Today, climate change is a serious concern and there is a great deal of emphasis being put on pollution, in particular. Companies can contribute towards a greener planet by adopting eco-friendly business solutions that not only help the environment, but also cut costs. In fact, simply changing the way we communicate and collaborate at work can have lasting effects on our climate. Videoconferencing, for example, is steadily gaining popularity in business for many reasons, such as the ability to have convenient, productive meetings, reduced travel costs, and better collaboration between remote teams. It has the added benefit of being a greener, more eco-friendly way to conduct business. Before discussing the ways videoconferencing is a green business initiative, first we need to see how carbon emissions affect the environment and climate change.
What are Carbon Emissions?
The release of CO2 in the atmosphere is called carbon emissions, and CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas that is emitted through human activities. The cumulative effect of our day to day actions result in what’s known as our “carbon footprint.” While CO2 emissions occur naturally, a significant increase in greenhouse gases is caused by our lifestyle, particularly when it comes to travel. Nearly 31 percent of the total CO2 emissions in the U.S. is due to burning fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel. It has been estimated that a single flight from New York to London leaves a bigger carbon footprint than the amount recommended for a person to generate in an entire year (when looking to mitigate climate change). Now, just think about the number of flights that take off and land every second of every day, all over the world. It’s a little unnerving when you think of it that way, isn’t it? There are even more startling facts and figures about the negative impacts of air travel on our climate in this article.
The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research reports there’s a desperate need to reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2050, if not sooner. Here’s another sobering statistic: It’s been reported that a mere 90 companies contribute to two-thirds of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Businesses need to embrace more eco-friendly practices if we want to see any changes in CO2 emissions and our overall climate. As mentioned above, one way companies can help curb climate change is through videoconferencing.
Videoconferencing—The Green Way to Communicate
Now that we understand the dangers of CO2 emissions and their effect on climate change, let’s explore the ways videoconferencing is not only an efficient, convenient, and cost-effective way to conduct meetings in today’s business landscape, it is a more climate-friendly method too.
Save fuel and cut pollution. By eliminating the need to travel, video meetings save time, money, and the environment. According to Webex, a team can cut 27.04 tons of carbon emission by choosing online training and 1.87 tons of CO2 is saved when an employee moves their sales presentation online. With more employees spread out across a larger geographic field, videoconferencing reduces the need to drive or fly to meetings with remote staff, business partners, and/or clients, greatly reducing pollution.
Cut down on paper and plastic. Meetings often involve handing out paper. We’ve all sat around the conference room as stacks of documents are distributed for an overview. Videoconferencing eliminates the need for hard copies by letting participants share information and files digitally. It makes retrieving documents and collaboration more convenient and seamless and cuts down on wasted paper. Plus, almost every meeting involves a round of bottled water, or takeout coffee. However, during a video meeting, people are more likely drink out of a glass or mug.
Less food wasted. Most conferences involve food and drinks and sometimes the attendees have entire meals. Often the leftover food just goes to waste. However, during a video meeting, people usually eat whatever food they brought with them and save any leftovers. Also, the convenience of videoconferencing allows participants to schedule meetings that don’t conflict with mealtimes.
Saves time and increases flexibility. Without the added burden of traveling to meetings, videoconferencing saves employees and the company valuable time. And we all know time is money. Employees are less stressed knowing they don’t have to drive or fly to attend training or conferences and more time can be devoted to other projects or family. As we mentioned before, there are many employees who are telecommuting or working in different locations. Video allows for a more flexible work environment and meetings are not constricted due to location or time zones.
There’s no doubt that how we conduct business is changing in the 21st century. Technology is making our day-to-day operations more flexible, efficient, and productive. Videoconferencing continues to grow in popularity for businesses because it allows an increasingly mobile workforce to collaborate and conduct meetings on the go. It also contributes to a company’s social conscience by being a greener choice. It reduces CO2 emissions by eliminating the need for travel and video collaboration produces much less waste than traditional meetings. Today, it’s not enough to measure success in only dollars and cents—organizations need to be mindful of their environmental impact, and take steps to decrease their carbon footprint.