Epicor Software Corporation, the business software solutions provider for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organisations, has announced the results of its first ever global carbon accounting survey, which offers insight into the fact that despite forthcoming legislation mandating carbon accounting, most companies are still lagging in their comprehension of carbon accounting as a whole, and in the execution of said carbon accounting initiatives.
With Australia introducing the new tax legislation on carbon emissions, and new regulations soon being introduced in California, the momentum behind requiring corporate energy management is well under way. The survey, which was conducted by Epicor during August and September 2011, was designed to investigate 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 not only legal requirements for sustainability, but also what demands they meet from partners and customers.
The survey compiled responses from nearly 1,000 companies worldwide. The majority (48%) of respondents were from organisations in the manufacturing industry. Most (42%) respondents were from organis ations with 100 to 1,000 employees and organisations with $50 million in annual revenue, or less (43%).
The survey revealed that 58% of companies surveyed had not heard of the term "carbon accounting", that less than a quarter could accurately describe what the term means, and that a full 80% of companies surveyed don't monitor their company's carbon footprint.
"It's quite worrying to think that a third of all companies don't know whether they are under legal obligation to report emissions and we want to take this opportunity to urge the industry as a whole to take responsibility and help educate businesses about energy management," said Chris Purcell, product marketing manager for Epicor. "Businesses should prepare now for carbon accounting."
He explained, "Carbon reporting will happen irrespective of any personal opinions about global warming; those businesses that prepare now for the reporting that will be legally required of them in the near future will have a clear competitive advantage over laggards. Energy management is not a distraction to a company's core business. Businesses can gain cost and energy savings from sustainability investments and the growth of emission trading schemes will only increase the need for companies to understand how carbon accounting will impact their bottom line.
The survey also revealed that although the CEO is the most likely person to be responsible for a company's green strategy, 50% of companies surveyed don't have any C-level involvement at all in their carbon accounting initiatives. 85% cannot report the level of carbon their company has consumed in each of the last six months, and nearly 70% believe that they accurately account for less than 25% of their company's carbon consumption.
But not all companies are in the dark. Epicor customer HARBEC Inc., a contract injection molder and precision manufacturer located in upstate New York, recently decided the company needed to implement a more accurate and credible solution than its manual system to reach its goal of being carbon neutral by 2013.
"Ultimately we needed a monthly report of how we're doing in terms of sustainability metrics," said Bob Bechtold, president and founder of HARBEC. "Those metrics are as serious to us as other common business metrics like financial reporting."
HARBEC is also in the process of pursuing certification to the newly released ISO 50001 energy management systems standard, which requires systematic documentation of carbon emissions using solutions such as Epicor Carbon Connect. Bechtold added that many companies claim to be environmentally friendly with little or no substantiation, but this new certification and solution will give HARBEC the competitive advantage of actually proving that we are a leader in sustainability.
"Having credible documentation that comes from a robust ERP solution will allow us to quantify what we're doing," Bechtold said, "Any company can compensate for its carbon emissions by purchasing offsets, but this solution will enable HARBEC to efficiently and accurately track our carbon footprint, helping us to manage it toward zero through efficiencies and smarter power generation."
"Pursuing a green agenda and increasing operational cost savings are not mutually exclusive tasks," said Purcell. "We urge all companies to move the green agenda higher up on their corporate social responsibility (CSR) priorities. By being prepared in advance, companies can avoid potential penalties for not adhering to legislation, and also realize the strategic advantages that include operational cost savings and additional revenue streams."
A Summary of Key Survey Results
- An overwhelming majority (58%) had not heard of the term "carbon accounting"
- Less than a quarter could accurately describe what carbon accounting means
- 80% do not monitor their carbon footprint regularly
- A third don't know if their company is under legal obligation to report emissions
- While the CEO is the most likely person to be responsible for a company's carbon strategy, 50% don't have any C-level involvement at all
- The majority (85%) can't tell the level of carbon their company has consumed in each of the last six months
- More than half think carbon accounting has impacted their business positively
- Nearly 70% believe they accurately account for less than 25% of their carbon consumption
Purcell concluded, "Epicor is committed to the global emerging green market and we support forward looking businesses who embrace technology to get ahead of the curve of regulatory compliance, while providing efficiencies that will ultimately reduce costs and drive business performance."