What is Emissions Management Software and why is it needed?


Climate change is real, and it’s urgent. We’re seeing more and more wildfires, melting ice, and extreme weather. To protect our planet, we need to act now.

As per National Interagency Fire Center, in 2023 alone 72 large wildfires have burned 468,876 acres in 14 states. This stark data underscores the escalating environmental crisis we face and serves as a call to action for both individuals and businesses to prioritize sustainability and carbon reduction measures.

Businesses and Carbon Emissions

Businesses play a big role in this crisis. In fact, a recent study showed that just 100 companies contribute to 71% of global emissions. This also indicates that these businesses have the power to make big changes. One way to do this is by quantifying and tracking emissions, and setting a goal to work towards net zero.

In a time when sustainability is more than just a buzzword, meticulous emissions management is the first step toward truly reducing impacts.

Environmentalists, tech enthusiasts, and business operators wishing to engage sustainability experts are all focusing on these carbon accounting and management software solutions. With the global focus on environmental preservation, cutting-edge carbon accounting software is revolutionizing how industries track, evaluate, and reduce their emissions.

Understanding Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions is a responsible step toward a sustainable future, not just a technological advance.

In this blog, let us explore the crucial significance of accurately calculating and monitoring emissions, and learn how emissions management software may hold the key to your company’s journey toward sustainability leadership and environmental compliance.

What is Greenhouse Gas Tracking Software?

Emissions tracking software refers to a cloud-based platform or tool developed to help businesses calculate, monitor, measure, report and manage their greenhouse gas emissions. The software tracks all forms of GHG emissions generated by a company, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and the other key greenhouse gasses. 

In recent years, there has been a growing global concern about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the world’s changing climate. Governments, large companies, and individuals are recognizing the need to reduce their carbon footprint and transition to more sustainable practices. However, managing carbon emissions can be a complex task for businesses, especially those operating in industries with high carbon emissions.

This is where carbon accounting software can step in to assist.

Key Features of Carbon Accounting Software

    1. Data Capture, Calculation, and Reporting
      • Collects data from various internal sources like energy consumption, production, and transportation.
      • Data can be input manually by employees, uploaded in bulk via spreadsheets or automated via API connections.
      • Calculates emissions using predefined emission factors from around the world.
      • Provides detailed reports on the company’s carbon footprint with breakdowns by emission sources, by company locations, business units etc.
    2. Compliance Tracking
      • Aligns with regulatory requirements and industry standards to ensure companies meet all relevant climate regulations.
      • Monitors emissions against limits set by authorities or international agreements.
    3. Audit Reports
      • Audit ready reports are easily pulled to show all emissions, all source data and all calculations for 3rd party audits. 
    4. Target Setting and Monitoring
      • Allows for the establishment of specific GHG emission reduction targets.
      • Monitors progress over time for accountability.
      • Creates scenarios across emission sources to develop roadmaps to achieve goals. 
    5. Additional Features
      • Variance tracker to identify and investigate big changes in emissions
      • Scenario Modeling to understand how future changes will impact emissions
      • Supply Chain integration to capture emissions data directly from suppliers

Why Carbon Management is Essential

Role in Environmental Sustainability

This enterprise software is a game-changer for companies aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

It streamlines carbon management by automating the tracking, reporting, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In doing so, it not only ensures compliance with international climate accords and greenhouse gas protocols but also empowers businesses to make data-driven decisions for a sustainable future.

Regulatory Compliance

Adhering to regulatory guidelines reflects a company’s commitment to ethical practices as well as legal obligations. Being compliant means your corporation isn’t just ticking boxes; it is also upholding ethical standards.

GHGRP and LCFS Programs

Navigating the complexities of greenhouse gas regulations is made simpler with carbon management enterprise software.

It serves as a comprehensive tool for complying with the  Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and new regulations like coming down the pipe like the California Corporate Data Accountability Act (SB 253).  

International Climate Accords

Aligning your corporate goals with international climate agreements is no small feat. Carbon management software ensures that you’re not just meeting but exceeding the requirements set forth by global accords.

Regulatory Updates and GHG Reporting Standards

Staying updated with the ever-changing landscape of carbon regulations and climate disclosure standards can be a daunting task. Carbon management software simplifies this by providing real-time updates and customizable workflows. This ensures that your enterprise is always in line with the latest greenhouse gas protocol standards, making the path to carbon neutrality more straightforward.

By focusing on these key aspects, you can ensure that your business remains compliant and meeting best practices while also making meaningful strides toward a more sustainable future.

How Emissions Management Software Works

Gaining insight into the functionality of the software can help organizations best leverage the tool.

The following is an overview of the typical functionality found in carbon accounting software:

Data Collection and Monitoring

The software collects data on all emissions produced by the company’s operations. It continuously monitors this data, keeping a close eye on any fluctuations or changes in the output levels of greenhouse gasses.

For example, let’s consider a manufacturing company that uses the software to monitor its emissions. The software collects data from various sources within the company, such as sensors installed in production units, energy consumption meters, and even employee input. This comprehensive data collection ensures that no emission source goes unnoticed.

Once the data is collected, the software organizes it in a structured manner, making it easier to analyze, interpret and report on. It assigns specific tags or labels to different types of emissions, such as carbon dioxide, methane, or nitrogen oxide. This categorization enables the software to provide a detailed breakdown of the company’s emissions profile.

Analysis and Reporting

  1. Data Analysis and Reporting
    • The software analyzes collected data to generate easy-to-understand reports.
    • These reports help in understanding emission patterns, identifying problems, and devising solutions.
  2. Benchmark Comparison
    • Compares the company’s emissions data with industry benchmarks or regulatory standards.
    • Assists in evaluating sustainability data and identifying areas for improvement.
    • Serves as a comprehensive tool for large companies to manage emissions.
    • Provides detailed insights and actionable information, empowering companies to make informed decisions and drive sustainability efforts.
  3. Customization
    • Enables users to customize emission factors, input functionality and reports based on specific needs.
    • Offers options to select different time periods and compare data from various facilities or departments.
  4. Forecasting
    • Allows for the generation of forecasts based on historical data and future scenarios.
  5. Automated Alerts
    • Generates automated alerts and notifications based on predefined thresholds.
    • Sends alerts to responsible personnel if emissions exceed certain limits, prompting immediate action.

Benefits of Using Emissions Management Software

Major advantages of using emissions management software include efficiency improvements and cost savings, reducing carbon emissions, as well as an enhanced reputation and public image. Quantifying and reporting emissions is a highly technical procedure and typically required companies to outsource this work to expensive consultants. Emissions management software allows this work to be done internally at a cheaper cost. 

Emissions management software offers numerous benefits that go beyond the basic advantages. By utilizing this software, businesses can track carbon emissions, streamline their operations and reduce their environmental impact in a more effective and efficient manner.

Improved Efficiency and Cost Savings

Efficient tracking and management of emissions lead to improved operational efficiency and significant cost savings in the long run. The software identifies areas of potential improvement, allowing for more focused and effective emission reduction strategies.

For instance, through advanced data analytics and real-time monitoring, emissions management software can identify energy inefficiencies in production processes. By pinpointing these areas, businesses can optimize their operations, leading to reduced energy consumption and lower utility bills.

In addition, automation of data collection and reporting processes, eliminates the need for manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors. This not only saves time but also improves data accuracy, ensuring compliance with regulatory reporting requirements.

Enhanced Reputation and Public Perception

A company that actively manages and reduces its emissions using a dedicated software demonstrates its commitment to sustainability. This not only enhances the company’s reputation but also positively impacts the public perception of the brand.

How to Choose the Right Software

Selecting the right emissions management software is crucial for achieving business carbon neutral goals and effective climate risk analytics. Here are some key considerations to guide your decision-making process.

Vendor Evaluation Criteria

When evaluating vendors, focus on the software’s user-friendliness and customizability. An intuitive interface saves time and resources, while customization ensures the software solution meets your specific emission factors and carbon reduction needs.

User Reviews and Testimonials

User reviews and testimonials can provide valuable insights into the software’s performance and reliability. Look for reviews that specifically mention the software’s capabilities in helping businesses achieve environmental goals and comply with global standards.

Data Validation Issues

Ensuring the accuracy of current carbon emissions data is a critical challenge. Inaccurate data can compromise risk management efforts and mislead financial reporting, making it difficult to meet reporting requirements. Ensure there is full transparency and auditability of all calculations. 

Integration with Existing Systems

Seamless integration with a company’s existing systems, especially in large enterprises, is essential for effective ESG data management. This is crucial for tracking emissions and aligning with financial reporting mechanisms.

Customization and Scalability

The ability to customize and scale the software is vital for businesses of all sizes, including smaller businesses. This flexibility allows companies to adapt to changing regulations, including new laws, and set realistic emission reduction targets.

Future Trends

As we look ahead, several emerging trends are set to reshape the landscape of emissions management. These trends align with the broader goals of achieving net zero emissions and enhancing ESG reporting.

Supply Chain Functionality

The ability to collect emissions data directly from suppliers is becoming more critical to truly understand all of a company’s Scope 3 emissions. 


From data validation to seamless integration with existing systems and scalability, the right software can be a game-changer for your organization.

For organizations committed to elevating their ESG performance and meeting regulatory reporting requirements, the urgency to act is evident. Adhering to new laws is essential, but there’s an opportunity to go beyond compliance and lead in the area of emission reduction and sustainability.

Northstar Carbon Accounting Software provides a scalable solution that caters to the unique needs of both large enterprises and smaller businesses. We invite you to explore Northstar’s offerings as a meaningful step in your journey toward a more sustainable and an effective carbon accounting solution.


Written By Josh Prigge

Josh is a renowned sustainability professional with extensive experience in leading sustainability programs and initiatives for large organizations. His expertise is not just limited to consulting; he is also a sought-after public speaker and a college professor. To learn more about him, read about him here – About North Star Carbon Management.