Say NO to business travel, YES to videoconferencing

The next time you choose videoconferencing over flying to a business destination, don’t think of it as an act of lethargy. On the contrary, you are joining the fight against climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

A report released by the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project India), along with the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB), here on Thursday, has revealed that business travel contributes over 55.04 lakh tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalents (CO2e).

“Savings achieved through video-conferencing and telecommunicating with moderate ICT (Information and Communications technology) penetration in 2030 can offset greenhouse gas emissions more than 70 times the present emissions owing to annual air traffic between New Delhi and Mumbai,” the report quoted as an example.

The report ‘ICT sector’s role in climate change mitigation: An analysis of climate change performance and preparedness of global ICT companies’ analysed 320 ICT companies (10 from India) in over 35 countries in 2012-13. Companies which participated included Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Accenture, Google and Microsoft.

The study categorised emissions into: direct emissions, indirect emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam, and other indirect emissions such as fuel and transport (vehicles not owned or controlled by the company).

In the third category, use of sold products accounted for 56 per cent of emissions, followed by purchased goods and services (35 per cent). These were followed by sources that included business travel and employee commuting. The first two categories include data centres and provision of network and connectivity services as sources of emissions.

Interestingly, the first two categories account for a significant percentage of emissions in emerging economies, such as India, China and South Africa. In comparison, the third category of emissions is significant in the U.S., Japan, the U.K. and France.

Core business strategy

The report also said 81 per cent of 320 companies analysed have integrated climate change into core business strategy and over 40 per cent of the companies have managed to reduce their emissions. Bangalore-based companies have adopted different strategies. While Wipro has “consolidated operations in energy efficient locations and increased renewable shares of office consumption”, Infosys has set “voluntary goals to reduce energy and water consumption in daily operations”.

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