Tesco Adopts CA Software For Carbon Audit

Retailer Tesco is using CA’s ecoSoftware to manage its carbon emissions worldwide, with cap-and-trade laws due in the UK

On by Peter Judge 0

The UK’s biggest retailer, Tesco, will use CA’s ecoSoftware to manage and reduce its carbon emissions worldwide, and meet the UK’s requirements for carbon accounting.

Tesco has been keeping track of its carbon emissions for several years, and plans to reduce them by 50 percent before 2020, compared with a baseline of 2006, but the data collection has been difficult, according to Simon Palinkas, head of Tesco’s Green IT group.

“It’s been a time-consuming process, which we’ve done manually, with spreadsheets until now,” said Palinkas. “It has become an unmanageable task – those spreadsheets were not sustainable.”

Tesco has used the CA ecoSoftware to automate the collection of the data it already collected, and apply workflow, so the data is reliable and backed by an audit trail, which would stand up to the external examination which will be applied when the UK’s carbon reduction commitment comes into force in April 2010, requiring larger companies to buy and trade carbon credits.

“We need a process for people to follow, so the data is validated,” said Palinkas. “At Tesco we like things to be out of the box and simple.”

The software was adaptable enough to handle existing sets of data, he told eWEEK Europe: “It’s not the tail wagging the dog – we didn’t have to change the way we operate to adopt this system.” The company is moving to further automate, and get real-time energy usage data for better control, he said.

The Carbon Reduction Commitmentn (CRC) will require companies using more than 6000MWh or electricity a year to register by next April, and buy carbon credits, at a price of £12 per tonne of CO2, said Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard Company, at an event organised by CA.

Although awareness of the CRC rules is improving, most companies are not ready, warned David Metcalfe, director of green analysts Verdantix: “A year ago, there was a fear that business might boycott this. Now they are on board, but a lot of them will get in a panic.

IT departments are unprepared for carbon trading, analyst firm Gartner warned earlier this year. Accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers has produced a model of how to report carbon emissions.

Around 22 products are available for carbon accounting, but most have not achieved much recognition so far, said Metcalfe: “The market leader is Microsoft Excel,” he said, referring to home-made solutions like Tesco’s spreadsheets.

Tesco selected CA comparing against other products, said Palinkas, and in all a few dozen Tesco staff will use the software: “We’ll have them trained up in the next few weeks.”

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Tesco has 468,000 Tesco employees, and 4,000 locations in 14 countries. Compared with 2006 figures, the country plans to halve emissions from its buildings by 2020; halve the emissions produced by its distribution network by 2012; and halve emissions from new stores by 2020. The company has already halved its energy use per square foot in its UK stores and now sends no waste at all to landfill, Palinkas said.

some green campaigners would prefer Tesco to compare its carbon emissions to figures from 1990, in line with organisations meeting the Kyoto targets, but the company argues differently.

Peter Judge

Author: Peter Judge

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