Ana is a Justmeans staff writer on Corporate Social Responsibility. She's founder of start-up Primal Echo, LLC, and principal of Arias Global Consulting. Primal Echo is an eco & socially-inspired Colorado trading company of gourmet specialty foods & artisan products from around the world that are locally sustainable & globally fair. Organic farmers, artisans & disadvantaged kiddo...
Want to Reduce Your Company's CO2 Emissions and Improve Organizational CSR? Telepresence 1, Business Tips 0
Large organizations in the US and UK that substitute car trips with telepresence can improve their CSR initiatives through the reduction of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by almost 5.5 metric tons, according to a study recently released that looked at large corporations that use telepresence technology.
Not only do those companies benefit from a reduction of GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) that's equivalent to plucking more than 1 million vehicles from the road yearly, but they can save nearly $19 billion by the year 2020.
"The Telepresence Revolution" study was commissioned by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and sponsored by AT&T. CDP is an independent non-profit that collects key climate change data from approximately 2,500 companies worldwide. It claims to have the largest database of corporate GHG emissions and climate change data in the world. CSR officials might want to take a peek at CDP.
"Companies that invest in carbon cutting technologies and re-engineer the way they do business will not only be better placed to succeed as we transition to a low-carbon economy," says CDP Chief Executive Officer Paul Dickinson, "but [they] experience considerable business benefits during this transition," he adds. "Telepresence is a good example of a low-carbon solution that can bring financial savings and increase productivity while reducing emissions." Carbon-offsetting strategies are a prevalent component of many CSR initiatives.
Independent analyst research firm Verdantix conducted interviews with 15 Global 500 companies that are early telepresence adopters. US Companies with yearly revenues of $1 billion+ were forecasted to reduce carbon emissions by nearly 4.6 million metric tons by 2020. That's about the equivalent of removing approximately 875,000 passenger cars from the road for a year. Among large UK businesses GHG reductions by 2020 were projected to reach 940,000 metric tons, or the equivalent of plucking 179,000 cars from the road also for a year. As a result of large companies replacing some business travel with telepresence by 2020, the savings for US companies could total $15 billion+ and nearly $4 billion for UK counterparts.
CSR and carbon-reducing initiatives at Accenture have included the expansion of over 50 telepresence rooms globally. They have saved the equivalent of 6,200 metric tons of CO2 from November 2007 through August 2009. According to a company representative, their bigger motivator is to travel 'smarter' as well as to maximize employee time. At Aviva, they compared traveling executives from the 9 months before the telepresence with the 9 months following the switch. Company officials noted a 25% reduction in their air travel footprint.
CSR officials would be interested in other key findings from the study. For example, for companies making $1+ billion in revenue that had four rooms with telepresence set ups, a ROI was realized after 15 months; close to 900 business trips were saved in the first years of employing the telepresence option; 2,271 metric tons of emissions were reduced over five years, or the GHG equivalent of pulling 434 passenger cars off the road for one year.