Since March this year, I estimate that DevLearn’s switch to remote working has saved our clients approximately three quarters of a million dollars and 500 tons of CO2. The emissions saved equates to the annual carbon usage of 80 people in the UK, or a small village in Bangladesh.
The majority of this saving has come from growth in our online training courses. Our online training course has been running since 2015, and has always been popular with individuals looking for a cheaper or quicker option than an in-person training. Organisations, however, have preferred to fly in external trainers, or send their staff to international training courses. Once this became impossible due to the travel restrictions, we saw a big shift in clients requesting online-only training for their whole teams.
How did I calculate the savings? It’s pretty simple. Each training course has two trainers, so we just added up the financial cost and C02 implications for 20 trainers across the 10 different training courses that we’ve run. Some of our courses are for regional or global teams, in which case we also count their costs and C02 emissions of travel. Our biggest course brings together approximately 100 people from all around the world, twice a year. I added in the costs from the roughly 25 other flights that we probably would have taken since March, based on our original contracts.
In practice, not all of these costs would have actually been incurred. Without online training, some people would have taken cheaper training courses closer to home, and many others wouldn’t have received training at all. We work with a lot of field staff in remote locations, who often do not have other opportunities to access training.
With vaccines on the way, it looks like life will get back to normal by mid-2021. In most respects, I can’t wait – but I also hope that we learn from some of the changes that have worked during the pandemic and continue working in a way that is cost-effective and less environmentally destructive.