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Effects of Internet-based multiple-site conferences on greenhouse gas emissions

Information communication technologies (ICTs) can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, both by increasing the efficiency of existing processes and by guiding towards more energy efficient patterns of production and consumption. However, few studies have been able to show examples of such reductions. This article presents the results of a field experiment in which advanced videoconferencing technology was used to connect a large resource management conference organised simultaneously on two continents. The study assessed the emissions caused by the attendees’ travel and by the additional ICT equipment utilised to connect the venues. The research also examined the emissions in the alternative scenarios of holding the conference at either one of the places and the satisfaction of the participants with the two-site format. The results show reductions of 37 per cent and 50 per cent in travel-related GHG emissions as compared to the single-site alternatives.