre, which allowed us to include carbon offsets in our budget. We calculated our offset by tabulating the journeys on a spreadsheet, using the online calculator, the Climate Impact Partners’ Carbon Footprint Calculator, and then purchasing a package with the B Corp, Climate Impact Partners

The process was quick and easy, and we expect that this will be the start of many such offsets. Carbon offsetting is far from the whole solution, but when flights are unavoidable it goes some limited way towards reducing their harm.

We’d like to offer words of encouragement to our friends and colleagues in other organisations in the security policy space who are thinking about doing the same. We’d also like to encourage funders in our community to update their funding guidelines, to inform potential applicants that they will look favourably on applications that make commitments to flight minimisation and carbon offsetting, or even to make it a direct condition of your funding. 

Finally, we would like to invite contact from funders and organisations interested in collectively brainstorming steps to reduce the carbon emissions of the policy community as a whole. Like all sectors, we have a responsibility to contribute to our global net zero target – and in particular, to address our heavy reliance on flying. Reach out to Sebastian Brixey-Williams on if you’d like to talk more about this.

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