Carbon Tracking Tools: A Comparison

published on 17 December 2023

With climate change being a growing concern, most would agree that accurately tracking carbon emissions is crucial for businesses aiming to reduce their environmental impact.

Luckily, there are now user-friendly carbon tracking tools available that can help organizations easily analyze their carbon footprint and implement reduction strategies...

In this comprehensive comparison, we will evaluate the top carbon tracking platforms on criteria like accuracy, integration capabilities, and ease of use to help you select the best solution tailored for your business needs.

Introduction to Carbon Tracking and Emissions Management

What is Carbon Tracking and Why it's Crucial for Carbon Footprint Organization

Carbon tracking involves measuring and monitoring a company's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all business activities. By tracking emissions over time, companies can better understand their carbon footprint and identify opportunities to reduce their environmental impact.

Some key reasons why carbon tracking is important for organizations include:

  • Identifying high-impact areas to target for emissions reductions based on accurate emissions data. This allows companies to prioritize sustainability efforts for maximum impact.
  • Demonstrating sustainable practices to stakeholders like customers, investors, and regulators. Detailed emissions tracking and reduction plans convey environmental stewardship.
  • Preparing for emissions regulations such as cap-and-trade programs. Early adoption of carbon tracking ensures organizations can easily comply with and capitalize on future policies.
  • Pursuing carbon neutrality by offsetting unavoidable emissions. Comprehensive tracking is an essential first step on the path to net zero emissions.

The Importance of Carbon Tracking for Sustainable Business Practices

Carbon tracking and the insights it provides into a company's environmental footprint have become an integral component of corporate sustainability programs. Tracking emissions sheds light on the impacts of business operations and helps guide strategies to reduce environmental footprint over the long term.

The most sustainable companies view emissions tracking and management as an opportunity to operate more efficiently while also demonstrating to stakeholders, including customers and investors, that they are committed to addressing climate change. Detailed carbon accounting and reduction plans can boost public perception and provide companies with a competitive edge.

On the operational side, the emissions data carbon tracking systems generate allows businesses to pinpoint areas for improvement. Companies can identify emission hotspots, high-impact actions, track performance over time, and monitor progress towards emissions targets. These insights facilitate emissions reductions in a strategic, cost-effective manner.

Criteria for Evaluating Carbon Tracking Tools

When assessing carbon accounting and tracking platforms, key criteria to evaluate include:

Accuracy - The system should use accepted global standards and robust methodology to correctly calculate emissions across all scopes and business activities. More accurate tracking ensures quality data for decision making.

Usability - The platform should have an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that enables non-technical staff to input data and generate tracking reports seamlessly. Better usability saves time and boosts adoption across the organization.

Integration - Capabilities like API integration and automated data imports minimize manual data entry, reduce human error, and facilitate efficient reporting. This streamlines the tracking process at scale.

Customization - The tool should enable users to track emissions specific to their operations and build customized reports for various stakeholders like investors and regulators. Flexibility is key for meeting evolving needs.

Cost - Pricing models should balance features and accuracy with affordability depending on organization size and needs. Scalable pricing facilitates adoption across businesses. Comprehensive tracking should not be cost-prohibitive.

Using these key criteria, we will evaluate some of the top carbon accounting platforms available to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of each solution. This information will empower businesses to choose the best carbon tracking system to drive their sustainability programs forward and achieve real emissions reductions.

What is carbon tracking?

Carbon tracking refers to measuring and monitoring carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions from various sources. It involves quantifying emissions across direct operations and indirect activities across the value chain.

Tracking carbon emissions serves multiple purposes:

  • Helps organizations calculate their overall carbon footprint to understand their environmental impact
  • Allows benchmarking emissions year-over-year to identify trends
  • Supports setting science-based emission reduction targets and net-zero goals
  • Ensures compliance with changing regulations around sustainability reporting
  • Provides data to communicate climate action progress to stakeholders

There are two main approaches to carbon tracking:

  • Manual tracking using spreadsheets and estimation calculations
  • Automated tracking through dedicated software tools

Manual tracking can be tedious and prone to errors. Software solutions like EcoHedge offer automated data collection, customisable scope configuration, and detailed analytics. This simplifies the carbon accounting process for improved efficiency and accuracy.

Overall, carbon tracking builds foundations for organizations to make informed decisions and accelerate their decarbonization journeys. Integrating such capabilities early on facilitates long-term emission reductions aligned to climate goals.

What is carbon footprint tracking?

Carbon footprint tracking refers to measuring and monitoring the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused directly or indirectly by an individual, organization, event, or product. It provides a quantified view of the impact an entity has on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions.

Tracking carbon emissions enables businesses and individuals to:

  • Identify major emission sources and hotspots
  • Set emissions baselines and reduction targets
  • Make informed decisions to lower environmental impact
  • Benchmark against industry standards and leading practices
  • Comply with carbon regulations and disclosure mandates
  • Communicate sustainability commitments to stakeholders

Core elements of carbon tracking include:

  • Calculating your carbon footprint using emission factors and activity data
  • Reporting Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions as per GHG Protocol
  • Monitoring emission sources periodically through carbon accounting
  • Verifying footprint data through third-party audits
  • Offsetting residual emissions through certified projects

Robust carbon tracking tools can simplify data collection, provide customized assessments, automate calculations and generate detailed reports. As sustainability becomes mainstream, accurate carbon accounting and tracking will be crucial for organizations seeking to achieve net-zero emissions.

What is CarbonTracker used for?

CarbonTracker is a system that tracks carbon dioxide emissions over time. It provides companies and organizations with accurate and up-to-date information on their carbon footprint.

Specifically, CarbonTracker can be used to:

  • Measure current carbon dioxide emissions levels across operations and supply chains
  • Set emissions reduction targets aligned with climate goals
  • Identify high-impact areas to focus decarbonization efforts
  • Track progress over time as emissions reduction activities are implemented
  • Produce reports for both internal tracking and external communications

Having access to robust carbon tracking helps businesses make informed decisions to meet sustainability commitments. Whether aiming for net-zero emissions or just improving environmental performance, CarbonTracker gives the data needed to formulate strategies and measure success.

Its automated emissions calculations simplify the complex process of carbon accounting. Companies can seamlessly integrate CarbonTracker into existing systems without added burden on internal resources. All data is housed in one centralized platform for easy access and analysis.

In summary, CarbonTracker provides businesses the core carbon measurement capabilities to take control of their climate impact. Its combination of accuracy, automation, and integration capabilities empowers users with actionable environmental insights.

What is the meaning of carbon monitoring?

Carbon monitoring refers to tracking the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) or other greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from various sources over time. It is an important part of measuring and managing an organization's carbon footprint.

Specifically, carbon monitoring involves:

  • Calculating emissions from owned or controlled sources, like facilities, vehicles, and equipment
  • Tracking emissions data over time to identify trends and progress
  • Using methodologies aligned with GHG accounting protocols

For businesses targeting net-zero emissions, robust carbon monitoring is essential. It allows them to:

  • Identify their largest sources of emissions
  • Set effective emissions reductions goals
  • Make informed decisions to lower their footprint
  • Report progress to stakeholders

Comprehensive carbon monitoring relies on data collection processes and dedicated tracking tools. When done consistently over time, it provides the measurable insights needed to achieve ambitious decarbonization goals. Understanding current emission levels through carbon monitoring represents the critical first step for any serious climate action strategy.


Comprehensive Review of Carbon Tracking Apps and Platforms

Carbon tracking tools provide businesses with the ability to accurately measure and report on their carbon emissions over time. As companies increasingly commit to sustainability initiatives and net-zero emissions targets, these platforms have become invaluable for establishing carbon footprints, identifying emission hotspots, and guiding reduction strategies.

However, with many options now available, it can be challenging to determine which solution best fits your organization's specific needs and budget. Here we compare some of the most widely-used carbon accounting platforms on key factors including usability, integration, customizability, and overall capability.

User-friendly Carbon Tracking App: Net Zero

Net Zero offers an intuitive and affordable carbon management platform aimed at small to medium-sized companies just beginning their decarbonization journey. Its easy-to-use interface allows non-experts to log emission sources, track usage data, and run automated emissions calculations with minimal manual input. Customizable dashboards provide at-a-glance views of carbon footprints and progress toward reduction goals.

While Net Zero lacks some of the advanced features of enterprise platforms, its focus on usability makes it a practical option for resource-constrained teams seeking simple and accurate carbon reporting. Built-in guidance and best practice recommendations also help educate users on emissions management. For SMBs committed to sustainability transparency, Net Zero strikes an optimal balance between capability and ease of use.

Comprehensive Carbon Emissions Tracking: Sustainability Cloud

For advanced carbon and sustainability reporting capabilities, Sustainability Cloud is a top choice. This flexible platform captures emissions data from across operations using manual entry, sensor networks, and integrations with existing business systems. Granular tracking provides unparalleled visibility into carbon hotspots while extensive calculation methods ensure accuracy under complex operating conditions.

Sustainability Cloud also enables detailed forecast modeling and “what-if” analysis to model emissions reduction plans. Customizable dashboards allow tracking of sustainability KPIs beyond just carbon emissions. However, this added functionality comes at an increased cost, making Sustainability Cloud best suited for enterprises with dedicated sustainability teams. For those seeking comprehensive tracking and advanced analytics, Sustainability Cloud delivers enterprise-grade capabilities.

Accurate Carbon Footprint Organization with Carbon Analytics

Carbon Analytics strikes a balance between the usability of Net Zero and expansive capabilities of Sustainability Cloud. Its intuitive interface simplifies the carbon accounting process while providing accurate and auditable tracking tailored to the needs of small to medium-sized companies across industries.

Flexible data upload and reporting workflows integrate smoothly with existing finance and operational systems. Carbon Analytics also assists with stakeholder disclosures like CDP reporting and provides benchmarking against industry averages. For growing companies needing to scale their emissions tracking programs, Carbon Analytics offers a practical blend of ease-of-use and customization at a reasonable price point.

In summary, today's range of carbon tracking platforms makes measuring and reducing emissions more accessible than ever for companies of all sizes and sectors. However, identifying the right solution for your expanding business requires balancing factors like usability, flexibility, and reporting needs. Whether starting small with basic tracking or equipping your experienced sustainability team with an enterprise analytics powerhouse, services like Net Zero, Sustainability Cloud, and Carbon Analytics demonstrate the expanding possibilities of carbon management technology.

Direct Comparison of Carbon Tracking Tool Features

Assessing Accuracy in Carbon Emissions Tracking

The ability to accurately quantify carbon emissions is critical for companies seeking to reduce their environmental impact. Industry-standard methodologies like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol provide frameworks for categorizing direct and indirect emissions, setting the foundation for reliable carbon accounting.

When assessing carbon tracking platforms, key factors determining accuracy include:

  • Data coverage - What emission sources are included? Do they track all relevant Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions for comprehensive corporate footprinting?
  • Calculation methodology - Are emissions quantified using established global warming potentials and approved activity data sources?
  • Verification - Has the methodology been verified by independent auditors to ensure alignment with GHG Protocol scopes?

Leading carbon tracking tools use comprehensive emissions factors and activity data to capture all material emission sources. Their methodologies also undergo regular external verification for accuracy assurance. Prioritizing these features helps organizations reliably baseline and benchmark their carbon footprint over time.

Customization: Reporting and Goal Setting for Carbon Management

With reliable emissions data established, custom reporting and target-setting functionalities then enable actionable carbon insights.

Key attributes determining customization include:

  • Configurable reporting - Can reports be tailored to specific operational boundaries, sites, or time periods? Are custom visualizations and branding available?
  • Goal-setting - Are tools for target-setting based on budgets, intensities, or temperature scenarios available? Can reduction milestones be set?
  • Forecasting - Can forward-looking emissions projections and scenarios be modeled based on growth assumptions and reduction levers?

Enabling flexible analyses and clearly communicating insights via dashboards and reports is vital for mobilizing emissions reductions. Leading platforms provide customizable reporting paired with goal-setting tools to turn carbon data into action.

Integration and Automation in Carbon Footprint Tools

Manual data collection and spreadsheet tracking quickly becomes unscalable, increasing risks of error or unreliability. Prioritizing automation and integration mitigates these issues.

When evaluating capabilities, consider:

  • Data integrations - What sources are automated? Cloud services, utility data, fleet telemetry, supply chain data? Are APIs available?
  • Calculation engines - Is emissions quantification automated based on uploaded data? Does it simplify inventory maintenance?
  • Platform connectivity - Can data and insights easily integrate with planning tools? Is single sign-on available?

Automation reduces bottlenecks while cloud-based platforms provide accessibility across the organization. This enables continuous emissions tracking and more informed decision making as reduction plans are executed.

Exploring Free Carbon Tracking Options

Free carbon tracking tools provide a cost-effective way for startups and small businesses to begin measuring and reporting on their carbon emissions. While free tools have limitations in features, customizability, and analysis capabilities compared to paid solutions, they can offer a solid starting point for companies just embarking on their net zero journey.

Evaluating Free Carbon Tracking Tools for Startups and SMEs

When evaluating free carbon tracking apps, startups should consider factors like:

  • Ease of use: As small teams likely lack dedicated sustainability roles, the tool should have an intuitive user interface without a steep learning curve. Setting up data inputs, configuring assessments, and generating reports should be straightforward.
  • Essential tracking capabilities: At minimum, the tool should track scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions across business travel, facilities, supply chain etc. More advanced (paid) tools offer lifecycle analysis, historical comparisons, scenario planning etc.
  • Customization: While free tools rely on defaults, some allow customization like setting organizational boundaries, entering emission factors, and configuring reports. This added flexibility is useful as companies scale.
  • Data imports/exports: Manually entering data can be cumbersome. The ability to import from existing data sources, and to export data and reports is key for efficiency.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Free tools rarely offer stakeholder portals. However, the ability to export reports to share sustainability performance is valuable.

Pros and Cons of Utilizing Free Carbon Tracking Solutions


  • Cost savings compared to paid solutions with monthly/annual subscriptions
  • Entry-level functionality to understand key emission sources and track performance
  • Suitable for small organizational footprints


  • Limited customization and reliance on defaults
  • Lack advanced analytics of paid solutions for forecasting, goal-setting etc.
  • Data inputs and reporting can be time/labor intensive without automation
  • May need to transition to more robust tool as company scales

To maximize value from free tools, pair with strong data collection processes and be strategic in utilising available customization and integrations.

Case Studies: Success Stories with Free Carbon Tracking

EcoCart, an ecommerce solution provider, uses a free carbon tracking tool to analyze emissions from their shipping operations. By leveraging custom reports, they identified efficiency opportunities in their supply chain. Over 2 years they reduced emissions by 11% despite business growth.

Plan A, a Berlin startup, has tracked its portfolio emissions using a free tool since founding. This performance transparency helped secure early stage investors and customers. As they scale, Plan A is looking towards more advanced lifecycle analysis in a paid tool.

For Trace Air Ltd, a free tool's logistics module helped reveal emissions from third-party carriers. By switching to greener transport partners, they cut shipping emissions by 20% annually. The free tool supports Trace Air's net zero target as they expand.

As these examples show, free tools can unlock basic yet meaningful carbon insights, help attract stakeholders, and drive strategic reduction activities for small enterprises. With some creativity, commitment and process discipline, the free tier can power the first steps of the sustainability journey.

Practical Guidance for Implementing Carbon Tracking in Businesses

Determining Carbon Emissions Tracking Goals and Scope

Companies first need to determine their reasons for tracking carbon emissions. Common goals include:

  • Complying with climate regulations and disclosure requirements
  • Setting a carbon footprint baseline to inform emissions reduction targets
  • Identifying efficiency opportunities and cost savings
  • Engaging stakeholders through sustainability reporting

The scope of analysis should align with these goals. For basic compliance, a simplified footprint confined to company operations may suffice. More ambitious net zero commitments require full value chain analysis across Scopes 1, 2, and 3.

Once goals are clear, companies can evaluate carbon tracking solutions against criteria like:

  • Accuracy - Using accurate emissions factors and calculation methodologies
  • Ease of use - Intuitive user interface and workflows
  • Integration - Connecting to data sources like utility bills, fleet telemetry
  • Flexibility - Customizing assessments to fit business needs
  • Functionality - Analysis, target setting and tracking, reporting

Choosing software aligned to objectives and resources enables effective adoption.

Achieving Internal Stakeholder Buy-In for Carbon Tracking Initiatives

Gaining leadership approval for sustainability software investments requires demonstrating how it ties to organizational priorities. A strong business case highlights:

  • Cost savings from energy efficiency guided by emissions insights
  • Future-proofing against shifting climate policies and expectations
  • Competitive edge with investors and customers valuing social responsibility

Meanwhile, user adoption depends on an intuitive platform and training. Best practices include:

  • Hands-on walkthroughs for navigating carbon tracking workflows
  • Defining staff roles and permissions for collecting data
  • Setting up alerts and reminders for usage milestones

Organization-wide input and capability building ensures accurate footprint baselines.

Maintaining Ongoing Carbon Footprint Management and Improvement

With software implementation complete, the priority becomes maintaining an accurate, up-to-date portrait of emissions over time.

As reduction initiatives progress, methodologies should be continually enhanced to reflect the latest industry standards and account for business evolution. Periodically reviewing calculation methodologies and emission factors ensures optimal alignment to current best practices.

Furthermore, coupling carbon insights directly to ecological impact actions helps meet sustainability targets. Software placing data directly into context of tonnes of CO2 equivalent reduced makes results tangible for leadership to track progress towards goals.

With the right footprint analysis platform tailored to evolving needs, businesses can confidently manage sustainability performance for the long haul.

Conclusion: Selecting the Right Carbon Tracking Solution

Identifying the Main Differentiators Amongst Carbon Tracking Tools

When evaluating carbon tracking solutions, key factors to consider include:

  • Accuracy: The methodology and emission factors used to calculate emissions can vary greatly between tools, impacting result accuracy. Verify that the tool aligns with GHG protocol standards.
  • Usability: The tool should integrate smoothly into existing workflows with an intuitive interface. Evaluate ease of data input and reporting functionality.
  • Customization: The ability to track custom emission sources and configure reports to internal/external standards is advantageous.
  • Automation: Tools that auto-sync with energy, travel, procurement data reduce manual data entry. Review available integrations.

Selecting the Top Carbon Tracking Platform Based on Specific Needs

Company Size

Primary Goal

Recommended Tool

Key Benefits


Basic carbon reporting

EcoHedge Express

Template reports, easy set-up


Stakeholder engagement

EcoHedge Engage

Custom reports, data visualizations


Compliance, strategy

EcoHedge Lifecycle

LCA modelling, scenario analysis

Final Thoughts on the Imperative of Carbon Tracking for Businesses

As sustainability becomes an integral aspect of business strategy, accurate carbon tracking paves the path for data-driven emission reductions. Leveraging purpose-built tools like EcoHedge equips companies to effectively measure, report on, and engage stakeholders around their climate impact. An informed view of carbon footprints empowers businesses to set audacious goals, identify efficiency opportunities, realize cost savings, and meaningfully contribute towards necessary global decarbonization efforts.

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