Environment minister attends Sydney conference virtually

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Environment minister attends Sydney conference virtually

The UK Minister of State for the Environment helped to drive home his green message by delivering his keynote speech at the Annual Climate Change Summit in Sydney without leaving London.

Phil Woolas MP, whose responsibilities cover climate change, energy and sustainable development, saved an estimated 60 hours of travel time and 6.2 tons of CO2 emissions on his air flight alone.

As part of his speech, Woolas shared examples of UK environmental best practice with an audience of around 150 public and private sector executives.

The high-definition video conferencing appearance was managed with the collaboration of hosting company Easynet, tele-presence firm Polycom and Australian telco Telstra.

"Tele-presence does more than improve communications and productivity; it is also increasingly viewed as a critical green technology," said Steve Leyland, vice president for EMEA at Polycom.

"Phil Woolas and the attendees experienced all these benefits first hand thanks to tele-presence facilitating a keynote speech which otherwise might not have happened."

Although video conferencing has had a difficult start, many firms are starting to warm to the idea thanks predominately to maturing technology, improved bandwidth, environmental pressures and harder economic times.

Another high definition video communications firm, LifeSize Communications, has recently reported a 150 percent growth rate for the first half of 2008.

"The time has come for businesses to take responsibility and change the way they work. There is now a real alternative to hopping on a plane [to travel] thousands of miles for a meeting," said David Rowe, chief executive of Easynet.
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