Green technology made quite a buzz in recent years. That is, until the current slump in global oil dampened the volume of the conversation. Besides ringing alarm bells for environmentalists , plummeting oil prices are disincentivizing investment in eco-friendly tech companies. Experts and analysts note the cause and effect relationship between increased interest and investment in eco-friendly alternatives and waning demand for crude oil, creating the pricing dip we are now experiencing. But, as a result, the balance is now beginning to tilt in the opposite direction. As investors pull their dollars out of green technology, have eco-friendly solutions lost their relevance? Not when it comes to corporate social responsibility. The eco-friendly sector might not be considered as profitable as before, but it is still very much economically and socially relevant for companies to think about long-term green solutions. The bottom line is: sustainability is a factor that cannot be overstepped solely for the goal of short-term savings.
John Greene is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Advanced AV. Headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Advanced AV has evolved with the advancement of technology into a specialized integrator of professional audiovisual systems for business, education, government, and worship facilities, serving the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.
Sustainability in corporate collaboration: is it possible?
The same idea rings true in the case of enterprise collaboration technology. Let’s look at video conferencing as an example. Corporations have adopted video communication as a means to curb the escalating travel costs associated with meetings. In today’s world, given the dispersed nature of the workforce and business units, remote video meetings are being increasingly embraced as a preferred mode of collaboration. Not only do they curb travel expenses by reducing the number of trips taken, they provide a secondary benefit of reducing fuel consumption. Yet, despite this change in practice, people are still engaging in business travel in alarmingly growing numbers.
According to “The art of connecting global business” research, nearly 80% of business decision makers consider international expansion a necessity for growth and success, while many cite environmental regulations as key considerations. Market expansion forces executives to travel to new business units to ensure smooth transition and operation. Likewise, local employees are often required to travel to corporate headquarters for training. All of these factors add up to a sizeable travel expenditure for companies seeking to maintain a competitive edge. 2014 was labeled as “the year of business travel boom” and the trend continues this year,with work-related travel spending in the U.S. forecasted to increase an additional 6.2 per cent to an astounding $310.2 billion. Falling oil prices will likely support this trend, as lower fares make travel more cost-effective for executives and employees. But the price will be paid by the environment through increased carbon emissions and overuse of natural resources.
While video conferencing has gained popularity as an alternative to in-person meetings, the enterprise video conferencing market displays mixed growth, despite a number of studies that have proven gains in collaboration, productivity, cost-management, and sustainability through the use of this technology. In fact, one case study of such deployment by PA Consulting, a management, technology and innovation practice in the UK, demonstrates that the company saved approximately three tons of carbon and at least £16,000 in travelling costs by hosting virtual workshops between remote locations.
Video conferencing and other green communication technologies reduce a company’s energy consumption and carbon footprint allowing them to take care of the planet while they take care of business.
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