The 2010/11/30 at 14:24
Regulatory restrictions and sustainable development are proving to be formidable levers of growth for carbon management software editors. According to Pike Research, a US analysis firm specialising in clean technology, the carbon emission management market is to undergo 40% growth by 2017. In 2009, global sales of software and services already reached 380 million dollars (281 million euros).
In France, the requirement for businesses with over 500 employees to carry out a carbon assessment by 31 December 2012 and for this to be updated every three years, is going to pull the market up – a real boom for carbon management software editors. Amongst the best known are Carbon Hub and Greenstone Carbon Management from Britain, Enviance from the US, ENX from Canada and Enablon and Verteego from France.
Of course, major ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) editors are among the ranks. SAP has its own module thanks to the takeover of Clear Standards. Meanwhile, Sage integrates a functionality delivered by Verteego in its ERP. This panorama will be gradually enhanced by the arrival of dedicated modules integrated into activity-specific software. This is the case for PTC and DS Solidworks Corp., two major PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) editors. “All these software programmes include a method for counting greenhouse gas emission,” explains Laurence Gouthière, in charge of coordinating and diffusing Bilan Carbone® at ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency). The most widely used by international groups being GreenHouse Gas Protocol, compatible with the ISO14064 (environmental management) standard. The same goes for the Bilan Carbone® method adopted in France.
This type of software also includes a convertor translating into CO2 the physical flows generated by business activity, such as energy consumption in plants and buildings, kilometres covered by employees and goods… As may be expected, figures represent a certain degree of uncertainty given that emission factors are based on average values. So be it. “The main thing is to base oneself on a starting level which will act as a reference for carrying out initiatives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” believes Thierry Rudowski, co-founder of Zen’to, an integrator specialising in carbon management software.
Information can be gathered either by hand, if the company does not have a specialised spreadsheet programme such as Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc – as offered by the Bilan Carbone® elaborated by ADEME, or automatically. The highest-performance software collects data from any ERP. Enablon and Verteego even recuperate information gathered by sensors.
Data collected then feeds reporting dashboards. Users can thus visualise the priority actions they will need to carry out. “Our analytical approach allows users to work how much carbon is produced and what consumes the most,” explains Jérôme Cornillet, Head of Sustainable Development Offers at SAS, a management software editor. “The tool then evaluates in which activities actions will be the most profitable.”
SAP excels on this terrain. “As well as financial and marketing dashboards, our software delivers a financial simulation tool for carbon management,” points out Hélène Joubert, Head of Sustainable Development Solutions at SAP. “So the user can envisage the impact of price rises in raw materials, put actions into an order of priority and steer them,” pursues the specialist who reminds that the environment is now a major criteria in the measurement of a business’s financial performance.
Mainly available in SaaS (Software as a Service by Internet rental) mode, with rates ranging from 7,000 to several tens of thousands of euros for a group of 500 persons and depending on the number of applications, the use of this type of software pays itself off within one year. Major perks to gain are cuts in energy expenses, as well as the anticipation of financial risks. Users can simulate petrol or gas price rises and immediately get an idea of the impact on their margins. Hence Carbon Hub’s idea of adding a social network to its tool. In such a way that energy reduction projects can be carried out collaboratively, for greater effectiveness.