Karlsruhe, 07 April 2021
How bad are video conferences for our climate?
Criticism of the eco-balance of virtual conferences proves misleading
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic at the latest, video conferencing has become an essential part of everyday working life. However, reports about their climate-damaging effects are increasingly circulating in the media. Euro News reports about a study conducted by Purdue University showing that video conferencing platforms are increasing the environmental footprint and recommending to turn off your camera during video calls to reduce carbon emissions. Other studies, however, suggest that business trips or commuting generate higher emissions than the servers needed for video conferences. Even relatively short journeys – by plane or car as well as by train – usually have a worse eco-balance than virtual meetings.
Video conferences reduce the CO2 impact and save time
Not only the environment benefits from remote work. Many employees see it as an improvement of their work-life-balance: Less commutes mean gaining time, allow a more flexible choice of residence and facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life. The use of adequate video conferencing systems prevents a possible lack of social contacts with colleagues and business partners. In this respect, the camera image is essential: only the visibility of facial expressions and gestures ensures that video conferences are perceived as an equivalent alternative to a face-to-face meeting.
Digitisation enables accessible communication
Regardless of all that, modern tools such as the alfaview® video conferencing software offer people with disabilities the chance of accessible communication and thus uncomplicated participation in working life. Through increasing digitalisation, companies can overcome distances in the literal and figurative sense and thus enable hybrid working models even after the pandemic, sustainably benefitting both the climate and the quality of life of employees.