Businesses are starting to adapt to the prevalence of sustainability by setting targets to reduce their carbon footprint. This has led to a surge in the number of companies offering decarbonisation services. To help find the correct one for your business, this article explores Sustainable Future New’s top picks for the best carbon accounting tools.
What is carbon accounting software?
Carbon accounting software is a tool that helps organisations track, quantify, and manage their greenhouse gas emissions and is essential for businesses that want to reduce their environmental impact and easily aggregate emission related data for non-financial reports.
How does carbon accounting software work?
Carbon accounting software works by collecting data on an organisation’s emissions from all sources, also known as Scope 1, 2, and 3. These include direct emissions from its operations (Scope 1), indirect emissions from purchased electricity and heat (Scope 2), and indirect emissions from its supply chain (Scope 3). Once the data is collected, the software calculates the organisation’s total carbon footprint.
What are the benefits of using carbon accounting software?
There are many benefits for a business using carbon accounting software:
- Reducing environmental impact: By tracking and managing their emissions, organisations can identify areas where they can reduce their environmental impact – you need to measure it to manage it.
- Improving compliance: Carbon accounting software can help organisations comply with emissions reporting regulations, both voluntary and mandatory, such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).
- Enhancing reputation: Increasingly, consumers and investors are looking to do business with companies that are committed to sustainability. Carbon accounting software can help organisations demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and build a positive reputation.
- Better decision-making: Carbon accounting software provides organisations with the data they need to make informed decisions about their operations and investments. For example, the software can be used to identify the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions, or the cost benefit of doing so.
Carbon accounting software vs. ESG software
Carbon accounting software is focused specifically on tracking and managing greenhouse gas emissions. ESG software, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses all environmental, social, and governance factors.
ESG software can include features such as carbon accounting, but it may also include features such as employee diversity and inclusion tracking, sustainable sourcing, and corporate social responsibility reporting.
Key features to look for in carbon accounting software
When choosing carbon accounting software, the most important top top-level level factors to think about are:
- Detail orientated: The software should be able to calculate your emissions accurately and precisely.
- Broad field of view: The software should be able to track your emissions across all scopes and all aspects of your business operations (Scope 1, 2, and 3).
- Easy to use: The software should be user-friendly and intuitive, so you can easily understand your emissions data and take action to reduce them.
In addition, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Market experience: Due to the ever-evolving emissions accounting landscape, industry track record matters. Choose a provider with relevant experience, know-how, and a long-term approach to sustainable solutions.
- Relevant industry partnerships: A strong ecosystem of industry partnerships is a good indicator of a provider’s industry knowledge, support capability, and ability to cater to current and future climate change and emissions needs. Examples include the Science Based Targets initiative and Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
- Reporting and analytics: Comprehensive emissions data, benchmark reporting, and energy consumption rate tracking are essential features. These features help organisations establish frameworks for carbon reduction and track their progress.
Here are some additional tips for choosing carbon accounting software:
- Make sure the software meets your needs: Consider the size of your organisation, the complexity of your operations, and your emissions reduction goals.
- Compare the features and pricing of different solutions: There are various carbon accounting software solutions available, so it’s important to compare your options carefully.
- Get feedback from other users: Read reviews and talk to other organisations that are using carbon accounting software to get their insights. You may also be able to trial the software to see if it meets your needs.
By following these tips, you can choose the best carbon accounting software for your needs and help your organisation achieve its sustainability goals.
The top 10 carbon accounting software
So, with the above all taken into account, we come to our list of the top 10 carbon accounting software packages out there. There are a significant number of carbon accounting options available, and the “best” software will depend on your company’s specific needs and budget.
However, below are our picks for the best carbon accounting tools options that are widely recognised for their capabilities and user-friendly interfaces, that may be worth a look at.
Carbon Intelligence (formerly Carbon Credentials) is a subsidiary of professional services provider Accenture, and is committed to assisting some of the world’s largest corporations in setting and achieving ambitious sustainability targets.
With a deep understanding of the science-based target setting process, Carbon Intelligence was the first official science-based target partner for the global disclosure not-for-profit, CDP. In 2022, 100% of its clients received A or B CDP scores, highlighting the effectiveness of its services in supporting clients’ sustainability objectives.
At the time of writing, the company has saved 182,000 tons of carbon over the past 8 months and helped set the world’s first 1.5 °C-aligned corporate science-based target for Tesco. Other clients of the company include Aviva, Unilever, BT, Vodafone, PWC, Pukka, National Trust and Yorkshire Water.
Originally named Offset Earth and later renamed, Ecologi was founded in 2018 as a platform to empower consumers and businesses to support climate projects and offset their carbon footprint via a monthly subscription. Since then, it has grown in scale significantly, earned B Corp certification, and even introduced a fresh offering named Ecologi Zero.
Ecologi Zero helps businesses calculate their carbon footprint and identify avenues for reducing their emissions, and the best part – it’s completely free. The innovative app utilises Xero accounting data to provide businesses with a comprehensive overview of their carbon reduction progress, enabling them to chart a course towards achieving their net zero objectives.
As of now, the emissions calculator tool is in BETA and is particularly suited to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with up to 100 employees operating primarily in the services industry. However, Ecologi is continuously expanding its capabilities and working towards making its tools accessible to businesses of all sizes and industries.
Another start up, only founded in 2019, Greenly makes carbon management simple and intuitive for companies of all sizes and every industry, allowing them to fast-track the transition to a net zero carbon economy.
Greenly enables companies to measure, monitor, reduce and offset their carbon footprint based on international carbon accounting standards such as the GHG Protocol, while engaging their ecosystem, from employees to suppliers, on their climate journey.
Greenly’s technology automates data collection & carbon analytics through integrations with over 100 enterprise software products, including accounting, travel, cloud data, and electricity vendors. As such, the company is disrupting a market typically dominated by large consultancies performing ad-hoc assignments for enterprises.
More than 1000 companies have already worked with Greenly to effectively reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and with a stellar 4.7 rating on Trustpilot, it is no surprise that Greenly has made our list as one of the best carbon accounting tools available.
ENGIE Impact serves as the sustainability consulting branch of the French-based multinational utility firm, ENGIE. The organisation is committed to expediting the shift towards a carbon-neutral planet by promoting energy conservation and eco-friendly solutions.
The ‘Impact’ accounting arm was created in 2019 and now has operations running in North America, Latin America and several European countries, as well as Asia and Australia. ENGIE Impact partners with corporations, governments, and municipalities worldwide to implement the necessary transformations to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve their goals on the path to net zero. This includes establishing actionable roadmaps to managing on-the-ground execution.
We recently spoke with Mark Chadwick, managing director at ENGIE Impact, to learn about their latest impact report and his invaluable insights into achieving success when delivering on net zero decarbonisation commitments.
ENGIE Impacts clients include Lego, Capital One, WeWork, and FedEx.
Sphera is a renowned global provider of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) software, data, and consulting services that specialise in Environment, Health, Safety, and Sustainability (EHS&S), Operational Risk Management, and Product Stewardship. Formed in 2016, the company was purchased in 2021 by the world’s largest alternative asset management firm, Blackstone.
Their team of experts collaborate with organisations worldwide to identify and mitigate risks, reduce emissions, and foster sustainable practices. With a focus on empowering businesses to manage ESG performance and risk, Sphera provides tailored solutions to help organisations achieve their sustainability goals.
Sphera collaborates with third-party providers, including ERM, pwc, and SAP to deliver unparalleled expertise to end clients. By offering comprehensive decision-making support, consulting services, and value-added implementation services, Sphera ensures that clients receive the most effective solutions tailored to their unique needs.
Sustain.Life is a software platform that helps businesses of all sizes measure and reduce their environmental impact. Founded by three former Walmart executives and an ESG expert, Sustain.Life’s solution is uniquely designed to make taking climate action easier and more affordable.
With its easy-to-use interface, Sustain.Life allows businesses to quickly and easily create customised emissions reduction plans based on their carbon footprint. The software also provides businesses with access to a wealth of resources and support, including a team of experienced sustainability experts.
Earlier this year, Sustain.Life announced its partnership with the UN Global Compact Network USA, the US chapter of the UN Global Compact, in order to reduce the environmental footprint of its events.
Microsoft Sustainability Cloud
By this point, Microsoft needs no introduction. However, Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is part of a growing set of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) capabilities from Microsoft and its partners, including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.
It offers a blend of data intake methods—from manual input or file imports to automated, direct connections to data sources—to collect data from any business, enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, or platform.
Recently, Microsoft introduced an integration with supply chain ratings firm EcoVadis, which allows users to track how suppliers are progressing on their sustainability programs, and compare suppliers to select those in line with their sustainability goals.
While MCS covers the entire ESG spectrum, it may be too broad for companies singularly focused on carbon accounting.
Net Zero Cloud by Salesforce
Net Zero Cloud is a cloud-based emissions accounting platform built on Salesforce’s automation, language support, and integration features. These features make it a powerful tool for emissions reporting, but they also come with some limitations due to Net Zero Cloud’s reliance on Salesforce’s existing data schema, which was not originally built for emissions accounting.
One of the benefits of Salesforce comes in its ability to work seamlessly with other Salesforce solutions, such as Tableau CRM, Slack, and Sales Cloud.
Net Zero Cloud also forms part of a collaboration between Deloitte, AT&T, and Salesforce to develop tools that help organisations streamline ESG data collection, improve data integrity, and identify sustainability improvement opportunities. It can also help organisations comply with evolving ESG regulations and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability to stakeholders.
Diligent, a US-based governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) software company founded in 1994, acquired Accuvio, a legacy ESG vendor based in Ireland, in 2021. Together, they aim to strengthen governance by streamlining risk, compliance, cost savings, and auditing from a single platform.
Diligent ESG provides climate leadership certification, sustainability and ESG reporting, and compliance management tools. It automatically collates your data and can produce up to 80 different pre-configured audit-ready reports, presenting a single source of truth for your organisation.
Companies using Diligents platform include Barclays, Mastercard, and Heiniken.
Plan A’s Sustainability Platform is a self-service tool that helps businesses achieve their net zero goals. It automatically collects and maps all necessary data across Scopes 1, 2, and 3, merges it with national emission factors and datasets, and provides granular emissions profiles and ESG insights in dynamic dashboard overviews.
In addition to tracking emissions, the tool helps businesses create decarbonisation strategies aligned with internationally recognised scientific methodologies and standards such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
Plan A recently closed a $27M funding round, which it plans to use to expand its presence in the French, UK, and Scandinavian markets, double its headcount, and enhance its platform’s decarbonisation tooling, Scope 3 data processing, and reporting capabilities.
Which carbon accounting tool should you choose?
There you have it, our picks for the best carbon accounting tools of 2023. However, choosing the right tool for your carbon management needs requires careful consideration of several factors, such as your specific requirements and budget constraints.
Most carbon management organisations share the common goal of helping you measure, track, and reduce your carbon emissions. Additionally, many of them offer offset services to help you neutralise any remaining emissions.
The services offered by these organisations are constantly evolving, as such, it is always best to speak with them directly to understand how they can help your business achieve its sustainability goals.
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