Carbon Accounting Software

January 24, 2024

What, another software package for my organisation? Why?

If you are looking to manage and report your greenhouse gas emissions it might be a good idea to utilise a carbon accounting software tool. There are literally hundreds of tools on the market - some by big players such as Microsoft or Salesforce others developed by companies that are dedicated to sustainability and carbon accounting such as Greenly. We thought it would be a good idea to list some key considerations to keep in mind when choosing a carbon accounting tool:

Scope and Coverage:

Ensure that the tool covers all your relevant scopes of emissions (Scope 1, 2, and 3) as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Check if it includes all relevant emission sources for your organisation. Of course, most tools will include Scope 1 (direct emissions from owned or controlled sources), Scope 2 (indirect emissions from energy use) but they might have limited capabilities of measuring all your Scope 3s  - other indirect emissions from your value chain - purely because you might have a unique product or service.

Accuracy and Credibility:

Look for tools that have been independently verified or are associated with reputable organisations in the sustainability and carbon accounting space. There are a lot that don’t!

Also consider whether the tool is being used by anyone else in your  industry? Does it have datasets that provide accurate calculations related to the emissions of your industry? For example there are tools that are more suitable for restaurants as they more accurately calculate the carbon footprint from farm to plate. And on the other end of the scale there are tools more suitable for companies operating large / multiple datacenters.

Does your Industry Association recognise any tools? In some industries they might have developed a bespoke tool for their members. For example Julie’s Bicycle, funding by the Arts Council, developed an easy to use simple tool for the Arts & Culture industry.

Ease of Use:

How user friendly is the tool? Does it align with the technical expertise of your team?

Look for tools with intuitive interfaces, clear documentation, and training resources.

Some tools have apps for your phone - how useful is this really for something you might not be focussed on every day? Saying that an app that enables your staff to very easily report their personal carbon footprint that sits in your Scope 3s and educate them on how to reduce this personal footprint could actually be very useful.

Data Collection and Integration:

How does the tool collect and manage data? Does it allow for easy data entry and integration with existing systems, such as your financial accounting software or your ERP?

Check if the tool supports automation and data import/export functionalities. This could save a lot of time - albeit with one caveat - the data has to be coded correctly on the financial system to provide accurate data out on the carbon account platform. Data out is only ever as good as data in.

Reporting and Visualisation:

Assess the reporting capabilities of the tool. Look for features that allow you to generate customisable and comprehensive reports for internal and external stakeholders.

Consider visualisation options, as clear and informative charts and graphs can enhance communication of your carbon footprint.

Regulatory Compliance:

Ensure that the tool helps you comply with relevant emissions reporting regulations and standards in your industry and region. For example some within the broadcast industry are fixing in on the CDP as a standard reporting and disclosure method - there are software tools that will take your data and format it automatically for the reporting body - such as the CDP. Beware though, you might also find that regulatory compliance shifts - so it’s good to pick a software that covers a number of standards to give you the flexibility later.


Consider the scalability of the tool to accommodate potential changes in the size and complexity of your organisation. Cinema chains who are continuously expanding or contracting their sites need to have a way of being able to manage this flex and benchmark year on year. Check if the tool can handle a growing volume of data and if it aligns with your organisation's long-term sustainability goals. Also is it customisable?

Cost and ROI:

Evaluate the cost of the tool, including any subscription fees, implementation costs, and ongoing maintenance expenses.

Consider the return on investment (ROI) in terms of time and resource savings, as well as the value of improved sustainability reporting. In some cases we find that if our customer is small (1-20 staff), minimum reporting and a simple disclosure is all that is required and a spreadsheet will suffice. Whereas a larger customer that is exporting and coding large amounts of data an API between a Carbon Accounting tool their ERP to extract automatically the required data can save a huge amount of time. 

Support and Training:

Like with any new software package assess the level of customer support and training provided by the tool's vendor. Good support and resources can be essential for successful implementation and ongoing use.