As more governments respond to climate change with new laws and regulations, organisations are under pressure to develop sustainability programmes and objectives. To stay competitive in the face of a deep paradigm shift that prioritises sustainability, businesses are in need of tools that capture the right data and help make data-driven decisions.
A number of indicators come in handy here, but estimating a product's or organisation’s carbon footprint is often a time-consuming and error-prone process. Luckily, managers can leverage technology solutions such as Greentripper and CO2logic that measure, track, and manage carbon emissions and their environmental implications.
This article gives an overview of the current approaches to tracking CO2 and the tooling organisations use to achieve expense report compliance.
Technological Solutions for Carbon Tracking
While many deep tech climate solutions are still under development, there are a number of digital tools available right now to assist your organisation’s net zero path.
Carbon emission calculators
Software-based calculators can be integrated into all areas of the business process and across the supply chain to calculate the carbon footprint of a single product or the entire organisation.
Some calculators are sector-specific, while others are more generic. Many of them work in tandem with Internet of Things (IoT) technologies such as sensors.
Measuring existing carbon footprints is key because the data allows businesses to understand areas that call for optimisation. The granularity of collected data is important for accuracy and the ability of decision-makers to have access to actionable knowledge.
Carbon offsetting, or more accurately carbon contributions, refers to "paying" for carbon dioxide emissions caused by industry or human activity by financially contributing to projects with a positive effect on the environment. A carbon-offsetting tool can, for instance, evaluate a flight's carbon footprint and provide technology connected to the booking system to facilitate a financial contribution as a way of "compensating" for the relevant emissions.
On the back end, such tools allow organisations to assess and maintain ties with offsetting programmes, such as sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).
Sensors and sensor extraction software
Sensors and IoT devices play a significant role in data collection for carbon tracking systems, measuring energy use, water quality, air pollution, and other important metrics. For example, the city of Chicago has a water quality data streaming service that provides access to water temperature, turbidity, and other data.
Organisations use sensors to extract data from building management systems, energy metres, or energy storage assets. Specialised software collects data from industrial devices, assets, and sensors at the edge, in the cloud, and on-premises to calculate metrics such as energy consumption.
Additional analytics tools can then provide notifications identifying excessive waste with the goal of cost savings.
Machine Learning (ML) and data analytics
Understanding a product throughout its entire lifecycle is critical for identifying and mitigating its environmental impact. Machine learning solutions enable large-scale emission reporting and management by mapping a company's portfolio of goods and suppliers, allowing them to make more sustainable procurement decisions.
One of the most time-consuming tasks for experts is gathering data from various sources, such as internal PLM, ERP, procurement systems, external data from suppliers, and third-party data that allows the calculation. AI solutions can automate such tasks and tremendously reduce the amount of time spent calculating impacts.
Tools for smart procurement
According to McKinsey, supply chains may account for as much as 80% of commercial carbon emissions, and many organisations simply do not calculate this. In reality, according to studies, few businesses have measures in place to reduce carbon emissions across the supply chain.
The implementation of ESG concepts into procurement procedures and policies ensures that relations with suppliers are in line with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, helping organisations achieve their sustainability objectives.
Challenges and Opportunities in Carbon Tracking
CO2 tracking comes with several challenges that organisations face when attempting to calculate their CO2 emissions and building the data into other areas, such as expense management.
Obtaining accurate and high-quality source data is one significant barrier. Manually collecting emissions data is not only time-consuming for businesses, but is also error-prone and lacks uniformity. Many organisations fail to gather real-time activity data consistently over time or cannot evaluate data progress against checkpoints on a quarterly, annual, or monthly basis.
But the opportunity is significant, as carbon reduction strategies are closely tied to the financial performance of organisations implementing them. The most prevalent reason mentioned by 42% of organisations putting an emphasis on sustainability is to increase efficiency and decrease costs, underscoring the significant commercial and economic benefits of this area.
Research shows a strong and constant negative relationship between carbon emissions and financial performance, which is associated with poorer sales returns and capital inefficiencies for higher-emitting enterprises. There is also evidence that carbon emission reduction efforts have a negative impact on financial performance indicators, which rise with carbon risk.
Track CO2 with Mobilexpense
Mobilexpense includes comprehensive CO2 emissions tracking for mileage charges, so you can be compliant and environmentally conscious:
- Calculate exact emissions statistics based on the models and mileages of particular vehicles.
- Benefit from the Dutch RDW database's open and often updated data.
- Enter license plate data knowing that it will stay private and secure.
Our solution handles the rest after an employee enters their license plate. With options to prefill and sync license plates, users can save time and minimise mistakes while ensuring the CO2 emissions data is as precise as possible.
Thanks to thorough reports that provide insights quickly, compliance is straightforward and effortless. Additionally, users can share data via a CSV export that covers any desired time period, ensuring that you always have the data you require on hand, whether you need a monthly summary or an annual report.
The carbon footprint toolkit is rapidly expanding, and organisations can choose from a wide range of solutions based on their unique use cases. Some can be easily integrated with existing systems, such as ERP platforms, potentially providing access to upstream and downstream supply chains.
Calculating the carbon footprint opens the door for organisations to discover areas for improvement and take action to minimise their carbon impact, especially if the solution includes AI capabilities that may propose green recommendations.
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