Chain reaction: Buck airfare, hold a Web conference, cut CO2 emissions

You probably hate conference calls as much as I do. But they're a whole lot easier on the environment than commuting, especially my former two-bridge, one-VERY-CONGESTED-expressway, two-state schlep.

You probably hate conference calls as much as I do. But they're a whole lot easier on the environment than commuting, especially my former two-bridge, one-VERY-CONGESTED-expressway, two-state schlep. But Web conferencing software developer iLinc Communications doesn’t just talk a good green game. With a little nudge from the CEO’s friend from home state Tennessee, Al Gore, the company actually has come up with a way of providing proof that using its technology can reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The patent-pending iLinc Green Meter measures the pounds of carbon dioxide emissions that are saved by opting for a Web conference vs. hopping on a plane or getting into a car to converge on one location, according to James Powers, the CEO of iLinc.

The software works by detecting the different locations represented on a specific conference and calculating the environmental impact of transportation from the location to the location where the conference leader is located. Since the capability was introduced back in February, Powers estimates that more than 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide have been diverted by the iLinc conferencing technology.

iLinc also has adopted a program called iReduce. For every customer that diverts at least 1 million or more pounds of carbon dioxide per quarter, the company will donate $100 toward some environmental cause. Powers says since the fourth quarter was the first program for which the program was in effect, the company hasn’t figured out where the money will go yet. But it definitely will be paying out!

iLinc offers its conference services on a hosted capability, according to a named-user pricing model. The company has more than 4,000 active clients in its database and it is used extensively by financial services companies, universities and local government agencies, according to Powers. The story of how he started the company is pretty interesting in its own right, and is told well by the local paper in Phoenix.

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