ICT and Big Data
Carbon Analytics:
Supply Chain Carbon Footprint Measurement Made Easy

How big is your firm’s carbon footprint? The answer to this question is becoming increasingly critical to business reputation and success. Mounting government carbon-reduction mandates and growing pressure from savvy consumers and investors means successful businesses must find a way to measure and mitigate their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Carbon dioxide also has become a business liability — it decreases firm value by $212,000 for every 1,000 metric tons produced, according to a 2013 KPMG report.

But understanding the carbon footprint of a supply chain often means hiring consultants, which can be costly, intrusive and time-consuming. For many firms, this isn’t a viable option, and until recently it’s been the only one.

What if there was an affordable way to easily and accurately measure your company’s carbon footprint — a sort of Brannock Device for GHG?

Enter Carbon Analytics (CA): The London-based company is developing an online platform that makes it quick and easy for companies to measure and manage the carbon footprint of their supply chains — where 75 percent of a typical organization's carbon footprint comes from.

The platform, currently in beta, uses a three-stage process to apply its environmental models to derive meaningful, actionable insight from purchasing data.

First, CA analyzes an organization’s purchase data and categorizes its suppliers.

Second, CA calculates the organization’s carbon footprint and creates a holistic emissions profile with visual data to help organizations understand the impact of their supply chain. The platform provides a tailored dashboard that allows companies to measure and track progress over time (CA says the quality of measurements will improve as more suppliers join the platform and contribute their data).

Third, CA matches an organization’s emissions profile against its database of relevant suppliers, matching them with the best suppliers to reduce carbon footprint, and give regular performance indicators to monitor current suppliers.

“Until now businesses have had to spend large sums of money on intrusive and time-consuming consulting engagements to understand the carbon footprint of their supply chain,” said James Tilbury, co-founder of Carbon Analytics. “Our system provides better information that is constantly updated in a seamless fashion at a fraction of the cost. Companies are increasingly concerned about their supply chain emissions from a financial risk perspective as well as to show their stakeholders that they take their carbon footprint seriously.”

Tilbury says he met his two co-founders, Michael Thornton and Greg FitzGerald, while studying at the University of Oxford. The trio was drawn together by a mutual interest in setting up a business to address climate change, and successfully applied to the Oxygen Accelerator Programme at Google Campus London last September.

“The Oxygen Accelerator at Google Campus was a fantastic experience that has benefited our business immensely,” said Tilberary. “The program has a wealth of mentors, contacts and potential investors that they introduced us to, and helped us navigate the process of setting up a business in the UK.”

CA received three rounds of seed funding from Oxygen Accelerator, as well as from Climate-KIC at Imperial College and UKTI's Sirius program. The company is in talks with investors for additional funding later in the year.

When asked about CA’s long-term vision, Tilbury said: “In five years' time we plan to have mapped how carbon flows through the global economy. In ten years' time we hope to have done the same with a range of other social and environmental impacts, such as water.”

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