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MIT Sloan Student Travel Goes Carbon Conscious with Jetset Offset Program

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Over spring break, 100 MIT Sloan students will travel the world to study while immersing themselves in different cultures. It’s a wonderful opportunity with one problem. There’s a pretty significant carbon impact—300 metric tons of carbon dioxide to be exact. But now, a new Jetset Offset pilot program could help lessen that negative impact.

When we fly, we can’t choose the energy efficiency of our plane, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t travel. Instead, it means we should try to lessen our impact on the environment by purchasing carbon offsets, and that’s exactly what the Jetset Offset program does.

In its first year, the pilot program will purchase carbon offsets for four study tours over spring break 2018—three MBA groups and one Master of Finance group. The carbon offsets will take the form of projects that help with carbon emissions. Such projects include reforestation or building renewable energy sources.

According to Yakov Berenshteyn, a ‘19 Leaders for Global Operations Fellow and the creator of the Jetset Offset program, while the impact might not be immediate, it’s a step in the right direction. “This is raising awareness of, and starting to account for, our environmental impacts from student travel,” he said.

The idea for Jetset Offset came about after Berenshteyn realized how many air miles students and staff were logging. In January, for the two-week Leaders for Global Operations Domestic Plant Trek, MIT logged more than 400,000 miles. Berenshteyn couldn’t help but think that there needed to be a counterbalance to all the burned jet fuel. After talking to MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman, he realized that applying carbon offsets and carbon-neutral practices was the best way to make a difference. Duke University had already implemented such a program.

So, for the January trip, the Leaders for Global Operations program purchased 67 metric tons of offsets through Gold Standard, which will go toward reforestation efforts in Panama. For future MIT Sloan trips, the MIT Sloan Student Life Office will pick up the tab.

“Yakov’s idea is exactly the kind of student initiative we love to support,” said Katie Ferrari, associate director of student life. “He is practicing principled, innovative leadership with an eye toward improving the world.”

To read the full news release, visit the MIT Sloan Newsroom.

Kelly Vo
Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and topics related to personal development. She has been working in the MBA space for the past four years in research, interview, and writing roles.