5 mistakes to avoid; reporting carbon emissions for shippers

For the purposes of emissions reporting, there are some key principles of carbon accounting that we first need to understand.


Carbon Accounting Introduction

For the purposes of emissions reporting, there are some key principles of carbon accounting that we first need to understand.  The fundamental objectives are:

  1. Measure (what are our emissions levels?)
  2. Reduce (how can we create less?)
  3. Remove (how can we remove emissions from our activities?)
  4. Report (how can we baseline and report subsequent changes)?

 The old adage that you ‘can’t manage what you can't measure” holds true in this situation. It’s been proven that the more a company measures accurately and precisely, the greater the tendency to report lower carbon emissions; so doing it accurately pays off! 


5 lessons learned the hard way

Understanding the key concepts above, enables us to appreciate examples of how it could also go wrong! Here are the most common we’ve seen:


1.  “Garbage in, garbage out”

As with most software systems, the data needs to be accurate, to make it so, you need to gather precise measurements and set an accurate baseline. We’ve seen companies ingest unverified or poorly groomed exports from other systems that were never meant for the purpose of accurate carbon reporting and the quality reflects this! 

2. “Compare apples with apples”

When comparing your data across different modes of transport or vendors, make sure your provider is reporting using the same method of calculation as you’re using, or their industry peers. Make sure to clarify with the vendor and record the source. Understanding the data being provided to you, its origins and methodology, will help you make meaningful comparisons and set goals (for internal and external use). Collecting data from primary and secondary sources. You’ll need to know the difference, to ensure your modelling has minimum variables. The impact of your approach will manifest itself in the precision of the baseline you set, to target against.

3. “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”

There are different methods for calculating emissions: Ensure you pick the right methodology for the calculation requested. Methodologies such as (GLEC etc), Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocols are designed around these carbon accounting principles:

  1. Relevance - who is the reporting for? stakeholders?
  2. Completeness - define scope of measurement, what do you want to measure
  3. Consistency - if we want to establish meaningful comparisons, we need data 
  4. Transparency - show your homework, have the audit trail to demonstrate your claims
  5. Accuracy - reduce uncertainty by ensuring accuracy

Ensure you’re reporting using the method that best fits your business and that of your customers. Critically, once you start a certain approach, you need to maintain it, otherwise if you change, you have to go back and change everything. So, it pays to take these lessons into account before you begin emissions reporting.  

4. “Don’t build your house on sand”  

Give due care and attention to the manner in which you approach the role of an emissions reporting framework in your company: Put the right foundations of methodology, data and accuracy into place. Build an emission data baseline, to make sure it's as accurate as possible, because your reduction plan could be impacted and not reflect reality.   

5. “Don't mark your own homework”

Get external validation - you’ll have to report it to your customers, authorities and auditing bodies, so start the habit early; test to see whether you can verify your combination of method, data quality and accuracy with external organizations who are there to help you before it’s too late.


Automated Solution

Raft’s integration with Pledge exists because our customers were asking for enhanced, high quality data with which to report their emissions. As well as providing the data, Raft are able to take a step further and push the complete set of shipment data directly to the carbon accounting models embedded in Pledge, to reduce the scope for the errors listed above.

Pledge & Raft have partnered to empower freight forwarders to report emissions accurately and quickly. 

Together, we use the comprehensive dataset that Raft gathers, combined with the expert methodology that Pledge has embedded in their technology, to produce accurate reporting of emissions available to shipper customers and authorities. 

  • Raft platform provides the comprehensive dataset. 
  • Pledge functionality provides the accuracy and the methodologies are embedded in the software.

We’ve got freight forwarders covered; forwarders can provide their customers with world-class emissions reporting now.

For a demo of the Raft platform and the Pledge method, please book a demo/call

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