Videoconferencing in the UK Government

Tandberg is generally a bit of a booster for videoconferencing as a cost reduction and carbon reduction tool – not surprisingly, since they are one of the companies that make the units that are used for it.

This paper published on the company’s web site ought to give serious pause for thought. Its main finding is that the UK government doesn’t know how much it is spending on flights – it is not being recorded properly or consistently across departments. Without a baseline it’s hard to tell what impact videoconferencing is having – are all those videoconference sessions really replacing flights, or are they just adding to them?

I have another issue, which Tandberg doesn’t raise; does every ticket not bought really amount to a flight not flown, and therefore carbon not emitted? The various systems for calculating your own, or your company’s, emissions all presume so – if I take less flights my carbon footprint goes down. But is less carbon really emitted? How does the airline industry respond to fluctuations in demand? In some countries they do cancel flights, but in others they drop prices to make sure the flights are full. In which case the company has reduced its footprint, but the same amount of carbon is emitted even so.

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