The occasions of 2020 thrust the problem of company sustainability entrance and middle in lots of C-suites. With that heightened visibility comes questions on accountability and accounting — particularly carbon accounting. It’s a dilemma a long time within the making: Methods to correctly observe and declare an organization’s carbon dioxide emissions in actual time, not simply in lag time after an annual information hunt.

One 12 months in the past, cloud software program powerhouse Salesforce started touting its reply with the overall availability of the Salesforce Sustainability Cloud, a platform for offering real-time entry to ESG information comparable to vitality consumption and greenhouse gasoline emissions. The applying was first developed internally for the corporate’s sustainability staff after which spun out right into a product meant to assist firms gather information for sustainability reporting functions.

This week, Salesforce turned to digital companies agency Accenture to speed up its push to get extra firms — particularly these already utilizing its Buyer 360 platform — to undertake its carbon accounting platform. 

Their pitch is that companies want a digital platform of this nature to be able to actually embed ESG metrics and concerns into enterprise choices. It’s a push to provide “investor-grade” local weather information. And, with the leap ahead in digitization over the previous 12 months, they’re amplifying their push.

The announcement additionally dovetails with a declaration of help this week for “common” ESG reporting requirements advocated by the World Financial Discussion board. Greater than 60 large firms have endorsed the framework — together with Accenture and Salesforce, but additionally the likes of KPMG, Deloitte, EY, Dell, Mastercard, IBM and PayPal (it’s an extended checklist). 

This initiative may also help prospects on this journey by letting them seize related ESG information in addition to handle and measure efficiency towards their sustainability targets.

By teaming with Accenture, Salesforce hopes to assist firms add industry-specific concerns to their dashboards. What’s extra, Accenture and Salesforce intend to work collectively to develop the platform so it may be used to trace different metrics which can be front-of-mind for firms, together with waste administration, water consumption and variety and inclusion information.

“Our analysis reveals that an increasing number of firms understand that a sustainable enterprise technique means extra than simply ‘doing good’ — it means ‘doing effectively by doing good,'” famous IDC senior analysis analyst Bjoern Stengel in an announcement. “This initiative may also help prospects on this journey by letting them seize related ESG information in addition to handle and measure efficiency towards their sustainability targets.”

Salesforce is clearly the largest cloud software program firm staking a declare within the rising carbon accounting software program class. Whereas few gamers are on the sector, it’s definitely not the one one positioning to attain. I absolutely anticipate this 12 months to be plentiful with declarations of funding and such by cloud software program firms centered on making sustainability reporting extra accessible and investor-friendly. 

Listed here are 4 gamers I’ll be watching extra fastidiously. (I’ve excluded these linked to vitality consulting companies or these centered on compliance or managing security laws.) Refreshingly, none of them are from Silicon Valley: 

Accuvio, an accredited CDP reporting associate, hails from the U.Ok. and lots of of its shoppers are there, together with Cobham, West Fraser and Babcock Worldwide.
ClearTrace (previously SwychX), which automates carbon emissions and vitality information assortment for enterprises, traders and real-estate companies, in December raised $four million. Amongst early customers of its platform are Brookfield Renewables (additionally an investor) and JPMorgan Chase.
Envizi, an Australian agency with prospects together with Microsoft and Qantas. Its associate checklist is spectacular and consists of Accenture, CBRE and Cushman Wakefield. 
FigBytes, which final 12 months built-in the reporting metrics from the Sustainability Accounting Requirements Board, cites prospects together with Akamai and Taylor Farms. 

My query from final week’s column bears repeating: When was the final time you hung out together with your firm’s CIO? If firms with net-zero objectives have any hope of constructing these targets, the metrics must be a part of core enterprise IT techniques — and the carbon accounting software program for supporting that development is lastly beginning to emerge. 

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