Published: 13-02-2023 11:53 | Updated: 23-02-2023 09:26

KI’s top climate culprits are purchasing and travel

Decorative image
Photo: Getty Images.

An audit of KI’s greenhouse gas emissions reveals that the greatest volumes come from the purchase of goods and official travel. KI is now upping its climate game in several areas.

Portrait of Karin Dahlman-Wright.
Karin Dahlman-Wright, professor at Karolinska Institutet. Photo: Gustav Mårtensson.

The Council for Environment and Sustainable Development has commissioned a climate audit for 2019 in order to obtain a comprehensive idea of KI’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

“We mean to sharpen our internal climate efforts and needed something to base our work on,” says Karin Dahlman-Wright, professor of molecular endocrinology at Karolinska Institutet and vice chair of the Council for Environment and Sustainable Development. “The results of the audit weren’t surprising in themselves, and confirmed the areas on which we need to focus.” 

Focus on three areas

The results of the climate audit reveal that the greatest emissions come from the purchase of goods (45 per cent) and official travel (25 per cent). These are followed by procured services (12 per cent), staff and other (12 per cent) and facilities (6 per cent). 

The coming efforts will now focus on these three areas: purchase of goods, travel, and food & catering. 

“We’re working with KI’s environment coordinator to look into how we can change our procurement processes to reduce the climate impact of purchases.” 

When it comes to travel, KI has been updating its guidelines for some time now and plans to have them in place this spring. They will include the importance of choosing rail over air for domestic travel and journeys to nearby places in Europe. 

“Air travel is a major source of emissions, and the guidelines will reflect this,” says Professor Dahlman-Wright. “Over the past few years, there’s been a significant shift over to train travel. When the only option is to fly, the best thing is to choose direct flights instead of connecting ones.”

The third focus area is food and catering, where one priority is to reduce the current level of food waste, especially after large events and conferences.  

National collaboration

The solutions are sought not only within KI but nationally as well. Some 38 academies are working together under the universities’ climate network to find ways of meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

“We’re very active here, and among the 13 key areas that we’re working with are issues of procurement, purchasing and travel.” 

The climate audit will be presented on KI Sustainability Day on 24 May. 

Do you have questions or suggestions regarding environmental work?

All employees and students are welcome to give suggestions on how to further reduce KI's carbon footprint. Contact