Small Business Sustainability
5th August 2010 by Simon Malone
The views of world renowned scientists regarding the exact statistical impacts differ significantly, but it is generally agreed that the human output of CO2 is starting to produce very real affects on our planet. National Geographic recently reported that the melting of ice caps will cause sea levels to rise by up to 23 inches by the end of the century. Increased rainfall has led to devastating flooding such as those we are witnessing in Pakistan at the moment. Also our British “summers” could soon be spoilt by the arrival of Mosquitoes attracted to Europe by the warmer weather bringing such joys as Malaria with them.
Regarding the environment I believe I am in a similar boat to most people in the UK. Although I understand the major issues at hand and would like to make a more positive contribution, my day to day living will not be receiving a rubber stamp from the Carbon Trust anytime soon. I drive to work every day and although I could conceivably cycle a 30 mile round trip to work, in reality it’s never going to happen. I often drive to the shops when it would probably take no more than five minutes to walk, and the landfill output from the work I have done on my house has felt never ending at times.
During the many meetings that led to the creation VirtualStudio.TV we all spoke about what we wanted the company to represent and some of the ways we wanted it to differ from the other businesses the five directors were involved in. The idea of working one day a week and earning double the salary was unfortunately quickly deemed to be unworkable, but the idea of “being green” was a significant one that has stuck with us. We all have a history of producing live events and videos. Both often require international flights and long distance car journeys, a huge amount of raw materials used for building sets (with most ultimately ending up in landfill) and on events especially, a massive amount of electricity consumption.
I am pleased to report some of our initial progress regarding our green policy. Yesterday I recycled a month’s worth of paper, plastic bottles and my endless cans of Diet Coke. By creating videos in our studio in Cambridge and mainly using local presenters to feature in them, we have considerably reduced our monthly mileage travelling to and from our clients offices. Our most significant environmental contribution will come later this year when we produce a Virtual Event for one of our clients in London and stream it to the internet for their workforce to view. Live Streaming it to the internet instead of having a live audience will save over 1000 airline flight tickets all over World which has to be a good thing!
I am happy with the progress we are making in “doing our bit” for the environment but I am aware we can do much more. I would love to hear ideas from others as to how we can continue to make a positive contribution. The difficulty for many organisations (including our own) comes when a decision has to be made between “being green” and retaining profit. It’s the elephant in the room that is easy for organisations to ignore, but that is the ultimate test as to how serious a company is about its “sustainability policy”. In that respect we have not been fully tested yet, but when the time comes I am confident we will do the right thing.
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