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The rise of the carbon manager

More and more companies have a carbon coordinator – do you? The carbon coordinator is the person responsible for measuring and monitoring CO2 emissions and advising on how they can be reduced. This position will become increasingly common in the years ahead, and it may even evolve into a fully-fledged carbon manager role.

This blog is based on an article that was originally published by evofenedex in June 2023.

The carbon reduction targets from the Paris Agreement triggered a tidal wave of regulations affecting businesses. At least 40 countries – both in developed and developing economies – already have mandatory emissions reporting programmes, and more and more countries are following suit. The highest-profile programme in Europe is the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

However, the fact that the legislation is being introduced in stages leaves companies wondering when they need to appoint a carbon manager to help them stay on top of all the legal requirements. And if they don’t appoint such a person, who will do it instead? Initially, this will result in extra work for logistics managers, sustainability managers, quality managers or QSHE managers. Eventually, especially in larger companies, it will make sense to bring all the relevant tasks together and hire a full-time employee: a carbon manager.

Tasks of a carbon manager

A carbon manager’s tasks can roughly be divided into four key categories. First, the manager is responsible for identifying, monitoring and measuring the company’s CO2 emissions. Using advanced measurement techniques and data analysis, the manager can identify and evaluate emissions from various business processes. This enables the company to take targeted and effective action to reduce emissions in the relevant areas. Moreover, regular monitoring of emissions allows the company to understand the progress and the impact of measures taken.

Secondly, the carbon manager acts as an internal advisor and ‘sustainability stimulator’. By promoting awareness, the manager can involve other employees in reducing carbon emissions, such as by organizing workshops and training sessions and/or encouraging employees to share their ideas for saving energy or optimizing processes.

Thirdly, the carbon manager provides important input for the creation and implementation of a sustainability strategy. A clear strategy, based on clear objectives, not only helps the company to become more environmentally friendly, but can also lead to cost efficiency and competitive advantage.

Last but not least, the carbon manager is a valuable link between the company and its external stakeholders, such as governments and inspection agencies. A carbon manager can take responsibility for the communication, prepare reports and ensure that the requirements of relevant certification and compliance programmes are met. This not only ensures transparency, but can also enhance the company’s image and generate new business opportunities.

Urgent need

Whether it is necessary to appoint a new, full-time carbon manager or whether the tasks can be handled by an existing employee will depend on the size and complexity of the company. But one thing is clear: the various developments surrounding emissions legislation mean that there is an urgent need for organizations to start thinking about how these duties will be performed. After all, the first companies will have to start complying with the new rules in their 2024 financial year as the basis for reports to be published in 2025.

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