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Customer stories

Building a carbon management solution for a global E-commerce platform

Company highlights:

  • Publicly-listed e-commerce platform
  • More than $10 billion annual turnover
  • Active in 20 countries
  • 20,000 employees worldwide
  • More than 10,000 suppliers
Berlin, Germany
Climatiq Products:

Streamlined data collection, transformation, and delivery

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Committed to achieving carbon neutrality, a category-leading e-commerce platform set ambitious science-based climate action targets to reduce its environmental impact. Specifically, they aim to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 80%, and own-brand Scope 3 emissions by 40%, all by 2025. But how are they planning to reach these goals?

Problem: Outsourcing carbon footprinting has limitations

For several years, the company had been using consulting services and spreadsheets to track its carbon footprint. Over time, their sustainability lead realised that this approach was insufficient for accurately measuring progress towards such ambitious targets. The process was disconnected, opaque, heavily dependent on manual data entry, and too slow. With 20,000 employees, operations in more than 20 active markets, and a large variety of use cases for carbon insights, a standard carbon accounting tool would not be able to handle the company’s complexity. They concluded that the most future-proof approach was to bring this capability and expertise in-house.

Challenge: Delivering a bespoke carbon management solution to meet the challenges of a multinational enterprise

Similar to financial data, carbon emissions constitute a critical business metric. This means the company prioritises it on the same level as existing core KPIs. It aims to enable every single team on the ground to receive the insights they need to make emission-reducing decisions. For instance, the logistics team is looking to reduce operational shipment emissions, while the procurement team is asking for order-level insights into the carbon emissions of their purchased raw materials.

Fragmented process for collecting activity data, driven by spreadsheets and manual processes.

For the new setup, the team defined a number of requirements:

  • Automated and continuous carbon emission calculation on a transactional level across scope 1-3
  • Scalability and interoperability that enables easy addition and integration of new features, data, regions, etc. to the existing toolset
  • Modular and flexible provision of carbon insights to quickly tailor output to the needs of individual teams, e.g. logistics, procurement, and facility management
  • Transparent calculations based on trusted scientific models that follow the GHG Protocol for reliable auditing and assurance of carbon emission reporting and disclosure
  • Control of data governance to ensure data integrity and safeguard sensitive business data
  • Cost and time savings through avoiding resource-heavy manual calculations and unplanned expenses, instead relying on an automated, scalable solution

Solution: Embedding carbon management into the company’s core

To solve this challenge, the company is building up an industry-leading centralised sustainability data hub at its heart. The data hub takes in all relevant data points across operational divisions, enriches the data with carbon insights, and feeds the results back to different teams where it’s used for reporting, scenario planning, integration into operational systems, and decision processes. And it’s all done without teams having to worry about data collection, cleaning, and transformation.

Project Team:

  • Sustainability Manager
  • Data & Analytics Manager
  • Data Analyst
  • Data Engineer
  • Software Engineer

Automating carbon emission calculations

One of the biggest challenges in designing the sustainability data hub was figuring out how to provide a carbon insight layer. Instead of sinking internal resources into time-intensive and error-prone manual selection and emission factor mapping, the team wanted a partner that could provide access to robust, transparent emission data across all relevant emission areas via a scalable API. Climatiq was the perfect fit.

“Climatiq got us closer to what we needed immediately — reliable, manageable, and well-documented emission factors with rich metadata.” - Senior Manager for Data & Analytics

Architecture of the sustainability data platform

Based on the company’s data strategy and the possibilities enabled by Climatiq’s carbon calculation engine, the following setup is now being implemented by the data and analytics team:

  1. Data collection: Raw operational data is collected from different systems like SAP and existing data hubs like Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, or spreadsheets, and transformed in a data lake (powered by Databricks)
  2. Data transformation: Input data is continuously cleaned in Databricks and transformed into carbon insights using the Climatiq API.
  3. Data delivery: Consuming teams can pull required data from the lake in any format and context relevant to their use case

Solution: a central data lake using Databricks to streamline data collection, transformation, and delivery.

Impact and recommendations: What this company wants others to know

Setting up this kind of data management system requires assembling a multidisciplinary team, designing a scalable architecture, and breaking down complex workflows into smaller projects to allow for continuous improvement. While this might sound like a heavy commitment, after just a few months, the benefits already clearly outweigh the costs. Here’s what they already have in place:

  • Automated carbon emission calculation with minimal human input through the integration of Climatiq’s API and a scalable setup
  • Modular and flexible provision of carbon insights combined with a self-service approach allows individual teams access to carbon emission metrics
  • Transparent calculations with a clear and auditable data flow based on the GHG Protocol and scientifically-vetted emission calculations
  • Strong data governance as no transactional data is stored outside their own system
  • Cost and time savings through automating manual and time-consuming tasks, avoiding reliance on external support, and delivering on stakeholder requests with ease.

Now it’s your turn

Has all this got you thinking about how to best set up your own organisation’s carbon management system? Contact Climatiq to learn more about how you and your team can accelerate your net-zero journey by automating emission management and creating carbon transparency within your company. Get started today for a greener tomorrow.

"No large company would outsource their whole financial accounting expertise, so why do it for a similarly sensitive issue: carbon accounting?"

Senior Manager for Data & Analytics

Get started with automated emission calculations.