Microsoft unveils Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Dynamics AX

Free add-on enables companies to track energy consumption, GHG emissions, and other green-oriented stats

Microsoft today unveiled the Environmental Sustainability Dashboard (ESD) for its Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP package, responding to demand for greater visibility into their energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Available at no cost to companies running Dynamics AX 2009, the ESD enables organizations to collect auditable data on four of the core environmental performance indicators identified by the Global Reporting Initiative for energy consumption and GHG emissions, including direct on-premises fuel consumption and the carbon footprint of their power usage. Drawing on this data, organizations can attack sustainability goals such as monitoring their carbon footprint or tracking and reducing energy waste.

[ InfoWorld has followed a host of companies that have developed green-oriented add-ons for their offerings of late, including Cisco and Ilog. | Keep track of green IT trends by subscribing to Ted Samson's free Green Tech newsletter. ]

Microsoft has designed the ESD in such a way that collecting information on energy usage and GHG emissions is part of users' everyday business processes, according to Jennifer Pollard, senior production manager for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

For example, the person responsible for paying monthly utility bills would key in the associated information, including the dollar amount and quantity of energy consumed that month. ESD would then calculate the GHG emissions attributable to that energy usage, based on how the company's utility generates electricity, such as coal, natural gas, solar power, and so forth.

The information could then be viewed via users' Dynamics AX role-based dashboard, dubbed the Role Center, and tracked over time. The reports can also be surfaced in other Microsoft tools, such as Office SharePoint Server.

According to Pollard, the ESD can be tailored for tracking the fuel consumption of a company's fleet of vehicles (along with associated GHG emissions), water usage, and the like.

"The dashboard not only improves business operations, but it also allows organizations to comply with the emerging regulatory environment and satisfy demands from customers and supply chain partners for greater transparency," said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft, in a written statement.