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How to reduce your costs for corporate emission calculations by 58%

Vilja Hannula

Vilja Hannula

COO

Cost comparisons

Over 50,000 companies in Europe are required to report their Scope 1-3 emissions in a sustainability report according to the CSRD. Because calculating Scopes, especially Scope 3, is laborious, more and more companies are getting a taste of it. According to BCG’s research, 53% of the surveyed companies already reported at least some of their Scope 3 emissions in 2023.

The cost of the first Scope 1-3 emission calculation done by Biocode for a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) typically ranges between 10,000 and 20,000 euros. This price includes a deployment project, Biocode’s license, and audit-ready digital calculations for one year.

For example, the average price, around 15,000 euros, is even 58% less than equivalent extensive calculation and consulting projects. Over five years, cost savings with a digital platform solution can accumulate up to 80%.


Cost savings on emission calculation

See the graph that depicts an average calculation project, where in the first year, Biocode allocates about 70 hours for project management, customer training, guidance, and emission factor modeling. A similar consultant-led project is estimated to be over twice as expensive on average, as it consumes consulting hours up to three times as much.

After the first year, the consultant’s hours typically do not decrease significantly, if at all. With Biocode, after the first year, the cost reduces to an annual license fee, but expert assistance remains available.


In practice, by streamlining four areas, the costs of corporate emission calculations can be kept in check:

1. Clear ownership and resourcing

The client should have a clearly designated person to manage the work internally, taking into account, for example, the corporate structure. This person—often a sustainability manager, CFO, or quality manager—is responsible for understanding the overall process. Also they are responsible for communicating and sharing information within the company and value chains. Often, another person is specifically designated to handle more operational tasks. These tasks can include processing and inputting data into the calculator in the correct format.

➡️ When the division of labor is clear to the client, things progress more smoothly.

2. Resources allocated based on materiality analysis

The traditional 80/20 split works well: best practice is that 80% of emissions should rely on detailed information and preferably primary data. The remaining 20% of emission sources consist of smaller contributors, which can be estimated more roughly, for example, based on cost. For instance, in food companies, typically 80% of emissions come from raw materials. Then the focus of the calculation is specifically on those. Alternatively, in technology companies, the majority of emissions typically come from electricity consumption. Which is why, defining the main emissions sources precisely is important.

➡️ Comprehensive materiality analysis at the beginning of the project shows, according to the 80/20 principle, where to focus efforts regarding data.

ghg emission calculation

3. Calculation done on a digital platform

A scalable, digital calculator saves valuable expert hours from data manipulation. After all, companies no longer manage their customer relationships, finance, or customer service in Excel spreadsheets either. There are plenty of non-scientific options on the market. But also many options that provide GHG Protocol-compliant digital calculation all the latest science, recommendations, and standards.

➡️ Inputting data on a digital platform is clear and fast, and detailed results are generated dynamically as the work progresses.

4. Minimizing consulting work for data collection

The most cost-effective approach is for an experienced LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) expert to support and guide data prioritization, quality, format, and quantity. Outsourcing collection is both inefficient and a significant cost. The bill increases significantly without the client gaining expertise and understanding. It’s typical that a year later, they are back to square one. Therefore, we recommend that the client collects and processes their data under the guidance of an expert.

➡️ Client-driven data collection ensures that paid hours are kept under control. This also saves costs in long-term because going forward, they have the capabilities to repeat the process independently.


Summary

No one can promise that emission calculation won’t require effort, but costs should be kept reasonable—especially for SMEs. They cannot afford to invest tens of thousands of euros annually in consultant-led projects or recruit their own expert.

With Biocode’s digital calculation, and structured data collection, companies have done their Scope 1-3 calculations to audit readiness for an investment of under 20,000 euros. Furthermore, if a company does the work in-house it reduces costs in future years. This is because there is already a foundation in place regarding methodology, boundaries, expertise, and data availability.

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