Many businesses are using carbon footprint calculators to track the environmental impact of some or all of their operations, notably travel. But what exactly can a company do with this sort of data?
Travel management and services company Sabre, which is using sophisticated calculators developed using datawarehousing technology from Teradata offers an example of how this sort of technology could increasingly become the basis of budget trending information as well as value-added services that could conceivably generate new revenue streams.
There are currently four different kind of carbon dioxide reports that Sabre can create, including those tracking the impact of travel, car travel and hotel stays. The information is provided in terms of total volume of carbon emissions attributable to the activity. Here's a really detailed story from a green travel information site that provides additional commentary about the foundation of Sabre's calculator technology, which is considered to be fairly advanced.
Derek Parks, product marketing manager for Sabre's carbon calculator product, says his company opted to use international standards information to create its own calculation engine in-house instead of using others it could have licensed, because it had the data available in its Teradata software to create what the company considered to be a strong offering.
Since its creation about 18 months ago, the reporting application has been rolled into the company's Traveler Security and Data suite offering. Today, Parks says it allows travel agencies to pull information about the carbon impact of travel for clients and businesses that might want to consider this data as an element of a travel decision. Indeed, he says some businesses are studying whether to make carbon impact a routine part of the travel approval process. In theory, it could be possible to compare the carbon impact of different flight routes, or even different airlines, depending on the sort of equipment they use. This is MY theorizing, not Parks, but can't you just hear the gears grinding?
The calculator information can be queried using a Cognos business intelligence application. Aside from pulling very tactical information, Parks says the software can roll up trending information so that businesses can evaluate the long-time impact of their travel from the past as well as evaluate the impact of certain policy changes.