US and British businesses could save 5.5 million tons of greenhouse gas by using telepresence, according to a new survey.
They could also achieve total economy-wide financial benefits of almost $19 billion (€15.3 billion) by 2020, the study, commissioned by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and sponsored by AT&T, states.
A business with $1 billion or more in annual revenue could cut almost 900 business trips in the first year of deploying just four telepresence rooms, the report reveals.
It would also cut emissions by 2,271 tons over five years —the equivalent of removing 434 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
The study also argues that telepresence technology can speed decision-making, improve productivity and provide workers with a better work-life balance.
It was carried out by research firm Verdantix through interviews with executives of 15 Global 500 firms that are early adopters of telepresence.
Verdantix built a model that projected telepresence adoption and forecast the potential financial and carbon reduction benefits achieved by early adopters of telepresence.
The total economy-wide financial benefits as a result of large companies using telepresence over the next decade were forecast at more than $15 billion for the US and almost $4 billion in the UK, the study said.
“Telepresence is a good example of a low-carbon solution that can bring financial savings and increase productivity while reducing emissions,” CDP chief executive Paul Dickinson says.
Sak Nayagam, head of climate change solutions, at Accenture, said the consultancy had established 50 telepresence rooms across the globe.
“The travel saved through their use would have accounted for 6,200 tons of CO2 emissions globally from November 2007 through August 2009,” Nayagam said. “For us, it is not so much about eliminating travel but traveling smarter and maximizing the time and value of our workforce.”