With an ever-increasing focus, both socially and statutorily, to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) and climate change, companies are being driven to gain understanding and control over their carbon footprints.
Traditionally this has been done with a number of separate, usually manual, systems based upon spreadsheets – if at all. Now, ERP vendors are beginning to offer Enterprise Carbon and Energy Management (ECEM) systems that synchronize with your existing applications to make it easy for your company to become more socially and fiscally responsible.
ECEM systems gather data from several sources: Utility Bills, Fixed Assets (devices), Production, Timesheet and HR systems (to name a few). ECEM systems aggregate this data, providing standard carbon usage information for companies in your industry and area using the same devices. The normal cost of transportation for your assets is also factored in.
Then, capturing actual data, ECEM systems provide a baseline of your actual usage, comparing it to standards. ECEM systems should not, however, only be data recording systems – they should also provide practical and useful techniques for reducing your carbon footprint against your baseline.
A few examples include providing a list of the most efficient settings for your devices, suggesting changes to the timings of energy costly events or transactions, and tracking actual mileage by employee to focus on transportation efficiency. Once a baseline has been established and better practices adopted and documented, ECEM systems will give your organization real-time feedback that allow you to assess the effectiveness of your carbon reduction initiatives, allowing you to fine-tune them.
The benefits of this are many. First, your organization will be compliant with, or ready for, the many national and local carbon reduction schemes currently being introduced, examples of which are the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CDC) and requirements under the EPA Clean Air Act. Second, your organization will gain direct benefits to its bottom line through reduction of energy costs and waste. Finally, if you succeed in reducing and tracking your carbon usage, you can monetize this benefit through carbon trading markets.
ECEM systems are something highly worth considering for your business – they make sense socially, economically and operationally. Ask yourself, what has your organization been considering in this area?