The green colored ERP !
Recently while working on a solution for a client, I realized how important the Green house gas reporting has become for global organizations within a short span of time. Typically, systems are put in place to increase efficiency/enhance ROI and eventually reduce cost. With the legal and compliance requirements getting stringent post developments like Kyoto Protocol, global organizations have started noticing the financial costs w.r.t.to green house gas reporting. Although this might be insignificant in comparison to any other cost, solutions addressing the Greenhouse reporting requirements are catching the attention of organizations.
Other than the important driver of meeting compliance, one key factor that appears to me as a very significant reason for organizations taking seriously into GHG reporting is the prospect of trading Carbon Credits which is possible only if there is adequate traceability into the data for the GHG emitted or for that matter not emitted by a particular organization.
Although there are solutions which enable companies to address the appropriate reporting of GHGs, a better option in my opinion is to have an extension to an existing Enterprise solution which actually captures the transactional data responsible for such emissions. This can vary right from the building level consumables such as Electricity/Fuel/water etc. to employee level transactions such as Travel/Paper usage etc. Native ERPs would typically have data that can help compute this consumption.
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 has come out with the Environment Sustainability dashboard which facilitates organizations in defining processes to ensure better data capture and eventually enable them to report on the green house emissions. Built on GHG protocols, this dashboard enables data modeling. It is designed to allow organizations to create a digital representation of its interactions with other organizations and the environment. Using this model, businesses can describe how materials and energy are used. More about this can be accessed at: http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/en/us/environment.aspx
Although the solution features may not solve the enitre problem area of GHG reporting, it does give a starting point in delivering solutions in this space addressing varying customer needs globally.This is in line with the new set of business needs that are driving ERP solutions to encompass areas that had traditionally not been part of the ERP space!