Carbon accounting a great start, but solves 25 % of the problem

Carbon accounting, while a crucial aspect of sustainability efforts and received a lot of investors and customers the last few years, to make it easier to measure and report from one place, it only addresses a subset of the challenges that sustainability teams face. Here are some reasons why carbon accounting alone may solve only a portion of these problems:

  1. Limited Scope: Carbon accounting primarily focuses on measuring and managing greenhouse gas emissions. While reducing carbon emissions is vital for combating climate change, sustainability encompasses a broader range of issues, including water use, waste management, biodiversity, and social impacts.
  2. Single-Issue Approach: Relying solely on carbon accounting can lead to a narrow, single-issue approach to sustainability. Sustainable development requires a holistic perspective that considers environmental, social, and economic dimensions.
  3. Overlooking Other Environmental Factors: Carbon accounting may not capture other environmental concerns such as deforestation, habitat destruction, or resource depletion. These factors are important for overall sustainability and biodiversity preservation.
  4. Neglecting Social and Economic Aspects: Sustainability encompasses social and economic dimensions, such as fair labor practices, human rights, and economic well-being. Carbon accounting typically doesn't address these aspects, which are essential for a comprehensive sustainability strategy.
  5. Supply Chain Complexity: Many sustainability challenges lie within the supply chain, where issues like ethical sourcing, fair labor practices, and waste generation can't be fully addressed through carbon accounting alone.
  6. Regulatory Focus: Some organizations may focus on carbon accounting primarily to comply with regulations rather than to embrace a comprehensive sustainability strategy. This limited focus may neglect other critical sustainability issues.
  7. Innovation and Circular Economy: Sustainability teams should also be concerned with innovation, circular economy practices, and product design that minimize resource use and waste. Carbon accounting may not necessarily drive these innovations.
  8. Stakeholder Expectations: Stakeholders, including customers, investors, and employees, increasingly expect organizations to demonstrate commitment to broader sustainability goals beyond just carbon emissions.
  9. Long-Term Resilience: While carbon reduction is critical for mitigating climate change, sustainability teams must also consider long-term resilience against various environmental and social challenges, which may not be solely linked to carbon emissions.
  10. Evolving Sustainability Standards: Sustainability standards and frameworks are evolving, with many organizations adopting broader metrics, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. These encompass a wide range of issues beyond carbon emissions.

In summary, while carbon accounting is a valuable tool for addressing climate change and we see a lot of ambitious companies like Plan A, Position Green, Watershed, Normative, Sweep and Persefoni leading the space of accounting, reporting and consultancy experts, to point out where to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it represents just one piece of the larger sustainability puzzle.

At Unibloom we are grateful of all those ambitious partners in the eco-system which help companies understand where they have been and where the problems are from Scope 1 to Scope 3.

Unibloom takes off where carbon accounting and consultancies leave, and solve the other 75 % of the problem, with a data-driven and digital bottom up commercial and operational forward looking approach. This approach, from 30 years of combined experience in Unibloom - from data modelling, complex calculations and consumer goods leadership - help the consumer goods industry and cross functional sustainability teams, with complex operations, to build multiple automated and integrated scenarios, identify gaps vs plans to integrate finance and costs into the decision making process in minutes, not month or years. Unibloom provide visualised insights how various scenarios on sustainability, and most important financial impact each department.

Everything is about trade offs in a business, optimise across people, planet and profit, in micro decisions everyday and plan ahead of the future.

Sustainability teams need to adopt a holistic and multi-dimensional approach that considers environmental, social, and economic factors to address the full range of sustainability challenges effectively and  to hit their committed targets, either it is Science Based Targets, Net Zero or other ambitious 2030 targets.

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