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Survey Says: Most Companies Lagging in Carbon Accounting Comprehension and Execution

Last week we announced the results of our first ever global carbon accounting survey. The goal of the survey was to gain insight into the ability and willingness of companies to identify their greenhouse gas emissions; to find out how they technically capture emissions; and to clarify the extent to which companies have to meet legal requirements for sustainability, as well as partner and customer demands in this arena.

The results – compiled from nearly 1000 companies surveyed across the globe – were pretty astounding. Fifty-eight percent of companies surveyed had not even heard of the term “carbon accounting”; less than a third could accurately describe what the term means, and a full 80% of companies surveyed don’t monitor their company’s carbon footprint.

So why are companies lagging in their comprehension of carbon accounting as a whole, and in the execution of said carbon accounting initiatives?

One reason is many companies see carbon accounting or energy management efforts as a distraction rather than something they can quickly and easily quantify. I also think there is some cynicism out there colored by individuals’ own personal opinions. Many people feel the whole carbon issue equates to acceptance of science behind global warming. Irrespective of your views on the science, if you choose not to believe it and bury your head in the sand, you do so at the risk of putting your organisation at a competitive disadvantage.  Legislation is here and if you are not mandated by it now, it will be coming your way.

Done right, carbon accounting can be a part of your normal course of business – not an extra task – and like other GRC initiatives; it has the potential to create process efficiencies for operational cost savings.

Another hurdle for carbon accounting is many companies don’t realize the significance of monetizing these efforts. What’s more, the trading of carbon credits is often way outside of their core business role. It’s a new skill set/competency that most people flat out don’t have – but expect to see the job market heat up over the next few years in The New Carbon Economy. Major financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, Berkeley's and Citi Bank, already have carbon trading desks in London, the commodity market for carbon offsets, is the fastest growing commodity market in the world with companies buying and selling carbon credits like pork bellies or silver.

At the point when the economies of the world were in a more robust state, green initiatives and carbon were a lot higher up on both media and corporate agendas. But as the downturn took hold, organizations started looking inwards at themselves and less at their green credentials. However operational cost savings and a green corporate agenda are not mutually exclusive. By managing your operations in an energy efficient manner, there’s tremendous financial upside in the form of operational cost savings, and also possible increased revenues – not to mention compliance, as there’s going to be a “train” of increasing compliance requirements in this arena. We say – get ahead of the curve – start following it now. Compliance is actually a byproduct – you’ll actually save your company money and open up a whole new revenue stream.

Posted by Chris Purcell, Product Marketing Manager, Epicor

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