Responsible businesses big and small are making efforts to reduce their “carbon footprint” and become more environmentally conscious. These methods range from implementing a sustainable supply chain to encouraging group commuting or using public transportation. The planet will stay healthy a little longer if more businesses work toward being green.
One of the easiest and most effective ways that businesses can be eco-conscious is to hold more virtual meetings. Videoconferencing is literally saving the planet by reducing the harm done by the paper materials printed, gas fuel used, and other necessities of in-person meetings that impact on the environment. Here’s how virtual meetings are the most eco-friendly meetings possible.
Eliminates Paper Waste
Meetings can use up a lot of paper. Handouts and agendas are printed for every participant so they can read over materials, but later they’re often thrown away and never used again. Most paper is made from trees, and the increase in paper use means that paper production is contributing to deforestation. Paper mills also pollute the air and water by releasing high levels of carbon dioxide and other chemicals. Holding a virtual meeting saves paper and trees and cuts back on air and water pollution by eliminating the need to make printed copies of shared documents. All documents needed for the meeting can be shared on-screen.
Reduces Gas Consumption
Oil used to make petroleum gas is a precious resource that won’t be around forever. A recent report from BP shows that at current rates of extraction, available crude oil on Earth will last about another 50 years. That’s assuming that the same number of drivers is on the road throughout those decades, but that number will likely increase. The fewer cars on the road, the more gas is saved and the longer oil reserves will last. A virtual meeting allows all participants to stay in their homes or offices without having to travel and use up gas.
Keeps CO2 Emissions at Bay
Greenhouse gases like CO2 contribute to the deterioration of the ozone later, which in turn contributes to global warming. Globally, personal vehicles contribute to about 10 percent of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. That may not sound like a lot, but considering that the average car produces six tons of CO2 per year, it adds up to a significant impact. Virtual meetings can help curb the contribution of car emissions to overall greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. A recent study by telecommunications company GÉANT showed that when one group of employees held all of their meetings virtually, the team members reduced their overall greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 66 percent.
There are a lot of things that you can do personally to help the planet, like remembering to recycle and bringing your own bags to the grocery store. In the workplace, implementing videoconferencing is one of the best things you can do for the environment, and it’s incredibly simple to set up. Virtual meetings reduce all manner of activities that eat up resources or contribute to pollution. If you want to go to work feeling good about your carbon footprint (and your company’s carbon footprint), try meeting virtually more often – it conserves the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the Earth we live on.