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Go Green: Al Gore speaks at VoiceCon 2008

Al Gore will underline the importance of innovation and climate control at VoiceCon 2008 in Orlando.

At VoiceCon 2008 in Orlando, the conference is showing its true color: green. With a strong go-green initiative in place, keynote speaker Al Gore, and the event's kick-off on St. Patrick's Day, going green is the only reasonable way.

Over the years, VoiceCon has consistently offered valuable advice and training to help educate IT pros and businesses about the wonders of enterprise communication trends from all angles – the good and the not so good, and the whys to back it up. I am excited to attend the show in Orlando this week to sit in on the always-engaging roundtable discussions, to listen to keynote presentations by industry thought leaders, to speak with vendors on the show floor and, most especially, to attend the abundant UC-centric sessions.

However, when I saw that Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President, had been added to the lineup of speakers, my sometimes waning sense of optimism about technology was fortified. Could "going green" actually mean something to enterprise organizations at last?

Enterprise communications are evolving at breakneck speed. I say "Wow!" a lot. With enterprise communications, the "Wow!" factor is ever present, and it's truly fantastic to watch new communication technologies unfold. But for me there is always a shadow lurking in the corners of my enthusiasm: How will this affect the environment? Are companies genuinely concerned about sustaining the environment? Will businesses take adequate measures to balance their insatiable drive for dollars with a genuine sense of responsibility for the long-term impact on the environment?

Saving the planet isn't something that is going to happen overnight, but every effort -- large and small -- to mitigate any detrimental impact on the environment is important. Having Al Gore teamed with Cisco's John Chambers on the VoiceCon roster is a meaningful gesture by corporate America, admitting some degree of culpability in the degradation of the global climate and giving a solemn nod toward restitution. OK, perhaps that's a tad dramatic, but no one can dispute that it's a step in the right direction. Al Gore and John Chambers will talk about the impact that innovation has in mitigating climate change.

Topics covered will include:

  • The latest observations of the effects of global warming and the impact of IT.
  • How businesses can reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of innovation.
  • How the technology industry can help create the most sustainable model for addressing global climate change.

Bringing Al Gore on board is not the only green move VoiceCon has made. The show has been meticulously planned to preserve resources and to leave as small a footprint as possible. According to its website, VoiceCon "pursues purchasing policies and operational practices that support the rational and sustainable use of environmental resources."

Here's a list of VoiceCon's efforts:

  • Printing the Conference Program Guide on recycled paper using soy-based inks.
  • Replacing four out of five paper-based conference proceedings documents with electronic copies (Web and USB drives).
  • Maximizing the use of recycled paper for print purposes --Tutorial Conference Book, Program Guide, etc.
  • Shifting from hard copy to electronic copy whenever possible. For example:
    • Exhibitor kit available exclusively online
    • Conference proceedings distributed via Web and USB drives
    • Registration and housing forms, and confirmations, sent electronically online
    • Greater reliance on email/Web-based marketing vs. paper/direct mail

  • Printing badges only as attendees check in, rather than pre-printing and mailing them.
  • Encouraging recycling of badges, badge holders, program guides and lanyards by placing recycle bins at registration.
  • Distributing reusable water bottles that can be refilled at water stations.
  • Eliminating the amount of paper products used in the on-site exhibitor packages by consolidating information.
  • Offering the Saving Money with Green VoIP conference session, focusing on how you can go green when you go VoIP and how it will save you money.

VoiceCon has also teamed with like-minded companies with green initiatives in place, including hotels, transportation companies and contractors.

Read about VoiceCon's green initiatives.

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