Greenhouse gas emissions: The next big issue for CIOs


CIOs have a significant role to play in helping enterprises report and reduce greenhouse gas emission — and it goes way beyond switching to energy-efficient cloud computing or turning off the office PCs at night.

That’s the message coming out of recent customer events put on by software and IT services vendors including SAP, Salesforce, and Google, which this week is making sustainability a big feature of its Next 21 cloud computing event.

Enterprises are increasingly expected — by their customers and, in some cases, by government — to report on their greenhouse gas emissions, typically by following standard measurement methodologies such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

“With growing requirements for ESG [environmental, social, and governance] reporting, companies are looking for ways to show their employees, their boards, and customers their progress against climate targets,” says Jenn Bennett, a technical director leading data and technology strategy for sustainability in Google’s office of the CTO.

Broadening the scope

Enterprises control some greenhouse gas emissions directly: the so-called Scope 1 emissions from owned or controlled sources such as the fuel they burn to heat offices or to power company vehicles. Organizations have been tracking that data in their ERP systems for a decade or more.

Scope 2 emissions, from purchased electricity, heat, and steam, are relatively easy to calculate as utilities typically report their average emissions per kilowatt-hour (kWh) produced. These emissions may even figure as a line on your office or data center electricity bill.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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