Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV), a cross-sector collaboration of more than 100 leading businesses, governmental agencies and NGOs working to improve Silicon Valley’s environmental quality, and Hara, the providers of a comprehensive carbon and water footprint tool (click here to read an earlier 3P post on Hara), today announced a new partnership at SSV’s Water Summit. The partnership is aimed at helping SSV partners reduce carbon emissions, water use and waste.
SSV partners are encouraged to measure and report on sustainability efforts and resource consumption through a regional registry. With today’s announcement, SSV will be transitioning to a data collection system powered by Hara’s Environmental and Energy Management (EEM) solution.
According to the Hara web site, the EEM gives organizations “auditable transparency and control of their ‘organizational metabolism’ — the collective resources consumed and expended by an organization — including energy, water, waste, carbon and other natural resources.”
The Tool in Action
The City of Palo Alto has been using the platform and expects to save more than $2M and cut its greenhouse gases by 15 percent over the next three years (you can see a detailed case study here). The solution helped the City identify best practices to improve efficiency and made it easier to gather all that pesky data that goes into measuring and managing an environmental footprint.
As Andrew Winston recently stressed in a post titled Gathering Green Data: Tools and Tips, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure. And those with the best information can cut costs, reduce risk, answer customer questions on environmental and social impacts, and help customers reduce their footprints.”
And while he continues to say that back of the envelope and qualitative analysis can be enough, he also recommends seeking out tools to help, listing a few of Hara’s competitors that focus on a company’s carbon footprint, including Planet Metrics (who I covered earlier in the year), as well as Carbon Impact (formerly Clear Standards, now part of SAP), SAS for Sustainability Management, Computer Associates eco-Software and Carbon Counted.
I recently asked for a EMM demo because I was interested in learning more about it. However, Hara declined my request, stating that it limits demos to potential leads that can generate significant sales. While, as a consultant, I have potential clients who might be interested in the EMM approach, I didn’t take the time to go through the approval process with Hara’s Partnerships team, so I haven’t seen the tool in action yet.
Will the Cost Barrier be Removed?
The partnership will allow SSV partners, including Adobe, AMD, Cisco, eBay, Electronic Arts, HP, Intel, Nasa, PG&E, SFO, Sun and Yahoo!, to use the Hara Software as a platform to measure carbon and water footprints, set targets for reduction of the use of energy and fresh water, increase conservation efforts and the use of recycled water and report on progress of sustainability efforts.
One major barrier to using such a comprehensive tool can be cost. The press release does not include details on what companies will be required to pay to have access to the software. It will be interesting to see how companies respond to the new partnership.
Hara and Copenhagen
“Hara is pleased to be working with an organization that brings together so many Silicon Valley industry innovators with a stake in leading on climate change,” said Amit Chatterjee, CEO and co-founder of Hara. “The businesses and governments that are the most effective at energy and environmental management will have the greatest competitive advantage when taking into account future price increases of energy and natural resources. We look forward to taking this conversation forward in Copenhagen.”
Senior leaders from both Sustainable Silicon Valley and Hara will be attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, December 7-18, 2009 to conduct discussions with industry, government and non-governmental leaders to share a view from Silicon Valley on the best practices and latest technologies being applied to sustainability initiatives
Deborah Fleischer is president of Green Impact, a strategic environmental consulting practice that helps companies engage employees, strengthen their relationships with stakeholders, develop profitable green initiatives and communicate their successes and challenges. She brings deep expertise in sustainability strategy, stakeholder engagement, program development and written communications.
You can follow her occasional tweet @GreenImpact