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A wide variety of companies use sustainability software to minimize their impact on the environment.
By measuring and managing operations, manufacturers, fleets, utilities, governments, real estate companies and other organizations can reduce their carbon footprints and responsibly preserve the environment and the well-being of their company.
Several vendors offer solutions to manage sustainability performance—This guide will educate buyers on important considerations before making a decision.
We'll cover the following:
What Is Sustainability Software?
Sustainability software helps companies manage all the data produced through their operations—from manufacturing, building maintenance, fleet management etc.—to evaluate their sustainability and impact on the environment.
To achieve this, massive amounts of data must be collected about utility bills, facility energy and water usage, fuel costs and other sources. Software analyzes this data to provide performance management dashboards and benchmarks to optimize efficiency, remain compliant to regulations and maintain corporate responsibility.
Sustainability is a practice that can offer long-term foresight into an organization's health and longevity, but also shows a commitment to social responsibility—thriving as a business while leaving the environment better for future generations.
Common Features of Sustainability Software
Several advanced features are included in sustainability software to gather and analyze data and perform audits. These may include:
Solutions offer multiple ways to collect data: importing bills directly from a utility, connecting to energy meters, monitoring carbon emissions and providing integrations with other systems in the enterprise.
Refers to any features that analyze data to reveal how a company's sustainability practices are working. Key aspects include access to customizable dashboards and benchmarking, which compares an organization's sustainability or energy management performance against established guidelines or other companies.
Normalization helps to find averages in, for example, weather, so that changes in temperature each year can be accounted for. In facilities management, occupancy can also be normalized to show how tenants or employees impact energy usage so companies can budget and forecast more accurately.
Tracks initiatives designed to help companies meet regulatory demands for energy use, waste reduction or carbon emissions. By creating a trail of actions and results, internal or external audits are made easier with templates that quickly prove compliance.
Store all of your relevant documents about sustainability practices, such as reports, audit sheets, equipment/facility documents and more for easy retrieval.
Generate reports on any utility or energy usage or costs associated with sustainability programs to spot trends or inefficiencies.
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Sustainability software is used by many different types of professionals. Some of these include:
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) managers are becoming common now that companies are more aware and concerned about how their operations and practices impact the environment. These professionals manage internal and external initiatives, using sustainability software to assign tasks, track performance and produce reports to convey success of programs.
Supply chain managers have the unique challenge of sourcing materials and labor from various suppliers and vendors globally, and in doing so, are concerned with a long list of external factors that can impact their efficiency—scarcity of resources, climate, conflicts etc. Software can help ensure their supply chain is sustainable as well as ethical, avoiding negative impacts from their methods of procuring resources by alerting users of important sustainability data about suppliers.
Environmental health and safety managers are advocates for employees and the environment, and work to ensure safe, sustainable working conditions, as well as preventing damage to the environment by organizations. They also help companies follow carbon emission, waste and safety regulations, and use sustainability software to gather data and produce reports to provide compliance.
Facilities managers need to monitor energy use in their buildings, which involves gathering data from disparate systems across the organization to identify where energy is being wasted. By building connections with these building information systems, managers can begin automating operational functions in the facilities with smart technology to optimize energy use. They can track this progress with sustainability software as part of their technology stack.
Energy management software is closely related to sustainability solutions, but focuses on tracking the energy usage and waste management aspect of sustainability programs. A major benefit of these systems is to analyze and identify areas of improvement.
UtilityTrac from FacilityDude offers customizable dashboards
Environmental, health and safety (EHS) solutions include three key functional areas: environmental management for sustainability and compliance reporting, health management to monitor occupational and industrial environments and safety management to track incidents on the job.
An integrated workforce management system (IWMS) is a combination of five different systems, including environmental sustainability functionality, which works similarly to stand-alone sustainability software, but is integrated with others for a holistic view of energy management.
Market Trends to Understand
Energy management and sustainability continue to be a major challenge globally, and several trends impact how corporations create initiatives:
Simplest small business energy-saving tips. The U.S. Small Business Association regularly offers up-to-date actionable tips that can make a real impact on usage and, thus, costs of energy. Here are some best practices:
Install occupancy light sensors to only use lights when needed to save up to 30 percent.
Faucet aerators are cheap and can potentially save thousands of gallons of water each year.
Like light sensors, installing programmable thermostats is one of the most effective energy-saving investments a business can make.
Corporate social responsibility criticism. Even though CSR is a growing aspect of the corporate world, it's actual impact on the environment has come under scrutiny. Many critics claim sustainability initiatives are created, for the most part, to generate positive buzz around a brand.
In 2009, McKinsey offered best practices to ensure companies' efforts are more than PR moves. These are still effective today, and include starting with a long-term commitment, engage employees in the initiatives and communicate impact with the entire organization.
Growth of sustainability investments. Companies around the globe are realizing the benefit and necessity of sustainable practices, not only for their bottom lines but for the planet. We've seen a 33 percent jump in investments for sustainable strategies since 2014—a spend of more than $8 trillion.