Chicken or beef? Just imagine not exposing yourself to dodgy airplane meals and lost luggage anymore? Nowadays there’s really little need to fly thousands of kilometeres for an one hour meeting. More and more businesses are starting to make use of virtual meetings to save money and to lighten their carbon footprint.
Ok, let’s start from the beginning. So what does the term carbon footprint actually mean?
Every human being has their own carbon footprint, whether you are an individual, part of a large corporation or a manufacturer of goods. Your daily activities and everything you do has an impact on the environment. Your carbon footprint is a measure of this impact and can be calculated based on your food, travel, purchases and how you deal with waste. (If you want to find out what yours is, use the Carbon Footprint Calculator)
There are many ways of reducing your carbon footprint and making sure you tread lightly every day. Conferences and meetings are just two of these.
Ask yourself whether it’s really necessary to attend the meeting or conference? According to Dave Rochlin of ClimatePath most events can generate more than a ton of CO2 per attendee. This includes air travel (about 90% of the carbon footprint), paper usage, conference material and catering. According to research done by ClimatePath a conference’s carbon footprint can be reduced by 90 percent by hosting the meeting virtually. One company, Manpower, avoided 400,000 pounds of CO2 emissions by holding its annual Global Leadership Team meeting virtually, which reduced air travel by one million miles!
Modern technologies such as video conferencing can help lower the carbon footprint of meetings. An initial investment in tele- and video-conferencing facilities will reduce the need for flights saving money, time and carbon emissions. But the installation of possibly expensive technology isn’t a necessity. A virtual meeting can easily be conducted via Skype within an hour – the same meeting in a different location would’ve been more costly and time-consuming as well.
If it’s not possible to conduct a meeting via video conferencing, some measures can still be taken to lessen the impact on the environment. Some handy hints on conferencing can be found on The National Conference Centre’s blog so next time you attend a conference, make sure you tread lightly.