Green:Net: Carbon Gives a 'Lens Into Inefficiency'

Carbon pricing will become an important part of corporate accounting, particularly in markets where energy emissions are regulated or in industries in which organizations might have to disclose risks associated with their carbon footprint. But regardless of the actual price of carbon, executives at today’s Green:Net conference said that carbon software can give companies a view into other inefficiencies in their operations.

“Independent of there being a price on carbon as determined by regulation or markets, carbon is a very useful lens through which to view operational inefficiency — and in particular, inefficiency or waste up and down the supply chain,” said Jim Davis, executive director for Sustainability, Climate and Energy at SAP (S sap). “There’s a lot of things companies can do, independent of the price of carbon, that make great business sense.”

For the most part, the executives speaking about carbon pricing agreed that the industry is moving beyond just determining the carbon footprint of organizations, to helping them determine risks associated with carbon and looking up and down the supply chain to reduce their carbon emissions. In part, that’s because what’s driving organizations to begin calculating carbon use is not government regulation, but a growing awareness of the returns that can be associated with more efficient energy usage.

“Why are companies doing this? At the end of the day, it’s about energy efficiency and cost-saving opportunities,” Udo Waibel, CTO and co-founder of carbon management firm Hara. “They’re seeking a tangible return on investment, which helps to drive more awareness.”

As a result, carbon pricing is becoming more important to multiple parts of the organization. Gavin Starks, founder and CEO of AMEE, said his company is now having conversations with customers coming from the office of the CFO and the office of the CTO. “That’s a part of evolution of the industry — it looks at every part of the organization,” Starks said.

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