Ecodesk Sustainability Information - Search company environmental data online | Ecodesk is the world's largest search-optimised database of carbon, energy, waste, water and support information on companies.

METHODOLOGY

Ecodesk, supported by the World Bank Institute has set-up the Open Supply Chain Data initially using data freely submitted by 9000 businesses from across the globe. Company profiles are being created every day and new data is being regularly uploaded and shared.

The Challenge

Large businesses, either through design or regulation have tended to be the early adopters of sustainability reporting. At least once a year, most large businesses publish campaign and project news, as well as sustainability performance data, in an annual corporate responsibility or sustainability report.

The challenge is to now turn this once-a-year polished corporate report into a live, up to the minute public profile of sustainability performance and to extend it into supply chains.

Many suppliers to large businesses are SMEs and less inclined, due mainly to resource constraints, to answer multiple customer questionnaires on sustainability data and projects. So how do we remove the barriers, make it easier for businesses of all sizes to get involved willingly and actively report data?

Measurement and reporting

Measuring and reporting data is a prerequisite to improving performance and the Ecodesk platform provides an efficient and effective cloud based facility for reporting and collating organisational sustainability performance data. This data can then be aggregated anonymously to provide a higher level perspective on engagement and progress on key aspects of the global sustainability agenda.

Data collection and analysis

Sustainability data should be public, to increase accountability and therefore promote improvements on local, national and international levels. We are therefore advocating a simple, free-to-enter data collection and collation platform for all businesses.

Any business can set-up a sustainability profile, completely free of charge. This means they can post relevant data on energy, waste, water and carbon emissions to the site, as well as any background comments on targets or sustainable intentions.

Extending this into supply chains is one of the key challenges. Using an automated or semi-automated method of contacting suppliers and providing them with an easy means of providing key performance data, this becomes possible, providing an increasingly valuable overview of sustainability performance within organisations’ supply chains, within countries and across regions.

Subscribing organisations themselves are able to analyse their suppliers’ performance, engage with them and embed sustainability into their own supply chains, driving efficiency, reducing risk and promoting opportunity as a result. Through detailed analytics, they are able to see where there are issues that need addressing and take the necessary action, driving performance improvement and deriving tangible benefits.

Data aggregation

By aggregating the data provided by many thousands of organisations (anonymously), the OSRI platform will over time provide an increasingly complete and accurate sustainability performance data set for individual countries and regions across the world.

The OSRI platform enables key sustainability performance indicators to be selected for display on a world map, providing a ‘heat map’ view of the world. For each country or region it will be possible to see how many organisations have completed profiles and the total volume of resource usage and emissions.

Global data is displayed on the front page and refreshed on a daily basis, with individual country data accessible by clicking on a country on the map. Countries can be compared in terms of their total resource usage and emissions data.

Engagement and communication

Measurement and reporting are necessary but not sufficient aspects of any improvement programme and engagement, communication and collaboration are also essential elements. With this in mind, the OSRI platform includes a news feed and the capacity for users to share best practice and relevant developments for their industry sector or country. Submitting an article is free of charge but an organisation needs to register (also free of charge) before doing so.

Definitions

Carbon

Scope 1 includes direct GHG emissions that are emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company (e.g. emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, furnaces and vehicles).

Scope 2 includes indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity or heat.

Scope 3 is all indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) from sources not owned or directly controlled by the entity but related to the entity’s activities that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream. These emissions are from sources not owned or directly controlled by the organisation but related to its activities.

There are 15 categories of Scope 3, including purchased good and services, capital goods, fuel and energy related activities, upstream transportation and distribution, waste generated in operations, business travel, employee commuting, upstream leased assets, downstream transportation and distribution, processing of solid products, downstream leased assets, franchises, and investments.

The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard provides standards and guidance for companies and other organisations preparing a GHG emissions inventory. It covers the accounting and reporting of the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

For further details on scope 1, 2 and 3, see the Greenhouse Gas Protocol website.

Energy

Electricity Usage from sources that the company needs for its operations. This may include manufacturing, day to day business operations, heating of offices and general operations. It includes electricity from all depots/offices operating within a specific country.

Fuel Usage from fuels (Oil, natural gas, diesel, gasoline) that the company needs for its operations, including business travel, heating and trasportation of goods.

Renewable Energy Usage from Renewable sources (solar, wind, tidal, etc) that the company needs for its operations. This includes any renewables from the country's main electricity supply or a company specific, privately owned renewable source.

Water

Water consumption includes that purchased and supplied by a water company supply or extracted from the ground or river under licence. This should not include water which is exclusively resold as part of the company's business.

Reused water should be included only once and harvested rainwater excluded from total water consumption.

Waste

Recycled waste involves the collection and reuse of waste materials, which are subsequently reprocessed into new products.

Material for recycling is collected separately from general waste using dedicated bins or sorted directly from mixed waste streams.

The UK Government’s waste policy is informed by the ‘waste hierarchy’: 5 steps for dealing with waste, ranked according to their environmental impact, as set out in Article 4 of the revised EU Waste Framework Directive: Directive 2008/98/EC

Non-Hazardous waste is material that typically goes to landfill or incinerators without energy recovery. It excludes waste that is recycled or used to generate electricity.

Hazardous waste is waste that poses significant or potentially significant threat to human health or the natural environment. Local legislation determines what comes under this category for a particular country. In the UK it is defined in the Hazardous Waste List incorporated in the European Waste Catalogue. In the United States hazardous waste is regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

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