Top 11 Carbon Accounting Software & Tools for 2024 | Arbor

See the best carbon accounting software and tools for 2024 with our top 11 picks. Streamline carbon measurement, reporting, and reduction for your business.
Updated on
June 14, 2024
Top 11 Carbon Accounting Software and Tools for 2024
Table of Contents

Navigating the world of carbon accounting software can be overwhelming, with so many options available. I'm Mike from Arbor, and I've compiled a review of the top 11 carbon accounting tools for 2024 to help companies make informed decisions.

Each tool offers unique features to streamline emissions tracking, reporting, and reduction efforts. Let's explore these software solutions' intricacies and discover which best aligns with your sustainability goals. 

What features should you look for in carbon accounting software or tools?

Understanding what features to look for in carbon accounting software will help you choose a tool that meets your needs and provides accurate, actionable insights.

Here are some key features to consider:

  • Centralized Data Management: A good carbon accounting tool should offer centralized data management to streamline the data collection process and ensure consistency across multiple data sources.
  • Emissions Calculation Coverage: Ensure the tool covers all types of emissions: Scope 1 (direct emissions), Scope 2 (indirect emissions from electricity), and Scope 3 (other indirect emissions such as supply chain activities).
  • Adaptability and Update Ease: The software should be adaptable to changes in regulations and industry standards. Regular updates and support are essential for keeping your data accurate and compliant.
  • Auditability: Features like audit trails help track data changes, making it easier to verify information during audits.
  • Data Sharing: The ability to share data easily with stakeholders, including suppliers and customers, is important for transparency and collaboration.
  • Reporting and Compliance: Strong reporting capabilities and compliance with frameworks like the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol or ISO 14064 are essential for credible emissions reporting.
  • Detailed Breakdowns: The ability to provide detailed emissions breakdowns by department, location, or activity helps identify specific areas for improvement.
  • Rebaselining Capability: This feature allows you to adjust your baseline emissions as your business grows or changes, ensuring that your carbon reduction targets remain relevant.

Top Carbon Accounting Software & Tools in 2024

1. Arbor

Arbor is positioned as the leading carbon accounting software in 2024 due to its accuracy in carbon emissions calculation and comprehensive support for businesses of all scales. Arbor provides detailed emissions analysis across all scopes, from direct emissions (Scope 1) to indirect emissions from supply chains (Scope 3).

Within Scope 3, Arbor can measure detailed emissions from your products or assets, providing granular hotspot analyses to determine exactly where emissions originate.

Key Features

  • Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions measurement & tracking
  • Automated product carbon footprint calculations
  • Compliant reporting (with CSRD, CBAM & more)
  • Easy data collection with automated integration
  • User-friendly interface with clear visualization tools
  • Expert-led support throughout your climate strategy

Clients & Industries

Arbor assists businesses of all sizes in measuring and managing their carbon emissions. While our Shopify app is tailored for small businesses, Arbor has also partnered with large enterprises across various sectors. Notable clients include major retailers like Canada Goose, financial institutions such as JCB, manufacturing companies, and governments.

Pricing

$1,000 – Custom pricing is based on the needs of your business. No implementation fees.

Location

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Website

Arbor.eco | Try Arbor’s platform now

2. S&P Global Sustainable1

S&P Global Sustainable1 provides tailored sustainability products, insights, and solutions to meet financial institutions, corporations, and governments' unique needs. It combines comprehensive global market coverage with in-depth sustainability intelligence to help organizations navigate risks, seize opportunities, and achieve sustainability goals.

Key Features

  • Transition Tracker to identify market risks and opportunities
  • Environmental Data Accuracy with a program rewarding error identification
  • ESG Performance for comprehensive evaluation and enhancement
  • Net-zero tracking to set, monitor, and achieve net-zero targets

Pricing

Customized based on specific sustainability requirements. Contact S&P Global for detailed pricing.

Website

spglobal.com

3. Emitwise

Emitwise provides a carbon management platform especially for complex Scope 3 emissions, helping businesses respond to the climate emergency by enabling them to drive their carbon agenda.

Key Features

  • Scope 3 emission management
  • Supply chain engagement & management
  • Sustainable procurement

Pricing

$42,000 – $127,000, excluding implementation fees

Website

Emitwise.com

4. Plan A

Plan A is corporate decarbonization and ESG optimization software that combines technology with scientific standards. It allows businesses to collect, process data, report, and reduce emissions within a single platform.

Key Features

  • ESG reporting
  • Scope 1-3 measurements
  • Reduction target-setting

Pricing

Unknown. Estimated to be > $10,000.

Website

PlanA.earth

5. Sweep

Sweep’s data-driven platform helps large enterprises track, disclose, and reduce their carbon emissions.

Key Features

  • Scope 1-3 measurements
  • Emission dependencies
  • Science-based targets

Pricing

$37,000 – $211,000, excluding implementation fees.

Website

Sweep.net

6. Coolset

Coolset’s automated carbon accounting software helps businesses measure, analyze, reduce, and remove their emissions across Scope 1, 2, and 3. It offers deep data insights, uncovering emissions hotspots and providing sustainable alternatives.

Key Features

  • Automated compliant reporting
  • Emissions deep-dives & hotspot analysis
  • EU CSRD compliance
  • Integrated carbon offsets and removals

Pricing

Estimated to be > $5,000.

Website

Coolset.com

7. Watershed

Watershed is an enterprise climate platform designed to support large companies in measuring, reporting, and reducing their carbon emissions. It ensures emissions data is auditable for regulatory compliance and global climate impact.

Key Features

  • Carbon footprint measurements
  • Tailored reporting for financial institutions
  • CDP submission support
  • Lifecycle analysis for consumer brands

Pricing

$37,000 – $264,000, excluding implementation fees.

Website

Watershed.com

8. Normative

Normative helps businesses measure emissions, plan reductions, and achieve net zero goals. It combines hard data and calculations for reliable results and offers custom advisory and reporting.

Key Features

  • Carbon footprinting
  • Custom advisory and reporting
  • SBTi alignment

Pricing

$63,000 – $190,000, excluding implementation fees.

Website

Normative.io

9. Greenly

Greenly aims to make carbon assessment and management simple. It enables small businesses to measure, monitor, reduce, and offset their carbon footprints based on international standards.

Key Features

  • Scope 1, 2, and 3 footprint
  • Supplier involvement
  • Custom action plans

Pricing

$3,000 – $85,000, excluding implementation fees and add-ons.

Website

Greenly.earth

10. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability centralizes data for improved reporting, facilitating the creation of sustainable IT infrastructure and reducing the environmental footprint.

Key Features

  • Scope 1, 2, and (limited) Scope 3 footprint
  • Deep Microsoft suite integration
  • Value chain engagement module

Pricing

From $4,000 per tenant.

Website

Microsoft.com

11. Sustain Life

Sustain Life provides sustainability software for businesses to measure, manage, and report carbon emissions. The software offers actionable insights and streamlined reporting.

Key Features

  • Scope 1, 2, and 3 footprint
  • Private market expertise
  • Consulting and client management services

Pricing

$5,000 – $63,000, excluding implementation fees.

Website

Sustain.life

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about carbon accounting software and tools

What is carbon accounting?

Carbon accounting, also known as greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting, quantifies an organization's greenhouse gas emissions, directly or indirectly, within defined boundaries.

Much like financial accounting, which measures financial impact, carbon accounting tracks climate impact by calculating an organization's carbon footprint. This method estimates emissions from various activities and converts them into carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) using global warming potential (GWP) metrics. 

Organizations can identify emission hotspots and focus their reduction efforts on high-impact areas by understanding their carbon emissions.

Carbon accounting not only aids in emission reduction but also supports organizations in reporting climate impact to stakeholders, such as customers, investors, and regulatory bodies.

As of May 2024, 2023, many countries, corporations, and organizations representing a large portion of the world's economic output have pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is the most commonly used framework for calculating and classifying GHG emissions into three scopes, enabling comprehensive and standardized reporting.

What is an example of carbon accounting?

To understand carbon accounting, consider a practical scenario involving a manufacturing firm. This company is committed to reducing its environmental impact and utilizes a specially developed carbon accounting software. The main objective of this tool is to systematically record and measure the greenhouse gas emissions released due to the company's operations, covering aspects such as energy consumption, transport logistics, and manufacturing activities.

Step-by-Step Process:

  1. Data Collection: Initially, the software gathers detailed information on emissions from all relevant sources within the company.
  2. Analysis: Next, this data is analyzed to pinpoint areas where emissions are most concentrated, known as emission hotspots.
  3. Target Setting: Based on these insights, the company sets specific, measurable targets aimed at reducing emissions in the identified hotspots.
  4. Reporting: Finally, the firm prepares detailed environmental performance reports. These reports are crucial as they are shared with stakeholders, including investors, customers, and regulatory bodies, providing transparency regarding the company’s environmental endeavors.

This example illustrates how carbon accounting plays an essential role in helping organizations manage and reduce their ecological footprints effectively.

Is it better to use carbon accounting software or an internal solution?

Using carbon accounting software is generally better than relying on internal solutions. It automates data collection and reporting, reducing human error and providing more accurate insights.

How do you choose carbon accounting software?

Choose carbon accounting software that offers robust data collection and comprehensive reporting and complies with industry standards like the GHG Protocol. Assess ease of integration with existing systems and the level of customer support provided.

What is the most widely used carbon accounting method?

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is the most widely used carbon accounting method, a standardized framework for measuring and managing greenhouse gas emissions. Developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the GHG Protocol provides comprehensive guidelines for calculating emissions across three scopes:

  • Direct emissions (Scope 1)
  • Indirect emissions from purchased electricity (Scope 2) and
  • Indirect emissions (Scope 3)

According to the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, over 90% of Fortune 500 companies use this method, making it a globally recognized benchmark for carbon accounting. This standardized approach ensures consistency and comparability in emissions reporting, which is crucial for regulatory compliance and stakeholder transparency.

Why should you use carbon accounting software in your business?

Carbon accounting software helps you accurately measure and manage your carbon footprint, ensuring regulatory compliance and reducing inefficiencies. It also boosts brand reputation and future-proofs your business.

What is the tool to measure carbon emissions?

Carbon emissions are typically measured using specialized software tools to track them across various business activities and convert them into carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).

Is carbon accounting the same as financial accounting?

Yes, in some ways, carbon accounting quantifies the environmental impact of business activities, while financial accounting measures financial performance. Both are crucial for comprehensive business management but serve different purposes.

What is the difference between carbon accounting and GHG accounting?

Carbon accounting focuses on carbon dioxide emissions, whereas GHG accounting encompasses all greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide, converting them to CO2e for standardization.

How do you collect data for carbon accounting?

Data collection for carbon accounting involves gathering information from various sources to ensure a comprehensive view of your emissions. This includes utility bills for energy consumption, transportation fuel logs, and supply chain operations records.

Advanced carbon accounting software like Arbor's can automate much of this process by integrating your existing systems and pulling data in real-time. This streamlines the data collection process and significantly reduces the likelihood of human error.

Accurate data collection is critical for reliable carbon accounting, as it forms the basis for all subsequent calculations and reporting.

How much does carbon accounting usually cost?

The cost of carbon accounting varies widely depending on the complexity of your operations and the software features required. Prices can range from a few thousand dollars to over $100,000 annually. Additionally, factors such as the size of your organization and the level of detail needed in your carbon analysis play a significant role in determining the overall costs. Smaller businesses might find themselves on the lower end of the cost spectrum, spending just a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars each year. Conversely, larger corporations with more intricate operations could see their costs escalate much higher, reflecting the increased complexity and scale of their environmental accounting needs.

What about the future of carbon accounting?

The future of carbon accounting looks promising, with increasing regulatory requirements and technological advancements driving more accurate and comprehensive solutions. The demand for real-time data and enhanced reporting capabilities is expected to grow.

What is a good example of carbon accounting?

A good example of carbon accounting is how a company measures its total emissions from production to distribution, identifies hotspots, and implements targeted reduction strategies to achieve net-zero goals.

What is the best carbon calculator?

Arbor’s carbon calculator, launched in 2021, is highly recommended for its accuracy and automation capabilities. It offers detailed emissions measurements tailored for the apparel industry and is expanding to include comprehensive tracking for buildings and other sectors.

Are carbon calculators accurate?

Yes, but the accuracy can vary significantly between different tools. In a 2021 survey, executives estimated an error rate of up to 40% in emissions calculations. Some calculators, like Arbor's, are designed to minimize error, which is crucial as our findings show an average margin of error of over 70% in client data provided by other tools. This underscores the importance of using sophisticated tools for precise emissions calculations.

Which company made the carbon calculator?

Arbor developed its carbon calculator in 2021. It can provide detailed, automated emissions measurements. This tool provides precise, actionable insights to help companies achieve sustainability goals.

Why is carbon accounting difficult?

Ben Grande, Arbor’s Chief Technology Officer, highlighted four main problems he sees in carbon accounting:

Incomplete life cycle stages

Clients often fail to include all relevant stages of their product's life cycle, leading to significant underestimations of the total environmental impact.

Ignored regional differences

The environmental impact can vary greatly by region. Using global emission factors does not adjust for these geographical variations.

Poor data quality

The use of generic or outdated data in clients' initial calculations.

Non-adherence to industry-specific frameworks

A lack of compliance with the proper industry and product category-level frameworks results in calculation inaccuracies.

Is carbon accounting hard?

Carbon accounting can indeed be challenging due to the complexity and variety of data sources required and the need for precise calculations to ensure accuracy. The process involves collecting and analyzing data from multiple activities, such as energy consumption, transportation, and supply chain operations. Without sophisticated tools, this task can be time-consuming and prone to errors. However, using specialized carbon accounting software can greatly simplify the process by automating data collection and calculations, reducing the risk of mistakes.

A carbon accounting tool is essentially a software application or platform designed specifically to measure, track, and manage an organization's carbon emissions and environmental impacts. This tool aids businesses and institutions in calculating their greenhouse gas emissions, utilizing data derived from various sources including energy consumption, transportation, and production processes. Beyond mere calculation, it provides valuable insights and detailed reports that support sustainability initiatives, assist in setting emission reduction targets, and ensure compliance with environmental regulations.

In summary, while the challenges of carbon accounting are significant, the use of a dedicated carbon accounting tool can be immensely beneficial. These tools not only streamline and enhance the accuracy of data management but also play a crucial role in an organization’s efforts to improve their environmental footprint.

Which carbon accounting software is best for your business?

It depends on your business size, what you require for your climate strategy, and whether you have reporting needs for compliance or stakeholder engagement. Arbor's carbon accounting software is highly recommended for its comprehensive features and ease of use. 

Arbor offers robust data collection, automated reporting, and integration with existing systems, making it ideal for companies of all sizes looking to measure and manage their carbon footprint efficiently. By streamlining emissions tracking and reporting, Arbor helps companies meet regulatory requirements and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

  • Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Look for software that’s easy to deploy and doesn't require extensive customization.
  • Large Enterprises: Opt for scalable solutions that integrate seamlessly with existing IT infrastructure and provide detailed analytics.

Summary

Discover the top 11 carbon accounting tools for 2024, carefully reviewed to help companies navigate and choose the best solution for emissions tracking, reporting, and reduction efforts. 

From Arbor's comprehensive platform to advanced solutions by S&P Global Sustainable1 and Emitwise, each tool offers unique features tailored to streamline your sustainability goals. This guide covers essential features, pricing, and industry-specific applications, helping you make an informed decision for your climate strategy.

I hope you enjoyed this review and found it helpful in selecting the right carbon accounting software for your company.

Talk to Arbor's carbon experts to learn how our carbon accounting software can streamline carbon measurement and reporting

Thanks for reading!
Top 11 Carbon Accounting Software & Tools for 2024 | Arbor