Monday, 16 August 2010

Excel is not good enough for sustainability reporting – US survey

Sustainability consulting company iReuse recently carried out a US survey to find out which sustainability metrics were being tracked, which were most important and how data was being managed. Responses came from a variety of job titles, including facilities managers, sustainability directors, administrators and marketing professionals.

The short report is here, but one of the conclusions is that while managing electricity use and data tracking is seen as critical, a significant number still do not track any other utility or sustainability data. For those that do track the data, Excel‐based systems are most often used but many are looking for solutions that are easier to use and more sophisticated in the interpretation of the data.

Among the key findings were:

• In only two areas were more than half the respondents tracking utility data - electricity (72%) and water (51%).

• The facilities department is most often tracking the data - 44% of respondents. The sustainability department was responsible in 24% of cases followed by accounts (16%).



• 46% do not track any other sustainability metrics such as green
purchasing, business travel or a carbon footprint.

• Excel is most often used (86%) to track utility data, but two thirds are not satisfied with its capabilities.


Once again a report that highlights the huge potential for sustainability reporting solutions, because of their still limited use and the dissatisfaction with the tools that are being used.

The main reasons given for tracking data were to increase efficiency and decrease environmental impact - carbon reporting was among the least important reasons. As yet the reporting aspects of carbon legislation are not an issue in the US, as they are becoming in the UK and Europe. Indeed, while the European market is being pushed towards carbon management it may well be that the US market has a broader sustainability profile.

© The Green IT Review

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