Kleiner’s Carbon Software Play Hara Raises $14M

Retail behemoth Wal-Mart’s (s WMT) move to require disclosure of environmental data for all of its products helped tip the nascent carbon software market into the hot zone this summer, as companies prepped for a wave of new business from Wal-Mart’s suppliers. Today, less than two months after that announcement, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Hara says it has raised another $14 million to help it race to the top with its software-as-a-service carbon, energy and resource management product.
Founded just last year, Hara has built a tool for companies and municipalities to itemize and track all inputs such as water, electricity and chemicals, as well as outputs, including greenhouse gases, wastewater and the product itself. The company already raised a Series A of $6 million from Kleiner Perkins (Hara CEO Amit Chatterjee says he pitched Kleiner investor and former Vice President Al Gore), so this latest round, led by JAFCO Ventures and including Nth Power and Kleiner, brings the company’s total funds raised to $20 million.
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10 Startups Selling Software to Manage Carbon

When the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, tells (s WMT) tens of thousands of suppliers to start tracking and disclosing the environmental impact of their products, odds are they’re gonna listen. That means the companies selling carbon management software will be prepping for a wave of new customers looking to find tools to help them dig through their supply chains and unleash data about how much carbon is emitted or water used during the production and shipping of each product. Here’s a list of who’s who in the suddenly hot carbon management software market:
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Wal-Mart’s Green Rating: A Boon for Carbon Management Software

walmartlogoThe big news in the world of sustainability this week is that Wal-Mart (s WMT), the world’s largest retailer, will launch a labeling system to disclose the environmental impact of the products it sells and will be asking its more than 100,000 suppliers to start tracking things like the carbon emissions and water use of their goods. For companies that have developed carbon and energy management tools — from startups like Hara to huge software firms like SAP (s SAP) — Wal-Mart’s move is the equivalent of a massive crowbar wedging open the nascent carbon software market.

Wal-Mart is basically saying any company that wants to do business with the 10-ton gorilla retailer will have to provide related environmental impact data, which will lead many to start using this type of software. As Wal-Mart’s Chief Merchandising Officer John Fleming told the Wall Street Journal, companies that don’t supply the data probably won’t have a relationship with Wal-Mart for very long. Wal-Mart plans to use the data in a sustainability index that will rate the products according to their environmental impact, as well as for the labels for the products.
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Planet Metrics Cleans Up With Method

Carbon management software is like a sophomore on the cleantech campus: it’s been around for awhile, but it’s just now starting to get noticed by the senior class. This month SAP took over Clear Standards, a carbon management startup that raised $4 million last fall, and IBM, Oracle and Microsoft have each recently dipped a toe into the carbon management waters. This morning another young company, Planet Metrics, a San Bruno, Calif.-based carbon management software firm, is looking to attract attention with the launch of its software-as-a-service application into beta with high-profile new customer Method, the San Francisco-based green cleaning products company.

heatmap

As we explained back in November, when Planet Metrics raised $2.3 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the software helps companies assess energy and carbon use in their business and identify “hot spots” (see screenshot above) — or areas where the biggest emissions reductions can be made. The system connects to other business enterprise software, and taps into several deep databases of information about life-cycle environmental impacts of ingredients, transportation methods and more.
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How to Put Sustainability On the Books

Corporate social responsibility reports are often a company’s beachhead effort on sustainability, and most focus on relatively easy-to-achieve metrics, such as employee volunteerism rates, corporate giving and supplier diversity. Advocates say even this kind of transparency can spur companies to further action. That’s the logic behind the Global Reporting Initiative, which provides a framework for companies to evaluate their own CSR reports. The GRI Framework doesn’t give points for good or bad outcomes, however; companies earn points simply for disclosing information.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong. CSR data is notoriously complex. Putting together a report can mean pulling data from environmental health and safety departments, community and education programs, philanthropic giving records, supply chain partners and operations records. Historically, companies have pulled that data into Excel spreadsheets to create new data sets for CSR reports. But as stakeholders — and shareholders — show more interest in sustainability concerns, companies are beginning to eye more sophisticated software to help them manage and report that data.  Read More about How to Put Sustainability On the Books

With Carbon Regulation Looming, SAP to Buy Carbon Software Startup

SAPClearStandardsWhile the Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill is being fiercely debated right now, some form of carbon regulation will be implemented in the U.S. in coming years. That means there will be a massive need for software to manage the process of validating and recording greenhouse gas emissions. Business software giant SAP (s SAP) sees the writing on the wall, and this morning announced that it will buy 2-year-old startup Clear Standards, which sells software to manage carbon emissions, energy consumption, and water use.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but we’re guessing it wasn’t much. Sterling, Va.-based Clear Standards only announced a Series A financing round of $4 million from Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Kinetic Ventures back in November 2008. With those modest funds, the company has built a subscription service in which customers pay an annual or quarterly fee for its web-based emissions management tools and services. Large companies like SAP generally weigh two factors when moving into a new business and deciding whether or not to build their own service or buy a new company: How much does it cost, and how can it be integrated into the current business? On both factors the Clear Standards purchase seems like a good deal for SAP.
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Clear Standards Scores $4M for Emissions Management Software

Clear Standards, a developer of enterprise software for tracking greenhouse-gas emissions, water and energy use, and energy efficiency, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from the venture capital firms Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Kinetic Ventures. Novak Biddle also provided seed funding for the Sterling, Va.-based company last year.
With new carbon regulations on the post-inauguration horizon, pressure for companies to get ahead on their environmental impacts has increased. That’s why public carbon markets saw their worth triple in 2006 and are forecast by the World Bank to do so again by 2015. It’s also a big part of why Clear Standards faces a highly competitive field. At stake for companies like Clear Standards, eps Corp. and Planet Metrics is the business of the world’s largest companies, many of whose investors now demand climate change risk assessments and at least 3,000 of which have signed on with the nonprofit Carbon Disclosure Project.
Like Planet Metrics, a climate-modeling software developer that secured Series A funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson earlier this month, Clear Standards operates on a subscription model, with customers paying an annual or quarterly fee for its web-based tools and services.