Tech

Google Helps Build Carbon Tracker


It helps about ten Google engineers a company Normative is building a new Swedish emerging tool for tracking carbon emissions. The emissions accounting software is designed to help companies calculate their environmental footprint.

It does this by analyzing all transactions in a company’s accounting systems, including energy bills, business travel, raw material purchases and many other small items that businesses often overlook.

What gets measured gets managed,” said Christian Rohn, CEO and co-founder of Normative. The reason we’re doing this is because we’re facing a climate crisis and two-thirds of all emissions come from businesses.

Normative, which has raised an additional 10 million euros ($11.5 million) from investors, announced that it could help companies on their path to net zero emissions. “We can give them the full picture by analyzing all their data,” Ron said.

The startup, founded seven years ago with the backing of billionaire investor Chris Saka, among others, charges hundreds of companies including French bank BNP Paribas for access to its software, at rates dependent on the size of the client.

Ron declined to say how much the company charges. But, he said, it’s a lot cheaper than hiring sustainability consultants with Excel spreadsheets to do the work.

Ron said Google engineers are helping Normative build a free trial version of the product, adding that it may be launched with the United Nations in time for the COP26 climate conference in early November.

Employees of the search giant joined Normative full-time, free of charge for six months, starting October 1. The Normative team is currently made up of just over 50 people. So having just over 10 extra people makes all the difference.

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Google is interested in tracking carbon emissions

The engineering support from the search giant comes after it backed the company with €1 million earlier this year through its philanthropic arm Google.org.

Accurately measuring carbon emissions is essential if small businesses are to understand the impact of their actions, said Jane Carter, head of technology and volunteerism at Google.org. She added: “We are excited to provide both funding and technical talent to help build a modular solution that makes measurement even easier.”

Of the approximately 400 million companies worldwide, only a few are currently responsible for carbon emissions. Small companies and those in the Global South are less likely to track their emissions than large companies and those in the Global North.

Many companies are logging emissions for things that are relatively easy to track, such as electricity. But that’s only 10 percent or so for most companies. Most emissions come from the supply chain.

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