More and more companies are starting to measure and reduce their carbon footprint, either because they are required to do so, or because they anticipate tangible positive benefits (reduced costs, competitive advantage over competitors, improved employer brand image, etc.).
Some use Excel or specialist solutions, while others prefer to develop their own carbon footprint calculator.
What reasons might prompt a company to create its own carbon footprint calculator? What are the advantages and risks?
Developing your own carbon footprint calculator
There are three main reasons for a company to develop its carbon footprint calculator:
- To use a solution that is perfectly suited to its needs
- To take advantage of a connection integrated directly into its information system,
- Be able to upgrade your software over time, according to your needs.
A tailor-made solution for your business
Developing your carbon footprint calculator
Once all the company’s processes have been inventoried and the company’s future plans have been taken into account (product or service launches, new distribution channels, creation of subsidiaries, etc.), all that remains is to develop the software itself, which will provide the company with a tailor-made solution for carrying out its carbon footprint.
Interfaces and a database will have to be created, and the expected behaviours defined, not to mention the testing phases.
So, while in theory, this option sounds tempting, the reality is quite different. It involves gathering a considerable amount of information and configuring the software to integrate this data exhaustively. This represents a considerable investment, probably unrelated to the organisation’s core business.
Platforms that can be adapted to changing needs
Over time, changes occur in the company’s structure and operations. So platforms developed in-house will be scalable and can be adapted to the organisation’s new needs.
This could be, for example:
- The launch of new products in manufacturing and/or marketing;
- A change in manufacturing and/or marketing processes;
- The opening of subsidiaries abroad, involving the management of carbon footprints in compliance with carbon accounting standards and encompassing the various scopes involved;
- The integration into the group of companies involved upstream or downstream of production;
- The large-scale replacement of production equipment and the company’s vehicle fleet
- Setting up a car-sharing policy for employees, etc.
What are the disadvantages compared with standard software?
Developing your carbon footprint calculator can cost anywhere from several thousand to several million euros. This is why this solution is generally reserved for large companies.
Developing your carbon footprint calculator requires considerable resources
Since a carbon footprint is the sum of the CO2-equivalent emissions of each activity of an organisation, a large amount of data will need to be gathered, in particular all the emissions factors used to convert the organisation’s emitting activities into tonnes of CO2-equivalent.
In addition to the massive amount of data that needs to be collected, the company must have significant resources (resources and time) and specific technical expertise that it rarely has in-house.
Given that a carbon footprint calculator must be capable of modelling the various aspects of greenhouse gas emissions linked to the company’s activities and those of its suppliers and distributors, this also means understanding the appropriate calculation methods, taking into account industry-specific emission factors and making accurate calculations.
Developing your carbon footprint calculator is time-consuming
Given the scope and complexity of the task, making your carbon footprint calculator requires real project management and considerable investment.
In addition to collecting the data, it is necessary to:
- Analyse requirements;
- Design the software architecture, define data structure, plan the functionalities and create a development roadmap;
- Program, create the functionalities, database management and integration of the various components;
- Test and resolve any bugs;
- Deploying the software within the company (installation, configuration and user training).
Furthermore, in Europe, there is a growing trend towards mandating that medium-sized and large companies disclose their carbon footprint, exemplified by the CSRD directive set to come into force in 2024. Consequently, an urgent need exists for companies to adhere to these regulations, particularly for those that have not yet published their carbon footprint and lack the time to develop the necessary software to meet this impending deadline.
Developing your carbon footprint calculator requires several conditions that are difficult to meet in-house, namely having a team qualified in both programming and carbon footprint methodology.
This is why it is often more appropriate to opt for a carbon footprint calculator developed by a specialist company such as D-Carbonize.
An external solution offers greater flexibility and evolves more quickly than in-house software because:
- It is a complete solution that is already certified compliant,
- It is developed by specialists who carry out continuous monitoring and regularly develop updates including evolutions and improvements.
As a result, all the scopes of the carbon footprint are covered, making it easier in the long term to reduce the company’s carbon footprint on as large a scale as possible.
Reduce your company’s carbon footprint by booking a demo with our experts at D-Carbonize.