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ILVO press release - Friday, September 14, 2018

Researchers at ILVO leave the airplane on the runway

The Week of Mobility (16 - 22 September) is coming! Numerous actions and initiatives then focus on our travel behavior and allow us to sample the alternatives, not only at home but also at work. ILVO researchers are already convinced. They are therefore taking on the challenge of making trips from abroad (to the extent possible) by train, and to not use a plane for trips less than 500km away.

ILVO, Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, is thus following the example of the Flemish Parliament and Ghent University. At the beginning of this summer, they announced that they would focus on (more) sustainable mobility and to drastically cut the number of plane trips. Although this measure has not been imposed on all Flemish institutions (including ILVO) they were immediately enthusiastic about it.

The directive goes into effect immediately, albeit on a voluntary basis. "We count on the commitment and common sense of our employees for the implementation," says Gerlinde De Vogeleer, energy coordinator at ILVO, "because every journey and every employee is unique. So the plane can still be taken if an alternative is not feasible." Commitment is the key, and this is clearly present among employees, especially since the measure can strongly affect CO2 emissions.

And the alternative? The train of course! Workshop in Leeuwarden? Congress in Oxford? Working visit in Frankfurt? Trains! And that will make a difference for the climate. A one-way ticket from Brussels to London, for example, delivers up to 111 kg of CO2 equivalents, while that for the same train journey is only 9 kg of CO2. "An effective measure, although we will have to trade in for speed and it will often cost a lot more. But in our research we see every day the hard figures on CO2 emissions and the effects of climate change. We want to make our contribution, right now," says Joris Relaes, administrator-general at ILVO.

In 2018, about a quarter of ILVO's foreign business trips were located within the 500km perimeter. These include Paris, Wageningen, IJmuiden, The Hague, London, Nijmegen, Rotterdam and Duisburg. Missions to these cities are perfectly achievable by train. "For some of the journeys, company cars remain necessary, for example during company visits on rural farms, or for fishing-related work in smaller ports. Our contribution will mainly lie in the deletion of fast but short flights to, for example, London, and in the promotion of the use of public transport and bikes.


Greet Riebbels, ILVO Communication,, +32 486 26 00 14
Gerlinde De Vogeleer, energiecoördinator ILVO,, +32 9 272 25 47