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Despite banks’ net-zero carbon pledges, a recent survey carried out by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) found that nearly half of global banks had not conducted any analysis of the climate impact within their investment portfolios. But with growing pressure from all corners of society, it’s clear the financial powerhouses of the world can’t ignore the need to curtail climate change. Last year, BlackRock even announced sustainability was its “new standard for investing.”
But good intentions don’t necessarily translate into meaningful action. Managing and accounting for emissions is a complex process, particularly within global enterprises with vast supply chains and partner networks — these “scope 3 emissions” are tricky to track. Enter Sweep, a French startup that launched in public beta this week with $5 million in funding to help reduce the inherent complexities of capturing carbon emissions data across an enterprise’s entire value chain, spanning internal operations and external partners.
Founded out of Montpellier in 2020, Sweep is the brainchild of Rachel Delacour and Nicolas Raspal, who previously launched a business intelligence startup called Bime Analytics that they sold to customer service software giant Zendesk in 2015, and Raphael Güller and Yannick Chaze.
Any enterprise looking to launch an emissions program would typically follow four basic steps, according to Delacour: measure their emissions, reduce their emissions, contribute to carbon projects, and communicate their actions. When it comes to measurement, businesses currently use any combination of consulting services, spreadsheets, and business intelligence tools. The bigger the company is, the more difficult it is to keep an accurate record of all its emissions across the board.
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“Determining a comprehensive and precise footprint in the most simple organization is already hard,” Delacour told VentureBeat. “In a relatively complex, multi-site, multi-product or business unit enterprise, it is a serious undertaking. With existing tools, these companies need to juggle Excel sheets aggregation, no approval workflows, bare-bones emission factors, and no real auditability.”
Sweep enables businesses to measure emissions continuously, giving everyone in the company and supply chain access to the data to understand what’s working and which areas need to change. It also allows companies to set targets, including individual or teamwide goals that gamify the process through friendly competition. Externally, Sweep also offers granular controls in terms of who can access what information across a company’s subsidiaries or partners, which is crucial for protecting other sensitive data.
Common data types Sweep processes include things like land use, electricity generation, travel, and material transportation.
Sweep offers APIs that companies can connect via any system, service, or database with just a couple of lines of code, affording them the flexibility to funnel in data from just about anywhere. Sweep is also working on prebuilt integrations for specific services, such as travel booking software and other SaaS tools, though these are not available yet.
Other companies are working to modernize the carbon accounting and tracking process, with the likes of fledgling Arizona startup Persefoni recently raising $9.7 million in funding. While Sweep may not be alone in its endeavors, Delacour is hopeful that its user-friendliness will help it gain traction among corporations across all sectors.
“Making real change in a big company requires teamwork, which is why Sweep is all about collaboration, sharing data, approvals, and so on,” Delacour said. “We realized that a good carbon tool needs to be usable by as many people as possible, collaborating on analysis and climate action. And so we built it.”
Scope of coverage
It’s important not to underestimate the significance of scope 3 emissions in any carbon accounting process. Businesses might tightly control their internal emissions, but their suppliers may contribute significant carbon output. Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), a bottling partner for Coca-Cola, has estimated that 93% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019 were scope 3.
This is what Sweep wants to address. Sweep can connect climate data across companies, allowing all parties in a supply chain to collaborate. “This is the only way companies can seriously tackle their indirect scope 3 emissions,” Delacour added. “Companies cannot truly claim ‘net zero’ emissions status unless they have tackled their scope 3 emissions, given that their scope 3 emissions come from their suppliers, customers, and entire value chain.”
Sweep also offers a curated marketplace for carbon offsetting projects, which helps it map a company’s emissions. “If companies want to buy negative carbon on their Scope 1 and 2 emissions with Sweep, it can be done with literally one click of a button.”
It’s still early days for Sweep, but the problem it’s seeking to tackle impacts businesses of all sizes across every industry. As public and governmental pressure mounts, companies will have to not only measure their carbon footprint but demonstrate that they are reducing it, something Sweep’s reporting features can enable.
Sweep also includes “investor-grade” reports that can be set to automatically publish “in line with the latest carbon accounting standards.”
According to Delacour, Sweep currently has “very significant projects underway” with two large global manufactures and a telecom company, though the only business it was at liberty to divulge was sustainable clothing company Picture Organic Clothing.
“We’ve seen that a lot of companies want to do good and just need the proper tools to make it happen — which is where Sweep comes in,” Delacour said.
In terms of pricing, Sweep operates a SaaS subscription business model, ranging from $254 per month for smaller teams to bespoke pricing plans for enterprises.
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