This is the second blog post in a series about the carbon footprint calculator Sustion. Read the first blog post here.
Carbon emission trading, carbon taxes and other policy and regulatory changes will affect how and how accurately organisations classify and follow up on emissions in the future.
This is what Merli Juustila, CEO of CarbonLink, anticipates. CarbonLink is an automated carbon footprint service, backed by the research of atmospheric scientists at the University of Helsinki.
“Climate change is, in environmental science terms, a ‘wicked problem’. A wicked problem means that it is particularly difficult to find a solution to, because it is a complex challenge and often requires many systemic changes,” Juustila says.
Wicked problems require serious solutions. Automated carbon footprint calculator Sustion, developed by Visma and CarbonLink, is the solution many organisations and businesses need. The cloud-based service calculates the carbon dioxide emissions generated by an organisation’s operations in real-time, based on financial management data.
Effective climate action starts with carbon footprint mapping. If you don’t know where you are standing, it’s hard to know where you should go. The first step is to map out the situation, then reduce emissions, capture, store and offset the rest.
Sustion catches carbon leakages
Helsingin Sanomat reported in November that Sweden has plans to be the first country in the world to set climate targets for emissions generated abroad by its citizens’ consumption.
Sweden is an exception. Typically, international emissions comparisons are made based on where the emissions are physically produced. Yet domestic consumption maintains and produces emissions in other countries as well. This practice has been dubbed “outsourcing of emissions” or “spillover effects”.
Another good example of hard-to-measure elements is the impact of information and communication technology services (ICT services). According to some estimates, emissions from the ICT sector could account for up to 14% of total global greenhouse gas emissions in 2040.
For instance, servers located outside the country where the business operates means that the emissions are outsourced. Things can get more complicated, and these international servers might also use different, environmentally unfriendly energy sources.
Will these kinds of emissions be caught by Sustion?
“Financial data is incorruptible because it brings forth the entire scope of the organisation’s activities. We can measure organisations more accurately every day as the data accumulates. Our goal is that Sustion shows the whole picture so there are no carbon leakages,” says Juustila.
Developed with open data
The Sustion calculator uses open data and weighted averages. The accuracy of a company’s financial data also affects the final result. In addition to the financial data, Sustion has been developed using various open data sources readily available in Finland.
The use of open data helps to understand the mechanisms of carbon footprint formation from a variety of organisations.
“Finland is the perfect laboratory for testing. We have a liberal open data policy that ensures we can use data as a basis for further development. This is an asset, as similar data is not available in all countries,” Juustila says.
Although Sustion’s data is based on Finnish open data, Juustila believes scaling up abroad is possible.
“In terms of scaling up the service to international markets, carbon data is quite similar, especially in the Nordic countries and Europe.”
The need for climate change mitigation measures does not stop at national borders, so there is a global and growing need for solutions.
Learn more about how Sustion can economically and efficiently help your company improve your sustainability and meet your goals.