Greenstone’s offering has been enhanced in three general areas. Firstly, it now incorporates supply chain and product carbon footprinting capabilities, apparently it’s in response to the pressure that FMCG companies have been putting on their suppliers to provide information on environmental performance indicators. Secondly, offset and allowance management has been included so that voluntary carbon credits purchased can be recorded, as well as the purchase of allowances for the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme in the UK. The addition of a carbon balance sheet means that credits and allowances can now also be recorded in financial terms. Thirdly, the product has more comprehensive analysis and an improved reporting dashboard to allow more detailed analysis of carbon emissions and cost data.
Matthew de Villiers, Chief Executive Officer at Greenstone Carbon Management, said, “ … development priorities are focused on real client requirements. Management of supply chain and product emissions are still at an evolutionary stage in the market but a number of our clients and prospects are now focusing on these areas, having got control of their own operational emissions. This release also addresses the need for increasingly detailed data analysis, often at an operational unit level, as more mature clients move from simply measuring and reporting to the development of more detailed management and reduction strategies”. Acco2unt is now deployed in more than 32 organisations in over 75 countries
• Meanwhile, Enxsuite (previously known as Carbonetworks) has continued its product development into energy management with release 6.0 of its energy performance management software, which includes open web services API for SmartGrid and Building Energy Management integration.
Other enhancements include multi-dimensional reporting capabilities, organisational change management and baseline recalculations, a new energy portfolio manager, a utility invoice and reconciliation manager and a ‘revolutionary’ new user interface.
The company claims that the product will better incorporate all of an organisation’s stakeholders, including citizens, employees, suppliers and partners, who are often involved in energy management and sustainability programmes.
Enxsuite maintains that it has led the trend towards energy management with its suite of energy and sustainability offerings currently managing over $1.2bn in energy for organisations in more than 40 countries around the world.
I’ve changed my views on the carbon management software market in the last couple of months (a discussion with Matthew de Villiers at Greenstone was a contributing factor). My initial view was that most of the market would be taken by accounting software add-on modules, given the existing investment in these solutions. Whilst this may still be true, I’m increasingly convinced that there will remain a significant market for more dedicated and sophisticated solutions from the likes of the companies above.
The simpler solutions, such as those supplied as accounting system modules and the CRC-specific tools that have appeared in the UK, will be enough for many, but as soon as it starts to get complicated, or users want to actively manage carbon emissions, then something better is required. It’s potentially too complicated to stitch on to existing systems, and in any case CSR operations will want more-and-more tools and reporting capabilities, as well as control of the solution, rather than leave it with accounts.
I’ve written more on this aspect of green ICT on the Guardian’s Sustainable Business site.