Face-to-face interaction is an essential part of doing business with IFC clients. It is also an important part of staff orientation and training. However, staff air travel contributes significantly to IFC’s carbon emissions footprint. On average, business air travel accounts for 60% of IFC’s annual carbon emissions from internal business operations.
To help reduce the emissions from staff travel, IFC has invested in number of technological solutions that allow us to carry out the vital functions of our business while avoiding the environmental impact of travel. These include:
Telepresence: In 2011, IFC invested in three High-Definition Immersive videoconferencing centers, IFC branded as "The Room". These are located in Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, and Istanbul. IFC is working to capture data through a User survey to quantify travel avoided from the use of the telepresence centers.
Videoconferencing: More than 3,500 video conferences were held in FY11, up 27 percent from FY10. Desktop video conferencing has been installed on nearly 700 IFC computers, enabling IFC staff to conduct point-to-point video conferences with each other or participate in scheduled video conferences. Due to bandwidth constraints between HQ and Country Offices, the use of desktop VC is limited and primarily intended for sessions while staff are outside the office (joining meetings from home).
E-meetings: IFC encourages staff to hold virtual meetings using Adobe Connect and other e-meetings platforms. Over the last 5 years, usage of e-meetings has steadily increased. Other such systems (i.e., Webex) are being tested and planned to be rolled out in the near future.
E-Learning: Eight percent of our training portfolio is now available online, up from just 1 percent in 2007. Secure remote connectivity: IFC offers a number of ways for staff to connect to their office network from off-site. These solutions allow staff to reduce travel and commuting, while still being able to work as if they were in the office.
IFC staff commuting to work also contributes to environmental issues, including carbon emissions and air pollution. To help staff reduce the environmental impacts of commuting to work, IFC supports a number of employee-focused initiatives:
Bike racks and shower/locker facilities: In a number of IFC’s offices, bike racks are provided insecure locations and shower/locker facilities are made available to staff where possible.
Carpooling: In a number of IFC’s offices, staff members have organized systems to facilitate carpooling.
Initiatives to reduce the impacts of commuting in IFC’s headquarters office in Washington, DC:
Public transportation subsidies: IFC, as part of the World Bank Group, provides a monthly stipend to HQ staff who choose to commute to work via public transportation through Washington Metro Area Transit Authority’s Metrochek program.
Partnerships with car- and bike-sharing sharing companies: IFC, as part of the World Bank Group, provides discounts to IFC staff with the car-sharing company, Zipcar, and the bike-sharing company, CapitolBikeshare.
Electric Vehicle Charging stations: IFC introduced 2 electric vehicle charging stations in its garage to encourage the use of electric vehicles by staff.
Vanpool Support: Staff who organize and register van pools are provided free in-house parking.