With today's oil pricing development, oil futures soared to $85 per barrel on news of decreasing oil production in non-OPEC countries, the ROI arguments for going green got another boost. Yes, this is likely a blip, but it also provides another example of the instability of oil prices. You'll likely see more news about this on blogs today, as today Oct. 15th is Blog Action Day for the environment.
At WebEx we like to point to the environment benefits of using technology to reduce energy use, but most companies will see economic benefits as oil prices continue to fluctuate. While airlines do a good job hedging fuel costs, that won't last forever in a market in which oil prices have continued to trend up for several years as oil demand continues to rise. Companies should get started using collaborative technologies, such as web conferencing and virtual workspaces, to help reduce travel costs.
Telework and telecommuting is another way companies can commit to the environment. While it doesn't necessarily help the corporate bottom line, it does help the household bottom line for employees, who save on gas, tolls and auto maintenance. Commuting costs continue to rise, this latest news is certain to push up prices at the pump this week. Furthermore, many more states and municipalities have begun looking at road usage fees (may require registration) to fund needed infrastructure improvements and discourage driving.
Of course, telecommuting has numerous business and quality of life benefits. The work day generally starts earlier and ends later since workers spend less time spent sitting in traffic. They also appreciate having the flexibility to run out to pick up children from day care without worrying about incurring fees when they run late in traffic.
Update: For a view of how to individually make a commitment to the environment through a call to action, check out this post from Cisco colleague Christian Renaud. Christian has devised a strategy to keep from flying that people can use to weigh the necessity getting on a plane.