Counting the cost of carbon: helping businesses to manage emissions

Carbon accounting for managed urban environments: Creating a conceptual process-based model

A unique collaboration between accountants and scientists is expected to have a significant impact on the growing need for businesses to 'go green'.

Professors Naomi Soderstrom and Brad Potter are working in collaboration with the School of BioSciences’ Professor Ian Woodrow, the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand to develop an innovative process-based model of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s carbon cycle.

Starting with an audit of thousands of different tree species at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens to better understand the different carbon accumulation rates of garden components, including trees, turf and ponds, the research team addressed a knowledge gap in the carbon uptake of native Australian species.

The audit data is now being used to create a process-based model for managed urban environments that can be used by businesses and organisations to boost their understanding, as well as measuring and reporting capabilities, of carbon emissions. This, in turn, will help organisational leaders to make more informed decisions on what measures to adopt to offset their carbon emissions.

The research team also plans to test alternative means by which carbon emissions information is reported to provide information that is useful for a diverse range of stakeholders.

The research is funded as part of a three-year Australia Research Council Linkage project.

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This research is expected to have significant implications for organisations when it comes to having the economic tools to accurately measure and account for their carbon reduction measures.