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Published on October 27th, 2012 | by Guest Contributor


Measuring Organisations’ Carbon Footprints

October 27th, 2012 by  

A new easy-to-use smartphone app tells you your carbon footprint according to your transport choices. With total privacy guaranteed, CarbonDiem works out which mode of transport you use (bicycle, bus, car, foot, plane, subway, tram) and calculates your carbon emissions and ongoing footprint.

Personal measurement made painless to drive behaviour change.

I spoke to CarbonDiem founder Andreas Zachariah about this new tool. Here’s what I found out:

To start with, Zac told me that transport emissions are forecast to account for over half of all global emissions within the next twenty years. He explained that his platform, currently in use in the UK, will soon spread to the rest of Europe and North America.

Alternate metrics like efficiency (Km per Kg CO2 and calories).

Scalability and Convenience with a Swift Payback

Zac says, “North America and the EU are recognised as the two largest contributors of transport Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) and consequently they represent the greatest opportunity too… Fortunately, these two economic zones also have the greatest smartphone penetration, with more than half of their populous already owning smartphones.”

His team of developers, risk analysts, and system architects has built CarbonDiem out of Zac’s Royal College of Art (RCA) project, a design for a carbon calculator with zero hassle. The platform has six key USP’s:

  • Automation
  • Ease of use
  • Fast client ROI (6-12 weeks)
  • Great scalability
  • Painless deployment
  • Privacy

Like a millipede, organisations can have thousands of footprints. CarbonDiem works with organisations such as the BBC and BT to quantify the carbon emitted as a result of their employees’ locomotion. Big-name clients have been eager to sign up, attracted by the intelligence the platform gives: granular, time and cost efficient, and private. In the case of the BBC, where reporters’ and their sources’ privacy was paramount, CarbonDiem disables tracking as you know it. Yes, it measures your movement, but no, it doesn’t identify you or memorise where you’ve been.


CarbonDiem has the Potential to Utilise Smartphone Infrastructure for an Entirely New Purpose

Zac says CarbonDiem could have a massive impact on transport emissions: “Theoretically we’re limited by only the number of smartphones in circulation and operating systems we can support. We’ll be able to run on 21m devices in the UK alone and over 150m smartphones between the EU and North America alone — we already support Android and BlackBerry operating systems (with Apple support due soon).”

Only the user sees their journeys marked on a map. Privacy is key.

Life for the CarbonDiem team has been increasingly busy in the last few months, with new projects and partnerships in the pipeline that Zac isn’t allowed to talk about yet. I asked Zac how the app has been received. “Sustainability practitioners tend to be amazed this is even possible, and companies are relieved to find out we can solve a pain of theirs: although one might like to think sustainability and employees’ interests in the matter rank near the top, the reality is somewhat different and so simplifying the problem is of great benefit.

“Sustainability is becoming more of an important metric for employees, and equally enterprises are increasingly faced with a raft of legislation around emissions reporting. CarbonDiem’s value proposition is about utilising an existing infrastructure they are already paying for, namely smartphones, for a whole other purpose.”

“Culture is what we enjoy after engineers and scientists have made sure we have been fed, watered and housed.”

For the last few minutes Zac and I spoke about the relationship between technology and sustainability.

“Technology should be about making something easier, more accessible, more scalable, safer, and to raise understanding to name just a few goals. From gunpowder to submarines, sundials to sextants, penicillin and X-rays, to the archimedes screw and the wheel. We tend to think of technology as electronic gadgets, when in practice it has actually defined human civilisation.

“Technology and sustainability are bound by a common quest to be more efficient in our use of resources so that we can further the collective cause. Culture is what we enjoy after engineers and scientists have made sure we have been fed, watered and housed.”

The Web Portal CSR UI Dashboard – Instant satisfaction showing current total, forecast and overview.

Thanks to Zac for the interview. For more information and to download the CarbonDiem app visit: www.carbondiem.com

About the author: David Thomas writes about clean technology and solar power for The Eco Experts, and about energy efficiency for GreenDeal.co.uk. You can speak to him at @theecoexperts and @gduk

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