The Open Group Open Footprint™ Forum Global Event Highlights Blog

By Oliver David, Marketing Specialist & Social Media Manager, The Open Group

Last week, The Open Group Open Footprint™ Forum (OFP) held its first virtual event, June 23-24, 2021. It brought together experts from across the globe to introduce and demonstrate the work that has gone into the Forum since it launched in August 2020. Speakers, from a plethora of industry leading organizations such as Accenture, AWS, Deloitte, ERM, IBM, Infosys, Shell, WBCSD, and Wipro hosted sessions outlining the mission of the Open Footprint Forum, explanations of the Open Footprint Data Platform, as well as live demonstrations of the Platform to show its applicability to all industries.

The Open Group Open Footprint Forum was kicked off by Heidi Karlsson, Director, OFP at The Open Group and Johan Krebbers, VP IT Innovation and GM Emerging Digital Technologies for Shell. Both Heidi and Johan provided an overview and introduction to the Forum, it’s mission and the work that is already taking place. The aim is to create an industry standard (and Open Source-based) data platform where emissions data of each company can be saved using these same industry standards.

Open Footprint Deliverables

Sammy Lakshmanan, Global Managing Partner, Digital Services, ERM, & Co-Chair of the Open Footprint Forum provided a brief walkthrough of the key deliverables and projects currently underway within OFP. Sammy highlighted the OFP Data Platform as a consistent way of exchanging, processing, and storing emissions-related data, aligned with reporting standards and frameworks that enable data to be accessible.

Sammy also showed a template for organizations looking to apply the OFP solution, ranging from data entry, to reporting, to integration that was further explained in a later session.

The final deliverable of the OFP Platform is the user interface/reporting. To store, view, and report the emissions-related data, including those that are shared across boundaries. There was more to come on this in the live demonstration sessions later on.

In the last session before the break, Gommaar van Strien, Shell, took us through the Open Footprint Data Platform, its goals, platform development, and plans for the future. When outlining the benefits of the OFP Platform, Gommaar said “Emissions/Factors/Models are auditable, data is searchable, and exchange data is in a standard format.”

This session was concluded with a roadmap and plans for the future. It was clear to see a lot of work has been put into the Platform but there is still a lot more work to be done, especially within the next 9 months.

After the break, Anna Stanley, Manager at The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), showed us the objectives of the WBCSD and what can be the links between WBCSD and the Open Footprint Platform. Anna began discussing The Carbon Transparency Partnership. Greater value chain emissions transparency through the exchange of verified, product specific primary emissions data to unlock and enable multiple, high value use cases for industry players, regulators, and governing bodies.

To summarize Anna’s session, she ended by saying “We’ve been working with the Open Footprint Forum for a long time now, and I’m really pleased that it’s one of the first initiatives to join us in creating Scope 3 emissions transparency.”

Up next we had an interesting session from Sumouli Bhattacharjee, ERM. This session focused on Green House Gas (GHG) & Reporting. To quote Sumouli on the direction GHG reporting is heading, “What is a gamechanger is the pressure from customers and suppliers.”

During this session, Sumouli highlighted what OFP can do to assist in the reporting of Greenhouse Gases. The Open Footprint Forum has engaged with some of the biggest industrial, technology, and sustainability organizations to put together a template of solutions which can be adopted across industries, supply chain, locations, and standards. OFP is focusing on standardization and accessibility of sustainability data to create an open ecosystem for exchanging data between organizations and across supply chain. Samouli said “OFP is collaborating with standards and framework organizations to facilitate consistent disclosure across multiple standards.”

Wednesday’s session continued with Sourabh Roy, Digital Strategist, Infosys Limited, for his presentation on Open Footprint™ Reference Architecture, data entry, and reporting. Sourabh outlined the Reference Architecture principles. The Open Footprint Platform is based on open-source, vendor-neutral components (in-line with the principles of The Open Group). Open Footprint Architecture leverages OSDU™ Data Platform Architecture. Some of the key principles for the Reference Architecture are Open-Source, Interoperability, Scalability, and the need to be Cloud-native.

Sourabh later broke down the Open Footprint Data Platform Architecture.

After the final break of the day, Johan Krebbers, Shell lead us through the Open Footprint Platform Strategy. This included the high-level direction, targets for the Forum, as well as showing the roadmap and plans for the future. Johan mentioned the need for agility in the platform, “Our main concern is the flexibility of the data platform. We need to be ready.”

To round up the first day of the Open Footprint Event, Luca Venturini, Accenture had an interesting presentation on Developments in the Market of Greenhouse Gas and Related Activities. This presentation acted as a timeline showcasing the trends in ETS or carbon Tax Coverage in the last 30 years. Luca explained that the energy transition is a long-term structural change in the global energy system from fossil fuels to net-zero carbon. This multi-faceted problem is driving companies to target holistic emissions reduction – from core operations to indirect customer and supply chain impacts.

Day 2

The second day of The Open Footprint Event began with an interesting session on the developments in the market of Greenhouse Gas and related activities. The presentation from Jacques Buith & Femke Perlot-Hoogeveen, Deloitte Consulting, LLP showcased the journey to becoming sustainable and impact driven. “A purpose-driven route in line with the global goals will embed sustainability in the DNA of organizations.” Before rounding up their presentation, both speakers left us with something to think about. “We’re in the decade of action. We’ve done the exploring, we need to start doing sustainability now.”

Key highlights of the event were the sessions from Sonia Van Ballaert, Ph.D. IBM Global Client Director Shell and Lizz Dennett & Merlyn Gregory of Amazon Web Services (AWS). These sessions covered both IBM and AWS Open Footprint™ plans.

Sonia van Ballaert, IBM, ran us through the new OREN platform from IBM and Shell, and how OFP will underpin transparent GHG reporting. “When we talk about carbon footprint, the mining industry has a huge footprint and we need to tackle it.”

Lizz Dennett & Merlyn Gregory, AWS in their presentation mentioned that “Sustainability is really just a data problem at its core”. They demonstrated the keys to success for optimizing operations: 1) leadership buy-in 2) get sustainability and IT in the same conversations 3) select an achievable, measurable pilot 4) provide training & support 5) set deadlines.

After the break, speakers William Fox and Javier Espinoza, Data Gumbo, demonstrated the OFP calculation engine design. In this session they showcased various scenarios of interest, the implications of each scenario and the pros & cons. Having showed the calculation engine design, they then went on to show live demonstrations with engine examples and business rule examples.

Heidi Karlsson, The Open Group Open Footprint Forum Director showcased opportunities for new and existing members. Heidi highlighted the need for collaboration in the future and the benefits of being involved in OFP. From opportunities for leadership, to receiving contribution and recognition rewards, there are a number of ways anyone can get involved in the Forums activities.

Next up, a host of industry experts took us through the Open Footprint demo of reference implementation. The key takeaway from this session was the live demonstration of “A day in the life of… a bed”. Sammy Lakshmanan, ERM, Bhupinder Singh Chawla, Infosys & Geert-Willem Haasjes, IBM, took the audience through the footprint journey of a bed. From production to a report from a customer success manager. The speakers finished the demonstration with a view of what’s to come.

Open Footprint Platform and what is expected by various industries

After the live demonstration, Ravindra Balija, Wipro showed attendees a summary of standards in industries that have been looked at and how OFP can be applied to these industries. In this session Ravindra demonstrated the level of reporting within the airline industry, shipping and airports environment. Among the key takeaways we learned that there are no common standards for storing and managing emissions data. Something that the Open Footprint™ Forum aims to rectify.

Congratulations to The Open Group Open Footprint Forum. We’re so excited for what lies ahead as we continue to take great steps forward in this work with sustainability and carbon footprint data reporting.

Thank you to all of our fantastic speakers and attendees who made the Open Footprint Event such a success. Proceedings and recordings are soon forthcoming to all Members and attendees.

Up next is our quarterly event, ‘The Open Group Open Digital Standards’ Virtual event, July 19-21, 2021. You can find the agenda and register here. Until then, we’re hoping our Members, customers, presenters, partners, and staff around the world stay safe and healthy!

Do you want to learn more about The Open Group Open Footprint Forum? Visit the website here and follow them on LinkedIn #OpenFootprint #ogOFP

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Oliver David, Marketing Specialist and Social Media Manager, joined The Open Group in 2018 and manages the various social media platforms for The Open Group and its Forums & Consortia. He also supports PR activities and events of The Open Group. Oliver has a bachelor’s degree in Sports Business Management from The University of Worcester, England. He is based in the United Kingdom.