Telepresence is a growing technology that facilitates the meeting and collaboration of groups of people from multiple locations around the world, the report says.
The report shows that a business with yearly revenues of $1 billion or more can save about 900 business trips in the first year by using only four telepresence rooms.
The business can expect the financial return on investment in 15 months and cut emissions by 2,271 metric tons over five years.
The study titled Telepresence Revolution shows that American and British businesses that substituted some business travel with telepresence is in the position to curb carbon emissions equivalent to removing over one million passenger vehicles from the streets by 2020.
“Companies that invest in carbon cutting technologies and re-engineer the way they do business will not only be better placed to succeed as we transition to a low-carbon economy but can experience considerable business benefits during this transition,» said Paul Dickinson, chief executive of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which commissioned the study.
«Telepresence is a good example of a low-carbon solution that can bring financial savings and increase productivity while reducing emissions,” he said.
Research company Verdantix, which conducted the study, interviewed executives of 15 Fortune Global 500 firms that were early adopters of telepresence. Among them were Accenture, Aviva, EMC and Microsoft.
Based on the responses of these companies Verdantix developed a model that calculates the financial return on investment and carbon reductions of telepresence.
The analyst forecasted carbon cuts among United States companies of about 4.6 million metric tons by 2020 while carbon cuts by British companies will be about 940,000 metric tons.
Total economy-wide financial benefits would be over $15 billion for the United States and about $4 billion for Britain.
The study also shows that telepresence can boost decision-making, employee productivity and work-life balance.
“For us, it is not so much about eliminating travel but travelling smarter and maximizing the time and value of our workforce,” said Sak Nayagam, head of climate change solutions at Accenture.
The Carbon Disclosure Project is a nonprofit organization gathering climate change data from 2,500 companies.