- Does the sustainability software use appropriate emission factors? You should be using a tool that takes into consideration both physical location and time-frame of your assessment to ensure accuracy. And the emission factors should be applied consistently and updated frequently, otherwise improvements in the carbon intensity of the electricity grid won’t show up in your results.
- Does it automatically calculate emissions, metrics and other KPIs in real time as you enter data. This will allow you to instantly see whether something looks wrong – and ideally the tool will flag up any data that doesn’t look right.
- Does the sustainability software have a mechanism for managing secondary, proxy or missing data? Check if the tool has built-in assumptions that allow you to enter the data you have; such as floor area, spend, mileage etc.. rather than making your own estimates. This will make it faster and easier to get data into the system and greatly aid transparency and auditability.
- Can the sustainability software tool accommodate the full range of available data types for scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3? It’s unlikely that your data is perfect, particularly as reporting requirements extend into scope 3 and supply chains, so the software should allow for a combination of primary, secondary, proxy and financial data.
- Track record – how experienced are they? Ask whether they have clients in your sector. What is their client’s renewal rate? How long have they been doing this for?
- Access to named specialist support What if you need help? Accounting for emissions isn’t straightforward – particularly as the scope of reporting expands to include value chain emissions, climate and nature based risk. Make sure you have access to someone with expertise in climate and environmental reporting.
- Check that the reporting process is transparent and that your data and calculations are ready for audit and verification. Also does the tool output the reports you actually need – for instance a pre-formatted CDP data set.
- Finally, is the sustainability software ready for the future, supporting climate risk reporting under TCFD, nature and biodiversity reporting and able to manage the perennial changes required to keep up to date with reporting requirements?
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