Spend Matters has added Carbon Management to its procurement tech discovery and matching tool, TechMatch. The task of reporting on upstream Scope 3 emissions is becoming a mandatory requirement for more and more organizations around the world as legislation is introduced and consumer scrutiny demands it. Procurement often finds itself deeply entwined with CO2 monitoring and management as this is a task that requires collaboration with the supply chain in order to provide meaningful input. To this end, organizations are increasingly seeking the help of technology to support their carbon management initiatives, performance and reporting.
Spend Matters’ initiative to add Carbon Management to TechMatch was a decision made to aid those organizations to find the right tool or service for their particular business needs more quickly and more efficiently.
Our senior analyst for Sourcing and SxM, Bertrand Maltaverne, and VP of Research, Nick Heinzmann, were instrumental in the design and initiative of the TechMatch addition. Here, they talk about the rationale behind the initiative and where they see its value for users and vendors.
What were the drivers behind adding a Carbon Management element to TechMatch?
There are so many tech solutions on the market, all with different offerings, and the challenge is to find the one that is right for the organization. That’s a task that is becoming more and more tricky, because companies have different needs and motivations for addressing CO2 emission management and monitoring.
Bertrand Maltaverne explains: “One provider may be a better option than another. A suite or best-of-breed provider with a CO2 capability might be a better option than a dedicated rating or ranking provider for example, and of course vice versa. Business needs are so distinct that it’s becoming really important to clearly understand a solution’s capabilities.
“The impetus behind our decision to create a Carbon Management TechMatch is exactly that— to provide a unique insight that is data-based to inform the right decisions.
“Carbon Management is now a big preoccupation for most, if not all, companies because of regulatory pressure; there are far more regulations around CO2 emissions from a reporting standpoint, and also a financial standpoint, than ever before. And more are coming. Depending on the country you operate within, there may even be financial impacts of your CO2 emissions and those of your supply chain. So there is more obligation on companies to report as this becomes mandatory.
“Last year Spend Matters launched an ESG campaign looking into regulations and state of play of tech providers’ and users’ engagement with this very serious subject, ahead of COP27. So our interest in adding Carbon Management to TechMatch was also because we believe it’s a necessary and planet-conscious thing to do.”
Nick Heinzmann adds: “Many spend management tech providers are taking it upon themselves to develop their own answers to the very big and very real CO2 management quandary — often as a result of the regulatory landscape. These tech vendors actually have a real place in serving this market, rather than just the specialized ESG-focused vendors or those just focusing on carbon. So it makes sense to have a framework by which organizations can assess the different vendors and offerings.
“And because some aspects of decarbonization and reducing emissions are really the nuts and bolts of supplier management, in terms of KPIs, contract terms and the realization of those contract terms, one might think of turning to an SxM provider. But there are also the aspects of calculation and the estimation of emissions that might be better served by specialists. So we observed that there is a disconnect between the different capabilities sought after and what the vendors can provide. Clearly, (almost) no one vendor can do it all, so there is room in this space for both procurement vendors and the specialists, and Spend Matters wants to help buyers make sense of what’s on offer.”
How does it help Users?
Bertrand Maltaverne: “Given that the supply chain is in large part responsible for GHG emissions, if a business wants to address the problem it has to embed CO2 as one of the trade-offs that it makes when selecting suppliers, as we discussed in our observations on Sourcing and SxM in our SolutionMap Fall update. And this is why solution providers that do support supplier selection, supplier identification, sourcing, contract management and so on, should embed CO2 in decision-making processes because it’s critical, and because while it’s good to estimate your footprint, it’s even better to actively reduce it. It’s through procurement and through the supply chain that this is going happen.
“So the ability for organizations to compare and contrast tech that can help them in their carbon management endeavours is our contribution to business and to the world, because we truly believe the supply chain has a tremendous impact to make.”
Nick Heinzmann: “It’s also important for organizations to recognize that while procurement can play a big role in helping close the divide between understanding the global footprint and actually reducing it, the requirement is really cross-functional. So we are helping to guide thinking at organizations and show all the different considerations that need to be taken into account, because the chief sustainability officer, the CPO, the supply chain officer and even the CEO all have different components they need to execute on their mandates, and they have to collaborate both technologically and functionally to do it.
“But, as we said, there is a disconnect in the market between what is needed and what’s actually available, so with our Carbon Management TechMatch we are mapping the market at a very early stage to help users, because we know they are working through this disconnect right now.”
How does it help Vendors?
Bertrand Maltaverne: “Participating in SolutionMap and TechMatch gives vendors the opportunity to answer customers’ questions. Customers want a way to manage CO2 estimations and reductions, owing to the importance of the supply chain in Scope 3 and what companies should address under regulatory pressure. So they are turning to their spend management solution providers to understand how they can help with this.
“TechMatch also provides benchmarking to show how vendors’ offerings are positioned, how they fit with what other providers are doing, even where they sit on the wider stage of players and solutions outside of their own area.”
Nick Heinzmann: “For example, we have brand new entrants to SolutionMap, like EcoVadis and specialist carbon management provider Carbmee. But by and large it is the suite providers from SolutionMap with a CO2 offering that play in TechMatch, and they are all different in their own way. We also have analytics vendors like Simfoni and Sievo.
“But it’s interesting that if a provider hasn’t yet addressed this area, it will be looking either to build something really soon, or partner with a third party to provide it. The approach of mixing your capabilities with those of a partner, as APEX Analytics has done, is shown in TechMatch to be a move that works well.
“So we believe that with all of the macro and regulatory pressures, if you’re not doing this already, you will soon be pressured into doing something very soon. So vendors need to start thinking about building or partnering to address carbon management.”
Using TechMatch for Users
By simply answering questions about what’s important to you in your carbon management initiative on a scale of 1-5, TechMatch will show you how different vendors match up and how they cope with different requirements, whether that’s granularity of emissions versus collaborating with suppliers, or how well they do emissions and target reduction analytics. You’ll get a fast picture of what vendors do well and what they do less well. And while each output varies depending on the input, your answers will appear in clear comparison visuals, which are both targeted and powerful.
Getting into TechMatch for Vendors
Spend Matters is working on expanding its CO2 offering in TechMatch, and we’re delighted to invite specialists from the ESG space to participate. We’ve designed TechMatch to be agile and horizontal so that players can be added easily. It means that for providers already in SolutionMap (discover how to play here) it takes very little effort to appear in TechMatch. And brand-new entrants simply need to respond to the elements of the RFI related to CO2.
Here is a visual of the CO2 players:
For more information on participating in SolutionMap (see our latest release here) and TechMatch please get in touch.
For a granular look into the main players in TechMatch Carbon Management, PRO subscribers can look out for an upcoming Vendor Analysis.
Find out more about PRO membership here.