Monday, June 11, 2007

The Green Options Interview: Denise Persson, Genesys Conferencing

I've been interviewing all sorts of folks lately about global warming and renewable energy solutions. Here's my latest for Green Options: Denise Persson of Genesys Conferencing.

Genesys Conferencing is global provider of web, audio, and video conferencing services. It does business in 25 countries, including with nearly half of the Fortune Global 500 companies. Genesys has also made a strong commitment to energy efficiency and to cutting its global warming emissions. Last month, it appointed a Green Officer to drive and manage a sustainable development strategy and implement the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Standard.

This standard is a series of international benchmarks on environmental management. It providers a framework and structured process for a company to develop its own green goals, establish a planning phase, implementation phase, and measurement and management procedures. Its development came about as a result of the Earth Summit in 1992.

I was interested in why and how a teleconferencing company is getting so involved in efficiency and fighting global warming. The public relations and marketing possibilities don’t seem as obvious as they would be for a retailer or for a brand more well-known by the general public.

So I spoke with Genesys’ Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Denise Persson, on May 30th.

Green Options: Why is Genesys Conferencing focusing so many resources on efficiency?

Denise Persson: It all started about five years ago. As a European company, we are more environmentally conscious. I’m Swedish, and in Sweden we recycle every single thing. We would never dream of throwing a piece of paper in the trash. So this direction for the company was very natural for a lot of us. We wanted to do all that we could to make it more efficient and more responsible in terms of climate change.

GO: Tell me more about this global certification program and how Genesys is involved.

DP: The Environmental Management Systems is a certification process that we are working towards for all of our European, North American, and Asian-Pacific offices. We are focusing on energy savings and waste reduction, like computers that turn off automatically, recycling programs, and efficient lighting. We even make sure our cleaning company recycles.

GO: Does Genesys participate in any green power programs?

DP: No we do not – we don’t own our building. However we make sure that we are as efficient as possible in other areas.

GO: Let’s face it, energy efficiency isn’t sexy – how did you sell this initiative to your shareholders or management?

DP: It’s really amazing; we didn’t have to “sell” anything. We are seeing more and more RFPs [requests for proposals] from customers that ask about environmental management plans. In fact, our customers are hearing questions about efficiency from their customers. So we want to implement even more telecommuting options so our customers can reduce their carbon footprints. It’s a very bottom-up initiative and a reason we went for the Environmental Management Systems certification.

GO: What other energy-related measures is Genesys working on?

DP: So far we’ve developed a cost calculator on our website that includes the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions customers save by using our web conferencing services instead of flying to meeting locations. Our customers love that tool.

We’re also doing a lot of surveys of customers' needs. Our next major step is certification by the end of this year, and we also want to educate more of our customers. We want to help them figure out how to implement even more telecommuting practices that cut down on pollution, time, and cost.

I’m so excited about these initiatives. I’m very proud of my organization because we’re doing everything we can on this issue. It’s wonderful to be able to combine something that’s important to me with my job. It’s so important to work for a global company that takes this [climate change] problem seriously.

Genesys Conferencing

ISO 14000/14001 Environmental Management Guide
Office of the Federal Environmental Executive

Cross posted at Green Options

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