Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA)
In last week’s Traditional Energy Audits Are So Yesterday we noted that the recently introduced ISO 50001 energy management standard may help companies establish their own energy management process. Where audits are a snapshot look at usage, ISO 50001 gives them a “Plan-Do-Check-Act” framework for energy usage in their business.
But as with any new standard, a lot of folks are trying to quickly figure out what it is, what it requires and what it means to them.
As a reference, it’s interesting to consider what happened in 2003, when the Carbon Disclosure Project issued its first request for climate reporting. Social impact reporting was a newer concept then, but some early adopters latched on to CDP’s offer, with over 200+ organizations reporting that first year. Within three years 900+ companies were responding, by 2008 2,200+, and today there are over 3,000 in over 60 countries. Along the way CDP itself has been providing guidance and interpretations for these organizations, as have a broad range of environmental consulting companies.
With the economy still challenged and many companies now recognizing that focusing on energy use is sustainability that pays a financial return, maybe we’ll see similar hockey stick adoption for ISO 50001?
Perhaps as a strong leading indicator, several companies have already announced their adoption, with Schneider Electric noting that their world headquarters is the first building to earn ISO 50001 certification.
Also, if you’re trying to figure out the what it is, what it requires and what it means question, here is a useful white paper and even the DOE has a getting started website up now.
In 2008, when Groom Energy named and published the first report on “Enterprise Carbon Accounting” (ECA) the corporate world was just starting to track their GHG emissions as a new metric for their company’s sustainability efforts. The financial markets hadn’t yet collapsed and EHS managers were using speadsheets to build GHG baselines and begin regular reporting to the EPA’s Climate Leaders and the Carbon Disclosure Project. We tracked initially 40, and later 75, software vendors with GHG tracking and reporting solutions for this new market.
My how the world changes.
Today energy has risen front and center as the primary method for both saving money AND tracking environmental progress by these same companies. Accordingly in our newly released report today we rename this category Enterprise Energy and Carbon Accounting (EECA) and begin the next chapter of tracking this new market’s growth, challenges, our customer’s learnings and the leading vendors.
Our analysis concludes that the EECA market is growing at 3oo%. So don’t be surprised when our list of vendors grows as well – I predict we’ll cross 100 in the next few weeks.
This morning Jeffrey Hollender, the Chairman of Seventh Generation, gave the keynote for our Green Enterprise 2010 Seminar.
One powerful concept he described was “full cost” sustainability accounting whereby companies are required to include their external environmental costs (ie. things like pollution or resource consumption) into their corporate earnings. Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve excited to announce our next Groom Energy seminar, entitled Green Enterprise 2010, which will be held April 15th at the Embassy Suites Hotel near Boston’s Logan Airport.
As with our previous seminars our target audience remains corporate energy and sustainability managers who wish to hear and discuss best practices, case study based observations.
Last year our first two seminars had a direct focus on the emerging market for Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA), a market we had identified and about which we published research. Our February 25th Boston ECA event featured Mindy Lubber from Ceres who likened climate impact to an off balance sheet risk which should be disclosed by public companies. Our follow-on May 14th San Francisco ECA event was highlighted by a practical case study panel with presentations from Applied Materials, HP, Intuit and Sony. Read the rest of this entry »
The basis for our research report started back in 2006. At that time, as Groom Energy engineers were working with a F500 customer to build a GHG reduction budget, it occured to us that GHG tracking and reporting would eventually represent a fundamentally new process within every large company. Even by then, staying on top of reporting for the EPA’s Climate Leaders was requiring more and more time for our customers. It was no surprise that spreadsheet tools were not going to scale – but it was the collaboration necessary to even gather and manage the data where the gap was most obvious.
What most people don’t know is that we even made a concerted effort to start our own Groom Energy spin-out GHG software company. We had surveyed the market through our customers, found only a few third party software packages, and thought we saw a path to a new class of enterprise software, calling it “enterprise carbon accounting” or ECA for short. (all new markets need a name, right?)
Within a few months we had detailed the basic software functionality and even recruited a software team to start building it. After several initial meetings with traditional software VC’s in Boston (most of whom couldn’t spell G-H-G, but all of whom understood enterprise software) we sensed it was going to be a long slog to get early stage funding based on our powerpoint-ware. Either we had bad breath, couldn’t convey the opportunity correctly or needed to live on Sand Hill Road…
Within a few months of our effort we starting uncovering more new ECA vendors, some established EHS vendors with GHG extensions, some VC funded pure start ups, some larger software companies who added GHG modules. It seemed each week we were adding a new entrant to our wiki list, which was more and more daunting. At 10 known players we were concerned. At 20, we knew were were too late and abandoned our effort. At 30, we knew that our customers were just as overwhelmed trying to understand the offerings, all while building their own strategies internally.
And hence the idea for our ECA research report was born. We saw that the best way to leverage our effort was to help our customers with a more concrete deliverable – customer based research which could be regularly updated as the market developed. Not as profound as an entirely new company, but worthwhile nonetheless. The good news is that market response has been a bit overwhelming…
Check out the latest report and, if you’re an entrepreneur considering your own ECA software start up, study the vendor list carefully – its up to 60 and still going….