Q. What is the Open Footprint Forum?
A. The Open Footprint (OFP) Forum is an open standards development forum working to ease data management challenges associated with emissions data. The forum expects to release initial versions of a standard data model, reference APIs, and a reference implementation in Q4, 2023.
Q. What business problems is the Forum addressing through its standards work?
A. Large enterprises from various industries are realizing that regulatory requirements specifying emissions reporting are increasing across the globe. In addition, with many organizations making net zero commitments, they are realizing that to effectively reduce their emissions, they first need to understand their current GHG footprint. To do this, they need comprehensive data management capabilities for emissions data, including from business partners, as the current lack of data standards for emissions data brings many inefficiencies. In response to this, the Forum is working on standards and other deliverables that will address these issues.
Q. What are the key deliverables being worked on by the Forum?
A. The forum is working on an emissions data model standard, reference APIs, and an open source reference implementation, and associated documentation. The data model will enable greenhouse gas information (GHG) and other emissions data to be described in a standard way, including metadata, for scopes 1, 2, and 3. This will ease sharing issues especially for scope 3 data from extended value chains.
Q. Who is involved in the Forum?
A. We have a broad, fairly diverse, and growing membership, from large IT customer organizations, major energy companies, large technology providers, large global consultancies, audit, assurance firms, and many large and small solution providers. For a complete member list see this page. Each of these organizations realizes that there are literally hundreds of initiatives solving bits and pieces of the GHG reporting problem, but none are delivering what the Open Footprint Forum is chartered to deliver.
Q. For organizations joining the Forum and participating in this standards work, what business value and benefits can be expected in the near term, and in the longer term?
A. The standards being produced by the Forum will enable all participants to benefit by helping drive friction and cost out of the emissions data management area in the short term, while enabling better and more agile emissions decision-making in the longer term.
Q. What categories of organizations should consider participating, and why?
A. Large enterprises who are dealing with the emissions data management challenge, software providers, governments and regulatory agencies, consultancies, audit firms, and academics are all encouraged to consider joining and getting involved in the Forum.
Q. How can we learn more, and can we get involved in the Forum?
A. For more information, visit this web page (https://www.opengroup.org/openfootprint-forum), and complete the contact form found there. Alternately, you can send an email to us here.
Q. There are many greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting frameworks and standards out there. Why does the world need another standard, and how will the work of this forum differ from the work of other GHG standards organizations?
A. There are several GHG emissions reporting frameworks available that help define what to report on emissions to regulators. There is also work going on in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to define GHG data at the product level. The Open Footprint Forum focuses on development of a data model that can be used to describe GHG and other emissions data across an entire enterprise, and including extended value chains, for enterprises from all industries. The OFP is collaborating with the WBCSD and other standards organizations to align the work we do with theirs, and to avoid duplication.
Q. GHG emissions reporting is categorized into scopes 1, 2, and 3. Does the work of the forum relate to all three scopes?
A. Yes, the data model is useful for capture and management of emissions data for all of scopes 1, 2, and 3. Scope 3 presents unique challenges for companies, as it requires collection of emissions data from business partners throughout the lifecycle of products. Scope 3 emissions are also estimated to represent as much as 90% of emissions for any given firm. The standards being delivered by the Forum are especially useful to scope 3 emissions data management.
Q. What are the key regulations driving activity around GHG emissions reporting?
A. The EU has put several laws in place to drive an aggressive net zero agenda, including the European Climate Law, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD, enacted 5 January 2023), and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. These have timelines associated that are driving affected companies now (and which includes European companies as well as other companies with significant operations in Europe). In the US, the US Securities and Exchange Commission proposed in March 2022 rules requiring GHG emissions reporting for scope 1/2/3 emissions. The final SEC rule on GHG emissions is expected to be issued before the end of 2023. There are also laws in Canada, Singapore, Australia, and other countries governing emissions reporting, and more can be expected.
Q. Why should companies and organizations consider using the OFP data model if they have their own data platform?
A. Internally developed platforms or commercial solutions store this data in a proprietary and non-standard way, which brings significant challenges in importing data from supply chain partners, and developing an overall GHG footprint. These challenges translate into friction, cost for manual data conversions, and unnecessary delays. API standards and a reference implementation are being created to ease and accelerate the adoption of the OFP data model.
Q. Does the Open Footprint Forum, through this work, share and make public member data on emissions?
A. The Forum views each member’s data as their own. The work of the Forum will put them in a better position to collect and manage GHG data, and to share data with others in their value chain as required, and to report on GHG emissions data to regulators as required by the jurisdictions they operate in. The Forum does not publish emissions data.
Q. How does the Open Footprint Forum develop standards, and is the process open?
A. The Open Group Open Footprint Forum operates using a defined, published, open consensus standards process (see https://www.opengroup.org/standardsprocess/).
Q. Is the Open Footprint Forum trying to address challenges in specific industries or is it industry agnostic?
A. The emissions data management challenges being addressed by the Forum are ubiquitous across all industries. The Forum and the deliverables that we maintain are purposefully industry agnostic, as care has been taken to ensure that the data model can accommodate the needs of diverse industries.
About the OFP Data Model Standard, Reference APIs, and Reference Implementation
Q. Why is a data model standard important?
A. Without an open data model standard, large enterprises trying to determine their GHG footprint are forced to convert hundreds or thousands of spreadsheets to an internal standard format at each reporting interval. By supporting an openly developed, standard data model, the inefficiencies associated with this are greatly reduced.
Q. What are some of the common use cases that the data model will address?
A. The data model is being used in a variety of use cases, including emissions reporting, emissions data integration, IT infrastructure and software development carbon emissions, utility emissions data ingestion, methane emissions data management, carbon capture and sequestration data, and many others.
Q. Are there are restrictions on use for the data model standard, API standards, and reference implementation?
A. All Open Footprint standards deliverables will be provided as open source, with components licensed under Apache License 2.0. The open source components will be made available upon completion on a community Gitlab site.
Q. What environments will the OFP reference implementation operate in?
A. Once released, the OFP reference implementation will run on any public cloud or on-premise cloud platform.
Q. Will the data model calculation algorithms used in the Open Footprint data model be openly developed, and inspectable for audit and assurance purposes?
A. The algorithms used in the data model will be openly developed, and inspectable for audit purposes.
Q. The Forum is developing reference APIs. How will these be used, and by who?
A. We expect that the APIs will be helpful to software solution providers wanting to support the use of the data model in their products, and to companies developing internal systems based upon the OSDU® data model.
Q. The Forum is also delivering a reference implementation. How will this be delivered?
A. The reference implementation will be provided as open source code that can be used on any of the major cloud platforms that are supporting it for their service. The reference implementation will be very helpful to large enterprises building their own data management system, and to software solution providers seeking to support the data model in their solution.
Q. Do the Open Footprint Forum deliverables support blockchain or AI?
A. While the Forum sees the potential to leverage blockchain and AI for various use cases in the future, the immediate focus is on getting the data model standard, API standards, and reference implementation released.