Select Committee on Environmental Audit Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Meeting Without Moving Foundation

  The Meeting Without Moving Foundation (MWMF) is a not-for-profit organisation which works with businesses to adopt improved working practices, based around the use of collaborative technologies, in order to facilitate a new work and travel culture aimed at:

    —  reducing carbon emissions from unnecessary road and air business travel, and therefore protecting the environment;

    —  reducing unnecessary business travel, and therefore reducing work-related road traffic accidents. One person every 15 minutes is killed or seriously injured whilst undertaking at-work travel (source: RoSPA);

    —  improving productivity, by reducing wasted time spent travelling; and

    —  enabling a more flexible and sustainable work environment, therefore enhancing work/life balance.

  MWMF advocates the use of collaborative technologies such as video conferencing in the work place as an effective and environmentally friendly alternative to unnecessary business travel, therefore significantly decreasing the amount of CO2 emitted by business.

  We do not sell equipment, but provide consultancy and training to organisations to ensure they receive a return on their original investment in the technology, and adopt improved working practices to help protect the environment and reduce unnecessary at-work travel.

  We also work within the public sector, and over the last year, we have been working with various Government Departments including DEFRA and the Sustainable Development Unit.

  We have been in recent discussion with UBS Wealth Management about these issues and that their 2005 Annual Report details 94% CO2 emissions from business air travel (nearly 350,000 flights last year). We are in dialogue with them to significantly reduce this through the use of their existing video conferencing systems. We are also in discussion with other international and FTSE 100 companies to understand a similar impact on their CO2 emissions and ways in which they can be reduced at a reduced financial cost.

  As highlighted in the announcement by the Environmental Audit Committee into this inquiry of reducing carbon emissions from transport, transport's share of total emissions is likely to increase substantially over the coming years. MWM's philosophy is not that business should offset carbon emissions, but that there should be a shift in culture away from actually making the journey itself, with businesses and individuals being encouraged to ask the question "is my journey really necessary?" We recommend that the Committee and Government highlights the benefits of using technology such as video conferencing as a method of sustainable, environmentally friendly working. If Government leads the way in using such technology, then it will be in a good position to promote it to the private sector.

  MWM welcomes this inquiry into reducing CO2 emission from transport but would argue that it needs to be put into the broader context of an over-arching, cross-Departmental Government perspective to address issues related to transport use which impact on not only carbon emissions, but other related issues such as unnecessary travel, increased productivity and competitiveness, work-life balance and safety at work. We would therefore recommend that the report from this Committee be referred to the Select Committee for DTI, Work and Pensions Select Committee, Transport Select Committee and the Cabinet Office.

March 2006

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