With more and more organisations looking to measure and report their carbon emissions, we often get questioned about how to go about doing this. As with any business requirement, the options are varied and the applications range from one end of the spectrum to the other. The best solution for any organisation will really depend on the size and complexity of the company, the project budget and the appetite if any for skilling up internal resources.
At one end, we have carbon calculators. A google search will reveal many of these calculators. They are great for getting a general feel for your impact and are valuable when wanting to offset an emission source activity e.g. an air flight. They raise awareness by displaying the link between activities and greenhouse gas emissions at the click of a button. However these carbon calculators seldom provide a compliant report with full disclosure of metrics, methodologies and calculations which is required in terms of GHG accounting and corporate governance. In other words, “you cannot hang your hat on the results”.
On the other end of the spectrum are fully fledged greenhouse gas information management systems. These systems have typically evolved from sophisticated environmental management systems and often integrate into existing enterprise business systems. Functionality includes full visibility of an organisations carbon profile, audit trails, reduction scenario planning, project management for reductions, real time target tracking, reporting compliance and more. Data can be sliced and diced by geography, site, business unit, emission source activity and greenhouse gas. These tools are enormously valuable; but naturally they come at a hefty price.
There is no doubt that in large and complex organisations where carbon reduction is a strategic imperative, the managed reduction plans enable a positive ROI with such carbon management applications. In addition, where organisations span multiple geographies, reporting to different GHG programs and registries is often complex and requires the correct tool-set to manage this complexity. This significantly reduces time demands on resources. The management of these systems can be taken in-house or subcontracted to the software vendor.
In between these two ends we have two models which largely depend on taking the measurement project in-house or outsourcing it. Carbon consultants fulfill a roll in outsourced projects. They draw on their skills to assess an organisation’s carbon profile, assist in data collection, analyse and report an organisation’s footprint and may also guide and manage strategy and reduction projects.
The other option is to take the project in house. In larger companies a dedicated resource may take this on; however in most cases a resource will dedicate time from their ‘day job’ to run with the project. The challenge with this approach is that it is costly to invest in greenhouse gas accounting training, both from a time and financial perspective. Furthermore, high level consulting skills are often required to supplement internal resource which often comes at significant cost.
In both these instances, a more cost effective solutions like The Carbon Report can assist by providing the skills and expertise necessary to quantify your emissions. Our tool set ensure that emissions are quantified and reported at a fraction of the cost of tranditional consulting led approached. Our investment in technology ensures you get more value from your investment and funding can be diverted towards reduction initiatives rather than expensive consulting engagements.
Companies may start with one approach and evolve to another; others may deploy different approaches in different parts of a larger organisation. Whichever the route, the end goal of greenhouse gas measurement, reporting and reduction will yield business value through the identification of emissions reduction opportunities, and ultimately cost reduction.