As a result of mandatory reporting requirements in the UK and EU or soon in the US and increased pressure from stakeholders for businesses to establish emission reduction targets and implement carbon management strategies, companies are now able to more effectively measure, track, and manage their emissions in an organized manner.
Carbon management is a structured approach that enables organizations to obtain strategic benefits from reducing CO2 emissions. By implementing carbon management strategies, businesses can decrease their dependence on fossil fuels and gain many benefits like cost reduction. The best way to manage your carbon footprint and other envornmentla actions is to use software specialy designated for it.
In this article, we will provide you with more in-depth information on this topic as well as help you to better manage your carbon footprint which will result in cost reduction and a greener future.
What is the carbon footprint?
The term “carbon footprint” has become a common phrase used in discussions about sustainability, but its definition may not be apparent to everyone. Essentially, it describes the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and HFCs) released into the atmosphere due to human activities, such as transportation or energy production.
Carbon footprints can be calculated for individuals, businesses, cities, and even entire countries. In the United States, the average carbon footprint per person is around 16 tons of CO2 emissions per year, much higher than the global average of 4 tons per year.
Even though the average carbon footprint per person in the US is 16 tons of CO2 emissions per year, this is still too high to limit global emissions to less than 2℃ by the year 2100. To achieve this goal, the global average carbon footprint should be reduced to 2 tons or less per year by 2050.
Businesses have a crucial role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions because many emissions are generated during the production and distribution of goods and services, which individuals cannot easily control. Additionally, businesses are responsible for designing products and services that promote behaviors that reduce emissions. By creating products and services that encourage emissions-reducing behaviour, companies can help to manage carbon and decrease emissions inefficiencies.
Why is carbon management essential for modern businesses?
As we mentioned before, carbon management involves measuring and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions associated with a company’s operations, including its supply chain. When implemented successfully, carbon management can offer numerous benefits.
1. Cost reduction
There are several advantages to implementing carbon management within an organization, the first being lower operating costs. By taking steps to reduce carbon emissions, companies can also reduce their overall expenses. For example, decreasing energy usage can result in a smaller carbon footprint and a reduced utility bill. In fact, a 500,000-square-foot office building can experience cumulative cost savings of $120,000 and a rise in asset value of over $1M over a 3-year period with just a 7% reduction in energy usage, according to EnergyStar.
2. Increased customers demand
Modern-day consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with the carbon footprint of the products and services they purchase and are willing to act on these concerns. According to the Carbon Trust, nearly half of all shoppers would be willing to cease buying their preferred brands if the brands did not commit to measuring the carbon footprint of their products. As a result, 75% of businesses view consumers as one of the primary influencers of risks and opportunities related to carbon emissions from their products and services, as stated in the GreenBiz and Trucost’s State of Green Business 2018 report.
3. Better brand perception
Another advantage of implementing carbon management is the potential to improve brand perception, which can ultimately impact consumer behavior and willingness to pay for products and services. According to the Carbon Trust, over half of the people surveyed stated they would be more loyal to a brand that demonstrates efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Additionally, McKinsey’s research discovered that more than 70% of consumers would be willing to pay a 5% premium for environmentally friendly products compared to their non-environmentally friendly counterparts.
4. Addressing investor concerns
Responding to investor pressure is another important reason companies implement carbon management. As investors become more aware of the impact of carbon emissions on their portfolios, they are increasingly directing their investments toward companies that are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. According to Marija Kramer, Head of Responsible Investment Business at Institutional Shareholder Services, investors own a proportional share of a company’s carbon emissions based on their investment percentage. This is causing a shift in investment towards more carbon-efficient companies and away from less environmentally responsible ones.
5. Keep up with the changes
Nowadays, the number of climate laws has increased to over 1,260 globally, which is a 20-fold increase since 1997. Many of these laws emphasize reducing carbon emissions and imposing penalties on companies that fail to do so. To comply with the increasing number of regulations, businesses must establish an efficient carbon management strategy and document and report on their initiatives.
Tracking and calculating carbon emissions in the company
Tracking your carbon footprint can be a requirement for regulators and stakeholders it can also bring many benefits. Therefore the next question would be: How and where to start with this?, or: What are the solutions for this task and what actions can be taken?
One way to do this is to track your company’s emissions manually. However, it is not the best solution as it holds many challenges:
- Increasing pressure from investors and legislators to set more ambitious carbon reduction targets.
- Limited visibility into carbon emissions due to a lack of digital dashboards, making it difficult to track progress toward targets.
- Manual processes make it difficult to keep proper track of business operations, affecting the audibility of your business data and potentially resulting in penalties for poor audit scores.
- Manual data collection increases the risk of human error and can affect the accuracy of carbon and GHG reports.
- Manual processes are time-consuming and make it challenging to compile and share necessary data for reporting purposes, slowing reporting times down.
Those disadvantages are just the beginning of the problem. The challenge lies not only in businesses failing to set net-zero targets but also in the fact that many of them still need to calculate their baseline GHG emissions. Establishing a baseline for CO2 emissions is crucial for effective carbon management.
Having a baseline enables organizations to measure their progress relative to their starting point. This provides a clear understanding of the immediate actions that can be taken to minimize their CO2 footprint, resulting in cost savings and improved efficiency.
In addition, the baseline helps organizations develop management strategies with a timeline, budget, and key performance indicators (KPIs), similar to other organizational management problems. A carbon dashboard is a communication tool for benchmarking performance, highlighting progress, and building trust.
What is carbon accounting software and how to choose tools?
Therefore what solution could be better than manually tracking your emission? Is there a one, that will improve your issues or save you time and worries? The answer is special software designated to this task.
Carbon accounting software can account for emissions across different scopes. You can choose whether to calculate your organization’s direct operational emissions (Scope 1), emissions resulting from purchased energy and electricity (Scope 2), indirect emissions in the upstream and downstream supply chain (Scope 3), or all three scopes.
Now that you know, that software could be a great solution. Unfortunately, you are only halfway through. Finding the right one is also tricky. To help you in this process, we prepared a complete checklist of the features you should look for in your software.
1. Data Processing
The first crucial aspect of carbon accounting is data processing. The top-quality software should possess audit-grade capabilities, including emissions tracking across different years and sites, comparisons against net-zero targets, benchmarking against competitors, verified footprint reports, a comprehensive breakdown of emissions, interactive charts, and the integration of carbon management with sustainability reporting.
2. High-level Support
The second important aspect of carbon accounting is expert support. When choosing a provider, it’s essential to check if they have a team of professionals with listed bios. A dedicated team that can offer personalized advice and real-time support without needing external consultants is invaluable. For a sustainability commitment to be successful, it’s essential that the entire workforce, from the shop floor to the c-suite, is onboard. Our team is skilled at engaging employees, whether in the office or remotely, and can provide support throughout the process.
The third important aspect of carbon accounting is ease of use. While carbon accounting can be a complex process, the ideal software should be designed to simplify it. FutureTrack’s main selling point is its ease of use, which means that you don’t need to possess a degree in environmental science to utilize it successfully. The software is designed to make it easy to measure, report, and take action toward reducing carbon emissions.
4. Solid Background Knowledge
The fourth important aspect of carbon accounting is strong industry knowledge. Although the carbon accounting software space is relatively new, it’s essential to look for companies that have a track record in sustainability management. A background in providing environmental consultancy services to organizations, governments, and individuals is a significant advantage. Additionally, platforms tend to be sector-specific, so it’s worth asking potential providers about their industry partnerships and demonstrated expertise in your particular industry.
5. Useful Guidelines
The fifth important aspect of carbon accounting is a guide to help reduce emissions. While measuring and managing emissions is critical, actual transformation can only be achieved through action. Therefore, businesses require a plan to reduce their carbon footprint and guidance on where to make the most effective changes. FutureTrack offers a continuously expanding library of suggested sustainability initiatives, emissions reduction advice, goal-setting guidance, step-by-step planning, automated reminders for tasks, and progress-tracking charts to help businesses reduce their emissions effectively.
6. The scope of the Software
The sixth important aspect to consider when choosing carbon accounting software is which scopes are covered. Some programs only cover direct operational emissions (Scope 1) and emissions from purchased energy and electricity (Scope 2), leaving out the indirect emissions from upstream and downstream supply chains (Scope 3). However, tackling Scope 3 emissions is becoming increasingly important, particularly for large companies with complex supply chains involving oil and gas, agriculture, metals, and mining. Therefore, choosing carbon accounting software that covers all three scopes is crucial to manage your carbon footprint effectively.
7. Evaluate your Network of Suppliers
While Scope 1 and 2 energy-related emissions provide some insights into a business’s emissions, they only represent a small portion of the bigger picture. Many companies need more resources to fully comprehend the extent of their emissions throughout the value chain. Indirect Scope 3 emissions, in particular, can make up as much as 90% of a company’s carbon footprint, yet few companies can account for them accurately. An all-in-one emissions management platform should enable a comprehensive assessment and scoring of a company’s supply chain, establish supplier requirements, and enhance relationships. To obtain an accurate portrayal of Scope 3 emissions, the software should also facilitate accounting for emissions from sold products and employee conduct.
8. Create an MVP First
Creating an MVP for carbon emissions management software is essential because it allows for the testing and validation the software’s core features to satisfy the needs of potential users. By creating a minimum viable product, developers can gather valuable feedback and insights, which can be used to refine and improve the software in subsequent versions. This approach can help save time and resources in the long run by avoiding developing unnecessary or poorly-received features. Additionally, it can help to ensure that the final product is more aligned with the needs and expectations of users.
How to build custom carbon emissions management software?
The best solution for most businesses is to build custom software that will fit their needs. In this case, it is no different. if you invest in a product made just for you with your unique requirements, it will fit your business like a glove and help you maximise the benefits you can gain with software. By choosing to make your software, you can follow all the crucial steps and make sure that each part of it is suitable for your company.
If this solution caught your attention, but you still need clarification on this process, we have many guides to help you and make your choice of the process easier and more conscious. First, be sure to choose the way would like to develop your custom software solution. Most likely, your choice would be outsourcing since it is the best solution, with its low costs and high efficiency. Here you can read everything you need to know to outsource software development like a pro! With this, you should be good to go.
If you are still unsure or you would like to leave your project to the expert in creating suitability customs software, contact us! You can enjoy and relax while we develop the best sustainability software for your company!
With all mandatory reporting requirements and increased pressure from stakeholders for businesses to establish emission reduction targets and implement carbon management strategies, each company should start to look for the right solution.
Counting your footprint manually seems like a good option but, in fact, it has many disadvantages and is hardly adequate. On top of that, environmental laws are constantly changing, and your solution could keep up with them.
Therefore, purchasing carbon footprint management software for your business is a good solution. As we also mentioned, the best way is to make it custom just for you. This way, the software will check all of your essential boxes and contribute to better efficacy and cost reduction.
If you want to invest in a high-end solution made by the experts in this field, contact us here and we will develop your carbon footprint management solution for you!