Counting the cost of carbon emissions

I know this may come as a surprise – but I think carbon dioxide is rather dull. Fundamental to our planet’s ecology, but dull nonetheless. All those years ago at university when I was studying engineering, I can’t say that I ever put much thought into it (after all its only 0.039% of what we breathe), and I am sure I was not the only engineering student who had other things on his mind at the time.

This week, we saw the Australian federal government finally introduce their legislation for carbon pricing – and when they say carbon, they of course really mean carbon dioxide emissions. No business leader wants to pay more tax than necessary, so pretty soon many businesses will be attempting to measure their emissions.

So while carbon dioxide might be dull – measuring and tracking it can be a seriously interesting technical challenge. Oracle has recently acquired a innovative Australian developed solution in this area – now available globally as  Oracle Environment Accounting and Reporting.

Regardless of the carbon price itself, just think how complicated things might get. Your business clients might start demanding verifiable measurements of your own emissions – at least those relating to the business inputs you provide to them. Tax considerations play a major role in business decisions at an executive level, so this is an area where many companies will need to quickly lift their game.

Transportation related activities are obviously a major source of emissions, and an area where many organisations can perhaps find easy efficiencies.

CIO magazine published an article this week about our client Orix, covering how they used our database support and performance tuning services to get more from their existing ERP application. Orix specialise in vehicle leasing and fleet management. With support  from Dataweave, Orix has been able to shift the focus of their inhouse IT team away from fighting fires, to planning and delivering business improvements.

With our help, Orix has increased the data analysis and reporting performance of their ERP system significantly, enabling them to extract far more value from the information embedded in their enormous volume of monthly transactions. The result of these performance gains was EnviroMotion – a web portal service for their clients, which provides sophisticated vehicle carbon footprint reports, with estimates of CO2 vehicle emissions based on manufacturer specifications, fuel usage, and distance travelled.

The solution now produces exception reports, allowing Orix fleet clients to easily identify ways in which they can reduce both costs and emissions.

To me, this project really highlights the importance of taking small practical steps to improve operational performance, as they can enable enormous business improvements over a longer time frame.

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About normanweaver

Norman has 40 years experience of IT and related technologies. He was the founder and Managing Director of the IT Systems Integrator Dataweave Pty Ltd which was acquired by Deloitte in 2015. Norman is also a Director of Synergy & Taikoz Ltd, home of two of Australia's leading percussion ensembles, and a Director of The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, promoting excellence in sailing and supporting disabled and disadvantaged people through sailing.
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