The Australian Research Council has awarded $1.4 million to a consortium that included a Melbourne university and technology vendor to develop open-source technologies to help businesses report on the green credentials.
The three-year project between the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Fuji Xerox will apply semantic technologies to sustainability reporting, a challenge globally for organisations that publicly disclose their economic, environmental, and social performance, the Japanese print maker said.
Semantic technologies enable machines to find context in information that humans publish across disciplines such as technology, politics, psychology and philosophy.
The consortium aims to develop systems to automate sustainability reporting and generate real-time reports using semantic technologies to identify and analyse relevant data from sources.
"It could have global implications for standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative, the world's prevalent framework for sustainability reporting," Fuji Xerox said.
The research investigators are Paul James, director of RMIT's Globalism Institute, Lin Padgham and James Thom from RMIT's computer science department, and Hepu Deng, an associate professor with its business school.
It follows the completion of a separate council research project that since 2006 has investigated applications of semantic technologies in the digital print and publishing industries. It found organisations are using some of concepts in their approaches to data and information management in government, health, education and finance.
Fuji Xerox managing director Nick Kugenthiran said the new project is part of the company's commitment to Australian research.