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Businesses Are Unprepared for Carbon Accounting

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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With carbon taxes in the offing, more than half organisations have not heard of carbon accounting, says a survey

Eighty percent of companies do not monitor their carbon footprint regularly, and less than a quarter could even accurately describe what carbon accounting is, according to a survey by Epicor Software.

Carbon accounting will become necessary for large UK firms under the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme which is effectively a green tax on energy use.  Epicor’s survey also found that a third of the 914 companies surveyed were unsure if they are legally bound to report emissions. Nevertheless, more than half think carbon accounting has impacted their business positively.

Emission reporting will become a necessity

As a vendor of carbon accounting software, Epicor is of course finding what it wants to, but the level of ignorance exposed is disturbing. In order to curb emissions and limit global warming, carbon taxes are being imposed, and organisations need to account for their carbon use effectively.

The responsibility lies with the industry, to “take responsibility and help educate businesses about energy management” said Chris Purcell, product marketing manager for Epicor.

Carbon footprint management could help avoid potential penalties and raise the public profile of the company, as well as providing operational cost savings and additional revenue streams, said Purcell.

Preparing in advance could give companies a competitive edge, and the growth of emission trading schemes will only increase the need to understand how carbon accounting will impact the bottom line.

Epicor helps firms measure their footprint with sustainability metrics. Bob Bechtold, president of Harbec, one of Epicor Software’s clients, says, “These metrics are as serious to us as other common business metrics like financial reporting.” Harbec aims to become carbon neutral by 2013.