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The CUPE National Environment Committee continued to improve its environmental performance by holding the first-ever national committee meeting via videoconference May 31 and June 1. The meeting was held at two points, with the eastern portion of the committee in Ottawa and the western committee members in Vancouver.

Environmentally, this format cut back substantially on air travel, resulting in a 48 per cent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions caused by travel to and from the meeting.  Likewise, since fewer members had to travel, waste was also reduced with fewer hotel stays and less air travel.  Committee members who were in Ottawa were able to walk to and from the meeting to their hotel.  Committee members in Vancouver carpooled, with a host member picking up all visiting western members for the trip to the CUPE Burnaby office that houses a videoconferencing centre.

Environment committee co-chair Robert Coelho said, “The committee is always striving to reduce its carbon footprint and show that environmental actions can go hand in hand with conducting CUPE business.  A videoconference meeting was a logical step for the committee to take. Technology can help to reduce our impact on the environment.”

The new approach to holding a meeting did not disrupt the flow of work at the committee at all. Committee business was conducted efficiently and two guest speakers were also able to take part without any problems.

The National Environment Committee is committed to implementing strategies to green CUPE workplaces while enhancing the environmental record of CUPE overall by changing the way it does its work to help address climate change, waste, air quality and other urgent environmental issues.