Friday, 20 February 2009

Rackspace Announces Business Carbon Calculator

Another carbon calculator is coming, this time from Rackspace "the world’s leader in hosting". The company has announced new tools to help customers assess and reduce their environmental impacts. It's part of Rackspace’s Greenspace initiative, which was launched in 2007.

The carbon calculator was developed for Rackspace by NativeEnergy, a carbon offsets and emission reductions organisation. Customers can also access Greenspace web resources to learn more about climate change and effective steps they can take to reduce their carbon impact, including the purchase of carbon offsets.

Whilst anything that vendors can do to help make their customers more aware of their carbon emissions and to address the issue is good, I have some reservations about the plethora of carbon solutions out there (although I can't speak specifically about the Rackspace offering as I don't have any details).

The assessment of carbon emissions is a detailed and complex issue and the standards, methodology and metrics used can and will vary. Going a stage further and offering potential solutions can be even more complicated in the context of individual companies; it depends on the nature of the business and trade-offs between business procedures and processes. Simple indications of where power use can be cut (which you would have thought most companies are aware of by now) are useful for one-off, often short-term reductions but not for achieving and maintaining any ambitions, long-term targets.

My point is that any company looking to seriously manage its emissions may be better looking for a dedicated solution from an independent supplier. There are a few out there with comprehensive offerings that also provide users with effective what-if scenarios to manage emissions. (One is Greenstone Carbon Management in the UK which I visited this week - more of that in another post).

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