Decarbonization in IT Operations: A Business Unit Approach to Carbon Emission Reduction

Decarbonization in IT Operations: A Business Unit Approach to Carbon Emission Reduction

As organizations intensify their decarbonization efforts to reduce carbon emissions across various operational levels, including scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, the demand for a more granular analysis at the business unit level surges. This refined approach facilitates a concentrated assessment of emission reduction opportunities, associated costs, and efforts within these units. It also paves the way for developing more accurate methods to track future emissions and reductions, ensuring business units either meet or exceed their established targets.

Building a data-driven foundation for carbon emission reduction:

PreScouter’s distinctive approach involves working with clients using the data they already have while also assisting in gathering additional data. We then build models and methodologies in alignment with Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocols to measure emissions accurately.

This process enables us to identify practical targets and the most effective methods for achieving them. Consequently, our clients can better plan their investments in decarbonization and emission reduction initiatives, ultimately helping them meet their reduction goals more efficiently as an organization.

PreScouter's decarbonization approach


Emission audit and analysis for an automotive giant’s IT division:

In a collaborative endeavor with the IT department of an automotive behemoth, PreScouter developed a thorough assessment of the annual carbon footprint associated with the client’s IT division. Even though the client had previously calculated its corporate carbon footprint, they were keen to have deeper insight on the carbon emissions associated with its globally spread IT division and how to reduce it towards 2030.

A Bottom-Up Analysis of IT Infrastructure:

For the first step in the process, PreScouter developed a thorough assessment of the annual carbon footprint associated with the client’s IT division. The assessment included:

  • Scope 1 direct emissions, e.g. refrigerant leakage
  • Scope 2 indirect emissions related to electricity consumption, e.g. electricity consumption per equipment  
  • Scope 3 indirect emissions related to the supply chain, e.g. waste-related emissions, employee commute, etc. 

In order to develop a detailed analysis, PreScouter took a detailed bottom-up approach in which all hardware owned by the company’s IT sector were included in the inventory, as well as emissions related to cloud computing and storage. 

“One of the most difficult aspects of this project was the unavailability of electricity consumption data for the specific division (i.e. IT department). To solve that, PreScouter navigated through thousands of equipments and hundreds of sites to build the described bottom up approach and accurately calculate the electricity consumption, just for the IT department.” – Christian Salles, PreScouter Technical Director

Tackling geographic complexity:

Since the company owned assets in several countries around the world, specific emission factors were implemented in the calculation to raise the confidence of the results based on the geographical dispersion of the facilities. Specific assumptions were developed based on data availability and context. 

Crafting a GHG reduction roadmap:

Based on the results delivered, PreScouter developed a GHG emission reduction roadmap based on 8 GHG reduction levers. The image below shows this roadmap.

Decarbonization roadmap

Modeling the decarbonization path to 2030:

Over an 8-week period, PreScouter:

  • Reviewed 16,000 pieces of equipment spread around 150 locations globally 
  • Constructed one model that incorporated this massive amount of data
  • Successfully calculated the GHG emissions related to the client’s IT infrastructure and operations for the assigned baseline year
  • Clearly laid out an 8-step plan to help the client hit their corporate GHG goals by 2030. 

PreScouter identified the main sites and operations that contributed to the overall emissions of each of the analyzed scopes, therefore enabling a detailed action plan for emission reductions in future years. All the models developed by PreScouter were shared and now are owned by the client.

In the next step, PreScouter helped the client tackle the first point in the roadmap that involved lowering the carbon footprint of their IT department’s cooling systems.

If you have any questions or would like to know if we can help your business with its innovation challenges, please contact us here or email us at

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