April 22nd falls the Earth Day. The theme for this year Earth Day is Climate Action. I remember writing an article in the year 2009 highlighting the greenhouse gas management how it is will benefit the organizations. Years passed by still we are debating for global climate changes and their impacts. Recent economic downturn has pushed it even further down. There are many reports which advocate pushing economy forward and Climate changes and circular economy principles to the back seat. Infact the current scenario is an exceptionally good reason why companies should consider going green and implementing changes which result in reduction in emissions and economy. It is not just business opportunity, corporate brand and Competitive advantage are the top three drivers but the current economic conditions is an opportunity for companies to reshape themselves with lot more innovation for sustainability for outperforming their competitors”, taking right steps now will save money in the long run!. It is estimated that nearly 22% of emissions are originated from manufacturing sectors.
Companies are infact collecting the data for competitive advantage and for maintaining market reputation. However, several hallmark regulations are emerging right now, with some states regulating carbon dioxide emissions ahead of the Environmental Protection agencies. Some included it to mandatorily report annual GHG emissions from facilities. Not only regulations are driving Greenhouse gas management, even companies are also feeling the pressure on financial side, shareholders, insurance firms, lenders and rating companies increasingly wants to see emission reduction and accountability via reports. It is not that companies are not investing in GHG management. There are many reports which suggest that companies are investing in alternative energy sources, designing ecofriendly products, and even reducing emissions during manufacturing by raw materials changes and even redesigning plant floor equipment.
However, the question remains what is the optimum software solution that can take up this challenge of tracking Corporate GHG emissions Inventory. The near-term software solutions should aim at helping companies assess their risk, inventory emissions, develop corporate strategies, engineer greenhouse gas and energy management measures, and identify emissions offset opportunities. The companies should aim at 1) Calculate emissions from sources that company owns or controls 2) Emissions associated with the generation of electricity, steam, or heat purchased or consumed and 3) Emissions from Waste disposal, business travel and employee computing. From a software point of view the solution should support companies to i) Establish Emission Inventory Capability ii) Assess Internal options for Emission Reduction iii) Assess external options iv) Purchase options and v) Develop some long term Enterprise Sustainability strategy and support in Trading platform.
Now coming to the IT tool which can meet such requirement, it needs a holistic approach not just a piecemeal approach of collecting material consumptions, applying emission factors, and multiplying the generate the GHG emission. It needs much more than that, applying GHG principles while designing the product right from inception and its GHG / Emission calculations. Transportation management which considers emissions to environment and fuel consumption and alternative paths and might include the sourcing or distribution planning as well. It needs to incorporate Accounting ability and financial settlements, generate reporting and derive analytics. On a day to operations, systems needs to integrate periodic monitoring using CEMS and its data collection and slicing and dicing the data to derive insights using various analytics tools. Ability to assess the recycling of materials, processes and packaging and supporting the purchase ability to incorporate supplier selection criterion which are based on predefined checklist of questionnaires related to GHG / Sustainability principles. Other big data and machine learning abilities which will help in GHG emissions include studying Energy efficiencies in manufacturing shop floor, asset utilization and maintenance principles and to what extent IT resources are consumed like cloud or server less deployments.
So now the questions are how companies get there given that current economic situation does not give companies give freedom to implement at will. One of the trends in any downturn is ability to invest in technology and use Existing IT resources to create business processes, IT Landscape identification and targeting low hanging fruits like implementation of Stand alone GHG Management software like Emission Management. Implementing such systems one can make use of key personal from business along with IT personal to chalk the master data requirements, collect data, identify calculation requirements and integration of CEMS data etc. This will not only help companies build intellectual knowledge on GHG management strategies which are vague in literature, achieve long term goals but also build employee morale, cost savings and most importantly thrive Post Corona Period.