Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Digital Age Solution to Environmental Data Problem, Apple-izing Scope 3 Emission Factors

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John Downie and Wendy Stubbs ask an important question: how consistent are the data used to convert activity data (e.g., number of plane flights) into greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) information for purposes of Scope 3 environmental reporting?

The answer? Not so valid in the sense that a variety of different emission factors are used by different firms. For example, in their sample 3 firms used .15 for the short haul flight conversion while 5 firms used .405 (a factor of 2.7 greater). This is problematic from a consistency and an accuracy perspective.

The solution? The authors suggest that:

In Australia [more uniform emission factors (EFs)] would be ideally achieved through the expansion of the EFs included in the annual NGA Factors workbook publication.

Perhaps the NGA could publish XML or XBRL code that is automatically populated into software used by firms, so that all firms receive the same numbers at the same time. Kind of like Apple’s App Update system (I know, I know, 15 updates, what am I thinking…):

That would be a digital age solution to this environmental data problem.

Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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