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Smarter IT could cut both business costs, emissions

glowing-computersExisting information technologies can not only help organisations reduce expenses but can significantly help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to two new studies released today by the World Wildlife Fund.

The key to achieving such benefits, however, is collaboration between business and policy-makers, the reports note.

“IT can be a significant driver of greenhouse gas reductions, but we need strong global climate policy to ensure these solutions are implemented at the speed and scale necessary to make a difference,” said Dennis Pamlin, a WWF policy advisor and co-author of the reports. “This research tells us that if relatively simple measures are implemented globally, we can achieve annual emissions reductions equal to at least half of current U.S. total annual emissions by 2050. But we must start to walk in the right direction now, before it’s too late.”

Authored by the WWF with funding support from HP and Microsoft, the two reports — “Virtual Meetings and Climate Innovation in the 21st Century” and “From Workplace to Anyplace” — demonstrate how technologies such as videoconferencing can help organisations dramatically reduce emissions related to employee travel, which in some non-manufacturing firms can amount to more than half a business’ carbon footprint.

Increased use of telework by 2030, for example, could cut carbon dioxide emissions by about one billion tonnes — as much as are produced today by the UK and Italy combined.

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