As more companies face the daunting task of reporting on a variety of environmental performance criteria, they will be getting a helping hand thanks to a host of new sustainability software offerings. These are primarily web-based tools that can help businesses manage, analyze and report on their carbon footprints from measuring energy consumption to calculating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to meet growing demand from governments, global financial markets and consumers for full disclosure of their environmental footprint.
Currently, there are several initiatives such as the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Global Footprint Network and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) that offer tools including surveys and reporting frameworks to collect data on corporate environmental performance, reports World Changing.
GRI, for example, recently reported a 46 percent increase in the use of GRI G3 Guidelines in sustainability reporting.
Chris Farinacci, CMO of Hara, told World Changing, that tracking environmental performance could be the next logical evolution for software, where environmental resources become an asset in need of an efficient management system just as sophisticated as those used for finances, human resources and customer relations.
Startup Hara Software Inc. recently rolled out the Hara Environmental and Energy Management (Hara EEM) solution that measures and manages resource consumption for energy, fossil fuels, water and related waste production such as carbon emissions.
World Changing cited a recent GTM Research report that indicated that there are at least 51 companies in the emerging market dubbed Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA), which is defined as the business process of calculating, managing, reporting, reducing and trading carbon emissions.
Software products like SAP’s Carbon Impact (formerly Clear Standards) are able to monitor energy usage, waste and emissions across multinational companies and supply chains for the long term, reports World Changing.
There are also a host of other sustainability solution providers that are offering the tools needed by corporations to monitor and track their environmental performance.
As one example, Johnson Controls recently released its enhanced Energy and Emissions Management System that enables global companies to measure, manage and report their organizations global carbon footprints. With the upgraded system, companies can analyze energy trends and calculate greenhouse gas levels.
In addition, the web-based system, delivered by Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions, measures, manages and forecasts activities related to energy cost, consumption, energy efficiency projects, fleet emissions, and waste.
Organizations can receive auditable reports to validate incoming data. Reports can be generated in four languages, numerous currencies and units of measure. In addition, a greenhouse gas inventory module automates carbon accounting based on the World Research Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development GHG Protocol. The GHG module consolidates all sources of greenhouse gas emissions, baseline adjustments, and credit trading impacts to generate a transparent, verifiable greenhouse gas inventory.
Over the last eight years, the system has captured more than 8,000 energy and cost savings initiatives — nearly half of which were achieved for global companies including Pfizer, Wyeth, Dell and Xerox — resulting in savings of $1 billion and 6.2 million metric tons of CO(2) or the equivalent, according to Johnson Controls.
ESS, a leading provider of Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) and Crisis Management software, also plans to make a big push to strengthen its enterprise sustainability software offerings, recently naming Rebecca Sternberg as vice president of sustainability solutions.
ESS also announced its Essential Gateway solution, a set of new interoperability applications for the Essential Suite sustainability platform that is designed to simplify the acquisition and validation of data from diverse enterprise IT systems.