Carbon Accounting, the Field with a Very Bright Future.

I have found myself, several times over the last year and a half, wishing I had a carbon accountant at my disposal. This was a universal thought. It didn't matter if I was at Intel, or now while walking the halls of Campbell Soup Company.

I was reminded again of this most germane of the green jobs, when I read another carbon footprinting story over the weekend. To be honest, I don't know whether an all-natural smoothie has a lower carbon footprint than a can of Coke. But, I do know that there is a real answer to that question. I don't know if any companies have gotten these analyses on target yet, but I'm no different than any other consumer that happens to read the paper over the weekend.

A few weeks ago, it was the orange juice in the New York Times. A month ago, it was water footprinting in the Wall Street Journal.

I actually think this trend is very good and important. I'm considering doing a few of my own lifecycle footprints of some of Campbell Soup's most iconic products. However, in reading these recent stories, I'm still a little skeptical of the data.

I think these footprint exercises are great for companies to understand and help define their priorities for future attention. I think the PR angle may be a little premature. I know there are firms out there working to define a common methodology for some of this work, but there seems to be differences in how far back in the supply chain and how far forward toward end-of-life some of these assessments address.

Which leads me back to my title premise. For those of you trying to figure out what discipline will really be important in the next few years, may I recommend a few classes in carbon accounting.