Green-friendly conference saves 208 tonnes of carbon emissions

Cisco says business has a social responsibility

Networking technologies can play a critical role in reducing the impact of business on the environment, according to Les Williamson, A/NZ managing director of Cisco.

He said there is an imperative for businesses such as Cisco to treat its environmental impact very seriously.

"We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint by implementing green initiatives," he said citing the company's TelePresence Meeting solution as a green-friendly technology.

Using the Internet Protocol network, TelePresence combines video, audio and interactive elements to provide high-definition, life-size communications via video.

Williamson talked about the environment while announcing the results of a study on energy-saving initiatives undertaken at its annual A/NZ Networkers conference last year.

The study highlighted how several Australian-first programs introduced by Cisco at Networkers 2007 have produced excellent results.

The research was coordinated by the corporate social responsibility advisory firm Positive Outcomes, under commission from Cisco and supported by the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC). The BCEC is the venue where Networkers was held in September 2007.

Initiatives included: using renewable energy by investing in 100 per cent Australia Green Power for the duration of the conference; using low-energy lighting in exhibition halls as well as reusable material; reducing food waste and distributing unused food to local charities via a food bank and; making conference information available electronically.

The change to renewable energy for the conference alone was estimated by the study to have saved the equivalent of almost 208 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Moreover, additional initiatives saved a further 4.3 tonnes of carbon emissions, and almost 70 per cent of waste was recycled.

The availability of electronic conference information was well received, with 52 per cent of conference delegates opting to receive conference papers via memory stick, resulting in a 45 per cent reduction in paper usage for the event.

BCEC general manager, Robert O'Keefe, said striving for sustainability has always been at the very core of the convention centre's operations, as it is a member of Australia's Greenhouse Challenge.

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