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March 5, 2009

Oracle backs carbon-reduction programme

Zogix platform tracks emissions targets from T&E data

By CBR Staff Writer

Oracle Corp is getting behind an early-stage software provider to help bring to market a carbon management platform that takes data feeds from its enterprise business applications to track the carbon emissions associated with corporate travel.

The system from Cambridge-based Zogix will integrate with Oracle e-business suite and i-procurement software to build a picture of how certain employee-generated emissions are shaping an organisation’s carbon footprint. 

The system for monitoring corporate travel is the first of several modules being proposed, which ultimately could also map other employee-generated emission types such as those associated with assets like laptops and phones, as well as other aspects of the infrastructure from desktops to data centre.

Zogix has previously talked about how its Webtop Framework platform would be good at bringing Web 2.0 data ‘mash ups’ under enterprise control, but co-founder Charles Vivian told us today that the company sees real market opportunity in developing a platform for carbon monitoring. 

“The confluence of a challenging legislation landscape, fluctuating fuel costs and the current cycle of economic pressures lead us to believe that there is a great market opportunity in automation for enterprise emissions” he said. “Some organisations are also feeling some bottom-up pressures, with consumers starting to consider the environmental credentials of their suppliers.” 

The first Zogix system being released uses data derived from employee requests and travel claims that can be captured in online travel and expenses systems.

The vendor said, “Using Zogix enables companies to develop and implement a green travel policy that is automatically applied at the point of purchase of any travel service by an employee. It also contains a unique incentivisation mechanism that rewards employees for choosing greener and/or cheaper travel.”

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The Zogix platform also supports many of the new environmental reporting requirements that all companies will eventually be subject to under proposed legislation. 

California led the way by passing AB 32 into law and is targeting a roughly 25% reduction by 2020 under business as usual estimates. In the UK the Carbon Reduction Commitment will bring in the first mandatory carbon trading scheme, starting in January 2010. 

That scheme will be compulsory for any organisation with an electricity bill of roughly £500,000 a year, and according to Vivian is aimed at encouraging 6,000 of the largest organisations to reduce their fixed source energy consumption.

Zogix claims that as much as 40% of the corporate carbon footprint can stem from employee-generated emissions, and that pilot studies before the launch of its software service suggest potential savings of between 15% and 20% in carbon and in costs are possible. 

“We known that the issue of carbon emissions is on the agenda for many of our large customers, but they are casting around for ways of making it real” Oracle VP Alan Hartwell said, explaining the company’s support for the Zogix development.

An initial carbon health-check study carried out by Zogix is free. There is also the option of a three month pilot project that would run to around $50,000 and would include software, installation and some consulting, although this is likely to appeal only to larger organisations with active corporate social responsibility programmes.

The software needed to monitor and manage down the carbon footprint is being made available as an on-demand service.

For emissions reduction and energy efficiency initiatives to be fully effective they need the full involvement of the workforce, and Charles Vivian said that the Zogix system could be set up to target each employee with an annual carbon budget and people incented to come in under budget as part of their objectives.


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