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Last Update:2024.01.18

Automatic and easy calculation of CO2 emissions! Why e-dash is so popular

e-dash, a service platform that comprehensively supports everything from energy optimization to CO2 reduction based on the visualization of CO2 emissions, is attracting a great deal of attention. What is the reason for this attention? We interviewed Mr. Fuyuma Yamazaki, President of e-dash Corporation, to find out, along with the problems faced by various companies.

The beta version of "e-dash" was released in October 2021. It was then officially released in April 2022 and has received numerous inquiries from companies and municipalities. In the course of interviews leading up to the launch of the service, the company says it often heard the concern that "I was appointed to be in charge of the newly created decarbonization department, but I don't know what to do. The "e-dash" platform for accelerating decarbonization is a solution to this problem. Here, we asked Mr. Fuyuma Yamazaki, President and Representative Director of e-dash Corporation, about the service, the concerns of companies and governments, and the current state of decarbonization.

We want to solve the problems of companies and governments that are moving to decarbonize.

-- "e-dash" is an easy solution to visualize CO2 emissions as a gateway to decarbonization. What prompted you to launch this service in the first place?
Yamasaki: When I spoke with various companies, I noticed that there was a common understanding that "we must finally get serious about decarbonization," and that they were beginning to view decarbonization not as a CSR activity, but as a business strategy. On the other hand, we often heard that they "don't know what to do" and "it takes a lot of time and effort to understand the amount of emissions" when it comes to promoting decarbonization. That was the main reason why we wanted to solve this problem.
-It is revolutionary to be able to visualize CO2 emissions simply by uploading a bill. At the same time, you can manage monthly electricity and gas usage and costs.
Yamasaki: We developed the product based on design thinking, interviewing users, conducting surveys, and creating prototypes. We found that entering data was the biggest hassle for customers, so we came up with a system that allows customers to simply upload their invoices.
-I think there are many different types of invoices. It must be difficult to read them accurately.
Yamasaki: There are about 700 electric power retailers alone in Japan, and even if the content of the invoices is the same, the format varies from company to company. Therefore, it is difficult to completely convert all of the data covered by e-dash into data using only OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and AI, so we are building a system to accurately convert data while also involving human intervention.
--How much does it cover in terms of the type of energy?
Yamasaki: In calculating CO2 emissions, we cover all fuels, including not only electricity and gas, but also kerosene, heavy oil, light oil, and coal. Although water is not directly related to CO2 emissions, there are many requests for centralized management of usage and costs, so water can also be managed.

Visualization of CO2 emissions in Scope 3 (emissions by other companies related to business activities) is also supported.

--Is it safe to assume that CO2 emissions visualization can cover all supply chain emissions (Scope 1, 2, and 3) in the GHG Protocol?
Yamasaki: Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2 emissions can be calculated simply by uploading invoices; for Scope 3 (emissions from other companies related to business activities), it is difficult to calculate only by uploading invoices, but the system can calculate CO2 emissions by entering simple numerical values. module is available.
Greenhouse Gas Protocol website
--Decarbonization efforts in the corporate sector. In particular, what is the status of visualization of CO2 emissions, which is the entry point for such efforts?
Yamasaki: One major trend is that the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Corporate Governance Code will be updated in June 2021, requiring disclosure of information on climate change measures. There, reporting is required in line with the TCFD (*1), an international framework for corporate climate change-related information disclosure. Although this disclosure is not mandatory, it states that companies listed on the Prime Market (formerly the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange) "should proceed" with this disclosure. In fact, similar movements are occurring in the U.S. and Europe, so it is highly likely that it will eventually become mandatory worldwide. Based on these developments, I believe that sooner or later listed companies will begin to disclose and report risks related to climate change.
(*1) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, established by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) in April 2015. It called for individual companies to disclose the impacts of climate change in their financial reports.
-Is the thinking there also based on the aforementioned supply chain emissions, such as Scope 1, 2, and 3?
Yamasaki: Yes. As I mentioned earlier, prime companies are required to actively disclose Scope 3 CO2 emissions. In this case, it is necessary to understand the emissions of our business partners as well, so those companies that have requested to disclose their CO2 emissions have started to visualize their CO2 emissions, and the information is being disseminated to their business partners.
--So the need for CO2 emissions visualization is realized not only by prime companies, but also by many companies, including their business partners.
Yamasaki: That's right. Since the official release of e-dash in April 2022, we have received inquiries from many companies and governments. Many of them say they are troubled by the sudden appointment of a new person to be in charge of decarbonization.

Nationwide support for visualization of CO2 emissions to be tackled first

--So you are really starting to make a big move from 2022. Why are you partnering with many financial institutions for "e-dash"?
Yamasaki: Financial institutions have a very important role to play when considering how and where local businesses can start working toward the realization of a decarbonized society. Expectations from the government are high, and "decarbonization" is included in the mid-term management themes of many financial institutions. The content of this theme is to "support the decarbonization of local companies. The first step in this process is to visualize CO2 emissions. As a tool for this purpose, "e-dash" is being proposed to financial institution clients.
--It seems likely that needs will arise in the future in a variety of companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises.
Yamasaki: Decarbonization is not just an initiative for a limited number of large companies. In order to make it widely available to small and medium-sized enterprises as well, e-dash is not highly specialized, but is focused on making it easy for anyone to visualize their CO2 emissions. Therefore, we pursue UI / UX, and on the other hand, we update e-dash every month to meet various needs, picking up feedback from our sales and CS (Customer Success) teams as well as from our customers.

Strong customer success and attentive support

--Your website says "optimal proposals from cost reduction to CO2 reduction".
Yamasaki: At e-dash, we go beyond visualization to provide support for reducing emissions. Since the issues vary from customer to customer, and management decisions are also involved in how to implement specific improvements, our Customer Success (CS) team works closely with the customer. Although this is slightly different from the context of decarbonization, there was a case in which we introduced a partner company and switched the customer's electricity contract when the customer asked us for advice on electricity price hikes. We are in the process of talking to companies about decarbonization.
--The customer success people are very helpful and supportive, and they don't just stop when you install e-dash.
Yamasaki: That is one of our strengths. It may seem as simple as uploading invoices, but in reality, each company has various issues such as where to pull data from within the company for input, and reduction activities also vary from company to company. We will work closely with you to answer any questions you may have about CO2 visualization, as well as the process of reducing CO2 emissions.

A marketplace of credits that is fun to browse

--In the area of carbon offsetting, we were one of the first to launch a service in the form of a marketplace for carbon credits.
Yamasaki The idea of decarbonization was born out of a desire to make it widely implemented by everyone, to democratize it, and to make it reachable to everyone. Regarding carbon credits, some people have already bought voluntary credits (credits issued from private-sector-led projects), but for many people, it is almost invisible and unclear where to find the information and where to go to buy such credits. I thought they wanted more transparency. We wanted to make that more transparent.
--I had a look at the site, and it was interesting to see the wide variety of products, ranging in price from 1,000 yen per ton to over 40,000 yen per ton.
Yamasaki That kind of impression is enough for now. First of all, we would like people to feel familiar with our products. On the other hand, we have already received actual purchases, and we are also receiving many inquiries from companies about their offsetting needs.
-- Some people may wonder why Mitsui, a large company, would start a service like "e-dash".
Yamasaki: The global energy industry is shifting to a new business model based on the "3D" principles of "De-Carbonization," "Decentralization," and "Digitalization. Mitsui must change accordingly. In a decentralized world, it will be important to have complex relationships with various companies and organizations. I feel that "e-dash" can contribute to such areas as connecting customers and data, and that it is significant for a large company to provide such a service.

Decarbonization efforts move from trade-offs to trade-ons

--Finally, how do you see the decarbonized society progressing?
Yamasaki Decarbonization may seem like a "fad" to some people, but it is not. It has been about 30 years since the Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development), and during that time it has been an issue that has been discussed all over the world. A framework at the UN level has been decided upon, and things are finally starting to move in earnest. As I mentioned at the outset, decarbonization is a "business strategy," and companies that do not address this issue will be forced to exit the market. I believe it will be important to proactively address decarbonization as a "trade-on" rather than a "trade-off," and to make it a driver of business growth.
--Thank you very much for your time today.

President and Representative Director, e-dash, Inc. Toma Yamasaki

joined Mitsui & Co. in 2007, where he was mainly engaged in new infrastructure deal development and M&A, including power generation projects. From 2015 to 2020, he was stationed in Silicon Valley, where he was in charge of investment and joint business development for startups in the clean tech field. After returning to Japan, he launched "e-dash" and is currently in his current position.

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