Organizations are Accurately Tracking Their Carbon Footprint with Secure Monitoring at the Edge

Sep 06, 2022
IT Leadership

A new technology is providing trustworthy sustainability reporting and validated carbon emission measurements.

oil rig
Credit: Dell

As the threat of climate change looms, organizations across every sector are focused on driving sustainable progress and innovation. Most of these organizations are measuring success based on their stated goals in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives and results. 

Now there is a way to quantify and verify those achievements. It’s called Project Alvarium and its mission is to create a framework and open APIs that help organizations reliably and securely quantify trust in data collected and analyzed near the point of conception. This secure data can deliver near real-time insights into an operations’ carbon footprint, thus increasing transparency and accuracy in reporting. 

Why Valid Sustainability Measurement Matters

As part of the imperative to slow or reverse global warming, some governments are regulating emission levels over time. Public pressure on companies and industries to reduce their carbon footprints is also having a major impact, especially among investors who want to align their hopes for environmental repair and renewal with where they invest their money.

Many companies claim that they pursue environmentally sustainable best practices when it comes to energy usage and pollution, yet few regularly report their results. In June, Bloomberg reported that a financial institution was fined by the U.S. Security and  Exchange Commission for falsely stating that some of the firm’s mutual funds had undergone ESG quality reviews. These regulatory efforts are an attempt to combat “greenwashing,” or incorrect reporting and reimbursements related to fraudulent or unsubstantiated claims about the environmentally responsible practices of companies. 

This begs the question: How can the carbon footprint of companies ― from employees to devices, materials, and processes ― be measured and quantified?

Project Alvarium

Available for use by any industry, Project Alvarium includes tools for monitoring, reporting, and verifying metrics in data confidence fabrics (DCFs) that quantify trust in data delivered from devices to applications. This open-source trust framework and software development kit (SDK), hosted by the Linux Foundation and announced in 2021, is the culmination a four-year collaboration among Dell, Intel, Arm, VMware, ZEDEDA, the IOTA Foundation, and ClimateCHECK. Trust in data, the applications and infrastructure used are quantified in a confidence score. The dashboard can be customized to include specific algorithms and indices related to different industries. Trust fabrics also make it easier to scale data and network security compliance requirements and to monetize data.

The project represents a collaborative effort to unify open source and commercial trust insertion technologies in a standardized environment. There is no single data confidence fabric. Instead, each organization can build their own with preferred technologies using the Alvarium framework. 

In a home environment, for example, there are many different Internet of Things (IoT) devices, from TVs and laptops to smartphones, cars, digital assistants, security cameras, and kitchen appliances. All are supported by intersecting trust fabrics from different vendors. Project Alvarium’s data confidence fabric can be adapted to a home environment to facilitate scalable, trusted, secure collaboration across heterogenous ecosystems of applications and services connected to an open, interoperable edge. Most recently, Alvarium has been put to work in helping to define what data confidence looks like in the climate industry.

Measuring and Quantifying Environmental Impacts

Recently the Project Alvarium framework was used to adapt an automated measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) solution at a biodigestion energy and composting facility at a winery in Chile. It processes data from sensors measuring water, solids, gasses, and anaerobic digestion processes to provide real-time insights into the facility’s carbon footprint. 

Deployed at the edge, it is available as a blockchain solution with high levels of trust, transparency, and security. The solution at the facility has enabled the local utility in Chile, Bio Energía, to replace manual process reviews with continuous, real-time, trustworthy monitoring and reporting that provides a much more accurate understanding of how different innovations impact carbon emissions. 

This type of trustworthy sustainability reporting provides the public with validated information on company practices. It can lower barriers to carbon credit issuance and lure more investors to fund businesses that are introducing new innovations to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Learn more about Project Alvarium and edge computing solutions at Dell Technologies.


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