Breaking: LAX No Longer Lax on the Environment

Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX, is the third busiest busiest airport in the US and sixth busiest in the world.  LAX has long faced a bevy of environmental challenges, especially the amount of emissions for which this notoriously congested airport is responsible.  In September 2008, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the agency operating LAX and three regional airports, developed ambitious guidelines for sustainable airport planning.  Now LAWA is accelerating its efforts by becoming the first organization to implement Enviance’s Greenhouse Gas (GHS) FastTrack program.

Established in 1999, Carlsbad-based Enviance is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software company that uses cloud computing to host and integrate data necessary for GHG management, carbon accounting, regulatory compliance, and sustainability programs.  For 10 years, Enviance worked with large utilities including American Electric Power, a huge consumer of coal.  Meanwhile, the company worked with the US Army in building a carbon monitoring system, completing the task in 9 weeks.  The result:  Enviance can provide clients with an Internet-based software package that includes data points for over 120 stationary sources of GHG emissions, 100 for mobile sources, and a library of 300 models and scenarios translated into data points that give any organization the tools and modeling needed for measuring its carbon footprint.

Enviance’s release of the FastTrack product comes at an opportune time:  effective January 1, 2010, any company or facility that emits more than 25,000 metric tons of GHG emissions must submit annual reports to the US Employment Protection Agency (EPA).  Yet a survey Enviance took at a recent industry energy conference found that about 60% of large companies have no current system in place to record their carbon emissions.  Enviance aims to capitalize on this sense of urgency.  By implementing FastTrack, Enviance claims that any company or large facility can establish a system of monitoring, calculating, and reporting emissions within 60 days.

So how do LAX and LAWA benefit from this system?

“LAWA will now be able to leverage technology to measure complex accounting of greenhouse gas emissions at an affordable price.” said Larry Goldenhersh, CEO of Enviance, Inc.  “Instead of hiring expensive consultants or manually inputting figures into a huge spreadsheet, installing GHG FastTrack will allow LAWA to visualize what they want to accomplish in evaluating their daily operations while understanding how they can optimize their processes in reducing their emissions, and therefore staying compliant with EPA regulations.”

With four different sites, various models of aircraft arriving and departing on its runways, thousands of employees, and hundreds of vehicles, LAWA can gauge where they are reducing GHG emissions while discovering what operations need improvement.

While the EPA’s reporting requirements arguably help Enviance’s business, its executives have found that organizations that do not fall under the EPA guidelines are still are interested in ERP services such as FastTrack.  By reporting and listing their environmental impact on their web sites or in their corporate social responsibility reports, such companies can differentiate themselves from competitors and build trust in their brands and services.  And with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) recent guidelines on how public companies should disclose their impact on the environment, look for more CFOs to find a seamless way for reporting such data in their reports to the SEC and other regulatory agencies.

The environmental ERP sector is growing, and there are many stories about companies that scrapped ERP programs because of their complexity and cost.  But Enviance offers two examples that should bring them success:  first mover advantage, and a product that information technology administrators can easily integrate into their companies’ operations.  Any IT professional will tell you that to install a new ERP system in two months is a dream; doing so while showing that an organization is proactive in addressing its carbon footprint can only add credibility to its CSR report.  The residents around LAX, meanwhile, should breathe easier knowing that not only jumbo jets, but the monitoring and accounting of emissions, are taking off.

Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010. He has lived across the U.S., as well as in South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Uruguay. Some of Leon's work can also be found in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. You can follow him on Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).

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