10 things to mind about emissions reporting in 2023
3 mins read
As sustainability maturity increases and regulation tightens, many organisations are embarking on the next iteration of their emissions reporting.
Whether you are starting out or have already begun implementing your decarbonisation plan, this article provides essential insights for emissions reporting in 2023 based on our expertise at PALO IT.
1. Focus on gathering accurate supply chain data (Scope 3 emissions).
2. Switch from manual spreadsheets to specialised software for reporting.
3. Use carbon accounting software that incorporates activity data, not just spend data.
4. Treat carbon management as a company-wide project and prioritise data preparation.
5. Automate data extraction from ERP systems for efficient reporting.
6. Engage stakeholders through questionnaires to foster sustainability commitment.
7. Use reporting data to implement decarbonisation strategies and set targets.
8. Identify opportunities for sustainable product development using emissions data.
9. Avoid greenwashing by substantiating claims with accurate reporting data.
10. Prioritise genuine emissions reductions and minimise reliance on offsets.
1. Scope 3 Challenges: Unlocking Supply Chain Information
Approximately 80% of emissions are attributed to Scope 3, making it essential to gather accurate information from your supply chain to assess your overall footprint effectively.
Obtaining data from suppliers and partners poses a significant challenge, requiring a collaborative effort to ensure transparency and accurate reporting.
2. Transition from Manual to Software Solutions
In the past, emissions reporting relied on cumbersome and error-prone spreadsheets. Thankfully, modern software solutions have simplified this process significantly.
As you embark on emissions reporting in 2023, it is advisable to avoid using spreadsheets and leverage specialised software designed for sustainability reporting.
3. Limitations of Spend Data
While most emissions reporting software uses spend data for calculating emissions, this approach has limitations as it fails to identify specific areas for action.
Opt for carbon accounting software that incorporates activity data, enabling a comprehensive understanding of emissions sources and identifying actionable areas. As an example, these are key components of the PALO IT Impact Tracker solution, built across four modules, two of which are a tailormade Carbon Accounting module and an Action Plan.
4. Holistic Approach: Company-Wide Project
Implementing carbon management should be treated as a company-wide project, involving dedicated team capacity and thorough training.
Underestimating the importance of data preparation can hinder progress, necessitating meticulous data organisation and cleansing efforts.
5. Automation for Efficiency
Leveraging automation is crucial in streamlining emissions reporting. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems often serve as rich sources of activity data.
Seek ways to automate data extraction from your ERP system, generating CSV files that can be seamlessly uploaded into carbon accounting software.
6. Stakeholder Engagement through Questionnaires
To calculate emissions within your value chain, questionnaires can be employed to collect data from stakeholders.
Involving stakeholders in the reporting process fosters engagement and empowers them to contribute to decarbonisation efforts, creating a shared commitment to sustainability.
7. Implementing Decarbonisation Strategies
Use emissions reporting data to identify emission hotspots and prioritize areas for significant reductions, such as energy optimisation, renewable energy adoption, and operational efficiencies.
Develop a comprehensive decarbonisation strategy based on the insights gained from emissions reporting.
Set ambitious emissions reduction targets, develop action plans aligned with sustainability objectives, and regularly monitor progress to ensure the effectiveness of implemented measures.
8. Transforming Products into Sustainable, Low Carbon Alternatives
Analyse emissions throughout the product lifecycle using emissions reporting data to identify opportunities for reducing environmental impact.
Engage cross-functional teams to develop innovative solutions, incorporating cleaner production processes, sustainable materials, optimised packaging, transportation methods, and consider business model redesign to support sustainable product development.
Communicate the environmental benefits to customers, reinforcing your commitment to sustainability and encouraging responsible consumption.
9. Avoid Greenwashing
When communicating sustainability efforts, organisations should rely on the data obtained from emissions reporting to substantiate their claims and avoid greenwashing.
Transparently share specific emissions reduction actions taken, supported by credible data and evidence from emissions reporting.
Use emissions reporting data to demonstrate progress, highlight achievements, and communicate the actual environmental impact of sustainability initiatives.
Emphasise the importance of accurate and transparent reporting to build trust with stakeholders and avoid misleading or exaggerated claims about environmental efforts.
10. Avoiding Reliance on Offsets for Carbon Neutrality Claims
Organisations should prioritise genuine emissions reductions within their operations and value chain, utilising the data obtained from emissions reporting to identify areas for improvement.
Focus on implementing sustainable practices, such as energy efficiency, renewable energy adoption, and process optimisation, leveraging the insights gained from emissions reporting.
Reserve the use of offsets as a last resort to address residual emissions that cannot be eliminated through internal efforts alone.