Friday, February 1, 2008

Checklist for reducing CO2 emissions (beta version)

I just got a reminder from Jessica Lipnack about the checklist for reducing CO2 emissions that I promised to develop ("Taking the challenge"). Me and my fellow bloggers Henrik and Anders had a brainstorming session a week ago when we met in Stockholm (They both live there while I took the train from the city of Lund in the very south of Sweden where I live).

The checklist that came out of our session is in a very draft shape, but I guess it might be a good idea to post it anyway so that we can get some feedback that can help us develop it further. So, here it is:
  1. Start with yourself and where you are – think of how you can reduce the CO2 emissions that you cause at work (we already assume that you think of what you can do at home). Here are some of all the things you can do:

    - Turn off your computer when not using it – and unplug the power adapter
    - Drink water on tap (filtered if necessary) instead of drinking bottled water
    - When you go to meetings nearby - take the bike, public transportation by train or bus, or share a car
    - When you stay at hotels - shower instead of taking baths, reuse your towels, choose a hotel with a climate policy…
    - When you need to eat - choose seasonal fruits for the fruit basket, walk to the nearest restaurant, eat locally produced food…

  2. Ask yourself when a face-to-face meeting that requires travelling is really necessary - and when it’s not. Reflect on and question your own behaviour – are you sometimes travelling because you like it or get a feeling that you are an important person when doing so?

  3. If you need to meet but not necessarily face-to-face, ask yourself if any of there are other ways to meet and communicate than by a face-to-face meeting in real life - phone conference, instant messaging, group chat, web conferencing…

  4. If a face-to-face meeting is really necessary, is it an option to meet virtually? Video conferencing, virtual meeting place (Second Life)…

  5. If you really need to meet face-to-face in real life, check if you can meet at a location where as few of the meeting attendees as possible have to travel to the meeting, thereby shortening the total distance travelled by the meeting participants. Also question what persons really need to participate in the meeting (identify and try to stop meeting professionals from attending).

  6. If you need to travel yourself to the meeting, check what transportation options you have at hand. Try to choose the means of transportation that produces the least CO2 emissions but still offers a reasonable travel time and cost – and be sure to include the cost for any CO2 emissions in the cost! If it takes a few hours longer by train than by plane – can you motivate taking the train if you can work during the travel?

  7. If possible, always try to compensate for the CO2 emissions that you cause by traveling. You can calculate how much CO2 emissions you produce and how much you should pay on the CarbonNeutral Company’s web site:

  8. Finally, be open and proud about your achievements when it comes to minimizing CO2 emissions. Tell others that you choose not to travel to a meeting because you did not find it necessary to meet and that you solved it with other means of communication instead, that you walked instead of taking a cab to the nearby meeting, that you chose to go by train instead of flying, and so on. It will not only show that you care about the environment, but also that you are a responsible and caring person in general. It builds trust. Don't be afraid of how other people might react. For some, it can be an eye-opener and they might be impressed with your reasoning and behaviour, and eventually they will start changing their own behaviour. Others might be offended since it might cause bad conscience. But whatever kind of reaction you will get, telling others about your choices will help move things in the right direction.


  1. I'm beginning to sound like an iPod set to "Repeat One:" cross-posted again here. This is great great stuff. I'd like to see an expansion around #2. What about the work itself might require face-to-face? Is there particular work that cannot be done at a distance...something like that...? Really pleased to see what you've done. A big contribution to the field of virtual working is on its way!

  2. We will definately try to expand around #2. What would be nice is to have some sort of decision model that help to decide how to communicate / collaborate on specific tasks or issues.

  3. Did you really need a face-to-face meeting to put this list together? I think that staying in Lund would have reduced your CO2 emission.

  4. ;-) I agree. But fact is that I went to Stockholm to perform group interviews for a customer situated in Stockholm.