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Open Footprint Forum – Standardising footprint data

We’ve all read many articles on the carbon footprint of an item, a product, a technology or an industry. But how easy are these values to compare in an apples-to-apples manner?

It’s all very well knowing that X’s footprint is one value, and Y’s is another, but if we’re unable to compare them to each other, they’re just meaningless numbers. For a real comparison to be possible, the standards used to gather and report the data need to be standardised.

Enter The Open Group’s Open Footprint Forum, a group endeavouring to establish agreed-upon standards and create a common-model for footprint-related data. This data will cover all types of emissions, consumptions, and base calculations. The reasoning, as they point out on their site, is:

Organizations today face many significant challenges when it comes to managing their environmental footprints, including:

– Increasing requirements for reliable environmental disclosure to customers, regulators, and society

– Consistency in data measurement, compatibility, and interoperability throughout supply chains

– A lack of standards for recording and processing environmental footprint data

They list a perfect example of when one is wanting to calculate the total carbon footprint of a product received via a supply chain comprising multiple participating companies. This task is incredibly difficult given that each participating company has likely calculated and stored data using its own standards.

Thus, their solution is that, having implemented a copy of their data platform, each of the above-mentioned participating companies will be using the same definitions, allowing the carbon values to be added together and compared.

Current members of the Open Footprint Forum include some really big corporate and tech names and include (sorted alphabetically): Accenture, Amazon Web Services, BP plc, Capgemini, Chevron, Cognite AS, Data Gumbo, Deloitte Consulting, DNV GL, Emisoft AS, Energy Systems Catapult, Equinor ASA, ERM, Fujitsu, Halliburton, IBM, Infosys Limited, Intel, Intertek, Repsol S.A., SAP SE, Schlumberger, Shell Global Solutions B.V, MicroFocus, Microsoft Corporation, PIDX International, The University of Oslo and Wipro.

They aim to provide an environment for access to one set of standards across all industries, given the importance of spanning all industries relevant to the supply chain. Therefore, they offer:

  • One flexible data platform (a model is available on the site)
  • One set of data definitions
  • One set of metadata definitions
  • One API (Application Program Interface) to access the data

The Open Footprint initiative, in addition to a set of standards, is also a reference architecture and an open-source-based reference implementation.

Download their 2-page PDF data sheet here.

References and Sources: n.d. Open Footprint Forum | The Open Group Website. [online] Available at:

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