Video Conferencing for the Environment – How You Can Go Green

Whenever someone mentions video conferencing and the benefits of it, they tend to talk about the cost savings and the improvement to efficiency. What many people don’t realise is implementing video conferencing in a business of any size can improve its green credentials. In other words, it helps to bring your company closer to that carbon neutral mark.

What do the Studies Say?

Of course, anyone can claim video conferencing is better for the environment. This is something which has become a subject of intensive study across the world by multiple organisations. Let’s take a look at some of the studies put forward.

An Australian study put forward by ClimateBiz states the national impact of video conferencing would be a reduction of 2.4 million metric tonnes of emissions.

A 2008 report from the Boston Consulting Group revealed American businesses could eliminate 500 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum. This would save about $170 billion.

The World Wildlife Fund has also weighed in on the issue. They state by 2030 the constant improvement of video conferencing facilities could reduce global emissions by a billion tonnes every year.

It’s important to mention many of these studies take into account the fact businesses are implementing green practices elsewhere. Nevertheless, it’s true video conferencing contributes significantly to the reduction of emissions.

How Does it Do This?

Now we know the results it’s necessary to find out why this trend has occurred. Let’s begin by taking a look at the purpose of video conferencing solutions. The main goal is to cut down on travel costs and bring people closer together in a business setting.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business or a huge enterprise, travel costs add up every year. With every trip you’re contributing to pollution and increasing amounts of greenhouse gas. Video conferencing removes the need for travel, and therefore removes greenhouse gas emissions.

British Telecom (BT) has done this with its staff meetings. According to BT, they have reduced their carbon emissions by 97,000 every year by using phone conferencing and video conferencing. This represents a reduction of 15% in their carbon emissions.

Does it Make Business Sense?

The problem with the environment in business is it has to make business sense to be worth implementing. One of the main reasons why so many environmentally positive actions aren’t taken is because a business would have to make a sacrifice. In these tough economic times, it’s not viable and it doesn’t make any business sense.

Video conferencing, however, does have the rare benefits of helping the environment and making the business sense. In this next section we will discuss some of the business benefits going green can give you.

Tell Everyone!

If you look at the biggest worldwide corporations and their advertising material, the environment always figures. This is because customers are becoming more aware of the wider world. They’re taking responsibility for their purchases by favouring green-conscious businesses over the bigger polluters.

As the effects of global warming continue to take hold, this will only become more prominent. And that means customers won’t just expect strong green credentials they’ll demand them.

By installing video conferencing facilities in your office, you’ll be able to use the reduction of your carbon footprint to promote yourself. Those customers who care deeply for the environment will be more likely to choose your company over another.

Tax Incentives

In some cases, going green can lead to tax breaks. There aren’t any directly related to video conferencing, but as it continues to grow in the business world this will appear as a viable method to achieve a tax break. You can track your emissions as a business and it’s possible to make savings on your bill at the end of the year by reducing your overall emissions.

Remote Working

Video conferencing doesn’t always have to involve the crystal clear HD quality you see as part of a solution from a company like Cisco or Polycom. The concept of video conferencing is remote working and being able to contact someone from anywhere.

A small or medium-sized enterprise can allow workers to operate from different locations and check in to a central office or regional base.

This makes business sense because it increases the flexibility of your business. Studies have also shown it increases morale by making connecting with clients more comfortable. For example, it’s always going to be less stressful if an employee can push a button and talk to a client, rather than fighting through rush-hour traffic to get to them.

Overall, whilst video conferencing can help your business to go green, it’s only a part of the process. If you’re truly concerned with the environment it’s necessary to go green by addressing the ways in which you do business. You have to examine everything from cleaning practices to the way your employees go about their work.