Corporate carbon knowledge is the first step in reduction

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Yesterday, I wrote about the attitude shift that needs to happen at the corporate level for green tech to have a fighting chance. Since most CXO types are really, ultimately, focused on the bottom line, the only real way to get their attention is by showing them the numbers. And that’s where a new class of enterprise dashboard software intended to let companies document and manage their greenhouse gas emissions (aka carbon) comes in.

“We help companies think of carbon as an asset or a liability,” says Michael Meehan, founder and CEO of Carbonetworks, one of the most visible of green tech players offering environmental management software.

Meehan, who hails from Victoria, British Columbia, figures there are five steps companies need to climb on their way to getting a better grip on their carbon position:

1. Measure actual carbon emissions and document where it’s coming from. What’s true for one division may not be true for another.
2. Understand how your carbon position relates to core business values. In other words, how would reducing your company’s footprint affect profitability?
3. Gauge the financial liability/value associated with your company’s greenhouse emissions.
4. Assess the impact of various reduction strategies across the entire company. Sometimes, something that may seem like a great idea for one division may have a detrimental effect on the company as a whole.
5. Link up with verified offset providers to take action.

Carbonetworks software is provided as a service that lets you do stuff like calculate your company’s carbon balance sheet or trade carbon credits from verified providers on its marketplace. The company currently has about 3,450 subscribers. Meehan wouldn’t really get into pricing details when I chatted with him a few weeks ago, but he says that pricing actually is tied to the amount of carbon emissions that your company produces. The more you produce, the more you pay. As you reduce your position, you’ll see your charges go down.

Incidentally, if you’re wondering what you can do from an individual standpoint, here’s a list of some of the more active carbon offset providers and resources. In no particular order:

  • Carbonfund
  • CarbonNeutral
  • Terrapass
  • SaveGreenEarth

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