Don’t panic - carbon accounting can be a small step rather than a giant leap says TechnologyOne

TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE) has predicted that implementing a carbon accounting system to meet existing and future legislative requirements is easier than most organisations believe.

As both politicians and business organisations emphasise the huge costs involved in implementing a carbon accounting system, TechnologyOne is already helping a number of customers take the first small step without breaking their budgets.

Executive Chairman Adrian Di Marco said that while TechnologyOne could not speculate about the price of carbon, the actual reporting process need not be too onerous or expensive.

"Many organisations already capture much of the information needed to report on their carbon emissions, they just need to find a way to report and act on that information.

"One way to look at this is that it is like a profit and loss report, which every business has to do, only with energy and emissions rather than dollars," Mr Di Marco said.

"In many cases, it is not necessary to replace systems and start again, or to buy specialist carbon accounting software; a lot of organisations should be able to work with what they already have to capture and analyse data.

"Armed with the information, it is easy to see where savings can be made, just like agreeing on a financial budget, organisations can set an emissions budget."

TechnologyOne's ‘out of the box' Business Intelligence product can collate all the relevant information from an organisation's other software systems, enabling it to measure and report on its carbon emissions.

"A number of our customers are already using Business Intelligence alongside other products such as Financials, Supply Chain and Enterprise Budgeting to put climate change action plans in place," Mr Di Marco said.

TechnologyOne's simple five point ‘don't panic' plan for organisations wanting to get ahead of the game and prepare for the inevitable requirement to monitor carbon emissions is as follows:

  1. Understand your inputs that are generating carbon - the simple ones will be fleet cars, air conditioning and lighting while the less obvious ones could include employees travelling to and from work or delivery of office supplies.
  2. Analyse your data capture system - look at where you are capturing that information such as accounting (e.g. electricity and gas bills), payroll or fleet systems, and find out if are you recording the right information to calculate carbon credits such as kilowatts or litres of petrol. If not, change how you use the system so that it does capture this information as part of your normal processes. This can be easily done in many software systems.
  3. Start regular reports - once the data is captured it is just a matter of reporting by converting the measurements to carbon equivalents.  Each State Government has published its own emissions factors to help you do this. For example, NSW's emissions factor is 0.89 kg CO2-e/kWh so a company using 100,000 kWh of purchased electricity from the grid is emitting an estimated 89 tonnes of CO2.
  4. Arm yourself with the facts and use this to change your organisational culture - build up historical records for comparison purposes and to benchmark against other similar organisations.  Wherever possible use real time monitoring to allow you to take action as needed.  Share this with the whole organisation - awareness of your emissions and a shared ambition to reduce them will become part of your organisational culture.  
  5. Put a plan in place - Using strategic planning tools you can develop and implement long term plans to actively reduce your emissions over time.  This will complement your ongoing measurement and reporting.

As Lord Kelvin said, "If you cannot measure it, you can not improve it."