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IT enablement of a carbon management system

Ninad G Dhanorkar | Oct. 12, 2011
Carbon emissions, climate change and environmental sustainability have now become unavoidable concerns for mankind.

Carbon Management Solutions are now even available even in a subscription manner. Here the tool is a hosted and managed as software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The fundamental benefit of this solution offering is that there is no significant upfront capital expenditure but only operational expenditure towards subscription and usage only.  Besides,  there are  some  open  source applications like  SANGEA from  API which  is used  by a few oil companies to manage their carbons.

While currently carbon emission reporting requirements are mostly limited to the company/geographic levels,  in  the  next  phase reporting is likely  to be  at  more granular level  viz, the  product level.  IT can enable such fairly complex carbon accounting very efficiently.

An IT service provider has an important role in the implementation of vendor marketed products. The systems integrator is responsible for setting up the Emission Management Program along with a clear  definition of stakeholders' objectives and a plan  for integration, integrating   the  scope,   processes, data  flow  and  defining the  solution architecture, configuring of the  tool,  development of interfaces and  execution of data integration, executing test plan and test cases; documentation on defects and remediation, rollout  of pilot; capture the  lessons learnt and  revising the  standard practices; finalisations of global rollout schedules and template-based global rollout, distribution of user  manuals and checklists.

IT thus can enable putting in place an integrated Carbon Management System for companies. Such a solution will help companies to build scenarios and analyse the impact, create tasks  and manage compliance, reliable  emission assessment & reporting, compliance and lesser risk of penalties, make informed forecasts & investment decisions, design emission related KPIs, staying current with the  legislation and commercialising the  carbon credits.

The future of Carbon Management Systems will involve the carbon mitigation, incentivising of carbon reductions and investment in green technologies. Globally the annual volumes of carbons traded over the exchanges have crossed 5000 million - a business of about US$125 billion.

This is likely to grow in the coming years. CCS (Carbon Capture and equestration) is another new focus area related to CMS. It involves capturing of carbon dioxide before its emission into the atmosphere and storing it in geological formations such as old oil and gas reservoirs. The search for greener fuels  is also gathering steam with hydrogen being viewed as the cleanest alternative energy source. However, till such time cleaner fuels are made available economically and reliably, carbon management will continue to engage individuals, businesses and governments.

Ninad G Dhanorkar works in Mahindra Satyam’s Solutions & Competency - E&U division.


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