02 May 2012 ~ 0 Comments

ODR is a green business

Online Dispute Resolution is a green business

From Ben Zielgler’s blog:

“Collaboration is good. There can be a result that flows from people working together, that surpasses the sum of their individual contributions. Such is the case with ODR: The next green giant, a paper authored by Noam Ebner (@NoamEbner on Twitter) and Colleen Getz, with background support from Susanna Jani (@DistanceProject). It’s about ODR (Online Dispute Resolution).  Its about going “green”.

ODR: The next green giant

With this paper, I think the ODR ante has just been upped. ODR is more than resolving disputes online. It’s a way of taking ownership something bigger, how we as mediators work and live.

The non-environmental benefits of ODR are well known; e.g., enhanced flexibility, access to expertise, reduced costs, time-investment and travel.
This paper also spotlights the environmental benefits of ODR:

  • the most significant environmental cost of all: carbon emissions resulting from travel
  • paper use is reduced to minimum and often eliminated altogether
  • reduce/eliminate need for office space, and construction of office buildings – eg., courthouses
  • fewer buildings has ripple effect – impact on land/wildlife, reduced electricity needs

The authors say these green benefits are too often ignored. Why? They’re “too obvious”, upset the apple card (e.g., potential clients whose politics lean the other way), disputants don’t give it much weight vis-à-vis their conflict, too much personal values (not neutral!), and for professional-cultural reasons (e.g., traditional legal profession aren’t seen as particularly enviro-conscious, with some exceptions).

The authors advocate marketing these environmental benefits, as an individual ODR service provider, as private market initiatives, and to advance the field of ODR. I’m going to run with these and “go green”. How about you?”

I think this is an excellent point, and part of why technology is taking over.  It’s faster, more efficient, and yes, more green.  I think as neutrals come to understand that they’ll be inclined to learn more.

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