The Open Footprint Forum

PIDX Fall Conference hears from OSDU champion, Shell’s Johan Krebbers, on another The Open Group-backed standards initiative, the Open Footprint Forum. OFF is to ‘track and reduce’ greenhouse gas emissions with an open source initiative to ‘stop wasting time and effort’.

Speaking at the online 2020 PIDX Fall Conference, Shell’s Johan Krebbers announced The Open Group’s new Open Footprint Forum (OFF). The OFF is to provide a mechanism of tracking and reducing greenhouse gasses and other emissions. Krebbers observed that the various stakeholders (WEF/GRI/GDP etc.) have so far failed to come forward with clear standards on what data to store. This makes it challenging to track emissions consistently. ‘Everybody works on their own and it is virtually impossible to aggregate and compare emissions’.

The OFF has launched ‘to stop wasting more time and effort’ and is to create an open source, Apache 2.0 licensed industry standard to track corporate emissions in a standard way. The OFF is to work across Industries and provide standards for a data platform, architecture and reference implementation. The open, vendor-neutral standards for consistent measurement of environmental footprint data will facilitate sharing of footprint data across the supply chain, and foster an ‘open and robust ecosystem’ of software and services for environmental footprint data capture, management, and reporting.

Krebbers presented a straw-man high level architecture of the proposed platform. The stack envisages data access from public APIs, a near real time capability with OpenID user control, a machine-to-machine capability and micro services-based orchestration providing calculation services, metrics and units of measure. Third party apps (Krebbers cited Consensys’ blockchain-based CarbonX) can join the OFF via a marketplace. At the top of the stack is an ‘HTML5/native’ GUI. A linked ‘blockchain for proof of origin’ is also mooted for the OFF.

As in Krebbers and Shell’s earlier standards initiative, OSDU, The Open Group was selected to provide ‘a legal framework under which all companies can work together in a transparent fashion to get the free standard to market’. OFF phase one is to cover greenhouse gases. Phase two will extend the work to other environmental issues such as land spill, water, etc.

The Open Group is encouraging companies to sign up to the OFF and help lead development, lower the cost of measuring and managing their environmental footprint and ensure that the OFF standards and data platform will meet their needs. ‘Without the Open Footprint Forum, organizations would be left to acquiring or building incompatible and expensive custom solutions that don’t interoperate throughout their supply chains’. There are currently 22 corporate members of the OFF. These include BP, Chevron, Equinor, Shell and many service providers.

More on the OFF from The Open Group.

Comment: Krebbers and TOG are entering a space where there are already some established players. To name but two we have OGCI, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative which, along with EY, is collecting and checking environment data from its members, Shell inter alia. And there is the United Nations Environment Program whose ‘geo-referenced, remote-sensing and earth observation information integrated environmental statistics and data’ can be viewed on a very grand ‘World Environment Situation Room’.

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