Managing each aspect of a sustainability strategy—from carbon accounting and reduction targets to ongoing management and reporting—in disparate software platforms is a Sisyphean task. Businesses need one place to turn for their end-to-end sustainability program.
Every day there seems to be a new emissions management software or carbon accounting system on the market. So how do you cut through the noise, distinguish between features, and decide which one is right for your business?
Here are eight things you should consider before you decide on a solution:
1. Automatic scope 1, 2, and 3, emissions calculations
Businesses that want to take climate action must first calculate their greenhouse gas emissions across scopes 1, 2, and 3 and convert those outputs to CO2 equivalent (MT CO2e). But watch out—converting GHG emissions to CO2e can be challenging without the help of software.
Look for a platform that takes inputs like electricity consumption, waste, vehicle use, company purchases, and more and does the math automatically. Also table stakes: the functionality to track carbon emissions at different facilities and locations, month-to-month and year-over-year.
2. Guides to help reduce emissions
Emissions measurement and benchmarking are essential steps for future improvements—afterall, what gets measured gets managed. But businesses also have to have a plan and initiatives to manage and reduce their emissions.
Any sustainability platform with a robust feature set should help users understand how business behaviors impact their emissions and guide them to cut those emissions. Without that understanding, setting realistic emissions reduction goals and a net-zero target is nearly impossible.
3. Data repository and center of excellence to track progress
Businesses need their emissions data where the entire organization can find it—not in various systems, spreadsheets, and departments. When it comes time to disclose company emissions, having your data in one place, along with an audit trail of document uploads, notes, and customizable tags, saves time and money.
Along with environmental and ESG data, energy consumption, and GHG emissions, look for flexible dashboards and insights by location, team, and emission scope.
4. Accurately and efficiently assess your supply chain
Scope 1 and 2 energy-related emissions only tell part of a business’s emissions story. Many companies lack the resources to understand just how far down the value chain their emissions go. In fact, indirect scope 3 emissions often comprise 90% of a business’s carbon footprint. Yet few companies accurately account for them.
An all-in-one emissions management platform should help survey and score a business’s entire supply chain, set supplier requirements, and strengthen relationships. And to get an accurate picture of scope 3 emissions, it also needs to aid in accounting for emissions from sold products and employee behaviors.
5. Engage employees at every point on their sustainability journey—at work and home.
When it comes to workplace sustainability, highly engaged employees create a better workplace environment. But for a sustainability program to take hold, companies have to embody sustainable principles—from the entry-level employees to the c-suite. Good sustainability software should help companies engage employees both in the office and remotely.
6. Intuitive and easy-to-use so that all employees can contribute
Data-centric platforms often get a bad wrap, and rightfully so. They’re typically hard to use, look unapproachable, and require extensive onboarding periods and expensive specialists to set up. The same holds true for many sustainability platforms on the market—they’re built so only sustainability experts can utilize their functionality.
Look for a platform that doesn’t require long training and set-up times and one that fosters collaboration, not isolation. A good sustainability platform should also educate and engage stakeholders with customizable and shareable sustainability reports that offer insight into priorities and progress.
7. Help with compliance and disclosure
Until recently, emissions reporting requirements in the U.S. have been nearly nonexistent. Those days will soon be numbered, and that means thousands of companies will have to scramble to reliably record their emissions to publicly disclose to investors.
Look for a sustainability platform that aligns with the GHG Protocol and uses reliable and up-to-date emissions factors.
8. Affordability and scale
There‘s no shortage of SaaS platforms geared toward businesses looking to be carbon neutral. Prices range from free up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for enterprise solutions.
Typically, free software is geared toward personal emissions, or it will only take a business so far. And solutions on the other end of the spectrum are only affordable for the Fortune 50.
So where does that leave the majority of companies that will need to measure and disclose?
Sustain.Life is the solution. It‘s affordable, accessible, and will scale with your business. Head to our plans page to get started.