Employee Experience

Time to Measure Up: An SAP Concur Podcast Conversation About Sustainability with Thrust Carbon

Kyla Kent |

 

To know how your organization is performing you must measure numerous aspects of it ranging from travel and expense data to carbon emissions. This will allow you to establish important baselines and continually make improvements. Yet, when it comes to environmental impact, many organizations are still trying to understand what an emission is, how to calculate emissions from business travel, and how to measure and report on sustainability.  

 

Jason Grunin, Principal Value Consultant at SAP Concur, spoke with Kit Brennan, the Co-founder and Head of Product at Thrust Carbon, about creating change around carbon impact reporting, reduction, and education for SAP Concur users.

 

You can listen to this episode on Apple | Amazon | Spotify | Listen Notes | Acast | Google or read the transcript.

 

Measure to Manage  

Sustainability is the practice of using the earth’s resources in a way that will support the needs of both current and future generations. An emission is a release of gas that will warm the atmosphere above normal. Most people refer to this release as global warming.

 

The average effect of all those emissions is a carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. Brennan says if we want to prevent climate disaster, we need to “reduce as many of those emissions as possible and ultimately get down the net emissions to zero.” To do that, organizations must measure and manage their carbon emissions.

 

Ideally, every system in the world would have a meter that measures how much gas is released. But in the real world, when you buy a plane ticket, there isn’t a meter on the plane engine that measures your environmental impact. In those situations, we must use methodologies that convert the data we have to measure the most likely emission levels.

 

In other words, “it’s a data collection exercise, and then applying the right methodology to that particular data set,” Brennan says. Often the most difficult part is getting the data because if the data you need isn’t consolidated in one place, like it is if you have a unified T&E platform, it will be harder to do the job.

 

As with financial accounting, it’s crucial to treat carbon accounting as a balance sheet and determine what emissions look like for every unit of your business. If you are capturing carbon, what that capture looks like, too. Then you’ll have a balance sheet you can use to start either getting to carbon neutral or net zero.

 

Ready or Not, Reporting Requirements Are Coming

Beyond the environmental investment, organizations need to pay attention to their environmental footprint because there are already several reporting requirements in place today, and even more are coming. In addition to the international requirements for every country, there’s the:

·       Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra)

·       Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions and Removal

·       Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

 

Being aware of all these reporting requirements is incredibly important because organizations are responsible for complying with the rules in the country or countries in which they operate.

 

Organizations also need to be prepared to meet shareholder requirements. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issues rules about carbon reporting and financial disclosures related to sustainable travel. More and more, large shareholders are requiring that the organizations they invest in publish sustainability reports. When organizations don’t, some shareholders are rebelling.

 

A new generation of employees is also entering the workforce who care deeply about all levels of business sustainability from travel and operations to sourcing. It’s so important to them that they’ll even change jobs to work for an organization with aligned priorities.

 

Your organization doesn’t need to commit to net zero today or completely change your travel policy. But if you start measuring and understanding, Brenna assures that “everything will be exponentially easier because you’ll actually have the insights to draw on to know what your next steps even look like.”

 

CTA: Learn more about how your organization can leverage the partnership between SAP Concur and Thrust Carbon to measure and manage your organization’s sustainability initiatives.

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