Making sure sustainable transformation is data-driven
For companies to play a key role in building a sustainable economy and society, they must develop a robust strategy that is focused, evidence-based and action-oriented.
91% of companies today say that data-driven decision-making is essential to their development.1 As companies increasingly strive towards becoming more data-driven, they find themselves able to access more data than ever before. But moving towards a sustainable future requires interpreting data in a way that drives genuine, measurable impact.
The importance of data-driven sustainability.
Data-driven sustainability refers to making decisions about sustainability that are advised by information collecting, processing and analysis to create larger, tangible and more sustainable corporate practices.
This Data-driven sustainability has a hand in improving many aspects of an organisation. This includes, but is not limited to, decarbonisation efforts, supply and value chain optimisation, fostering of diversity and inclusion, adapting to changing regulations and progress towards sustainability goals.
The hallmarks of robust Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data production follows three key elements.
What incentivises a company to gather ESG data?
ESG data gathering is predominately driven through business and strategy needs, investor and stakeholder requests and regulatory and framework requirements. Data collection should be holistic; however, it is essential to prioritise key issues associated with your company. For commitments to be translated into action, a business needs to understand its impact on a local and global scale.
When there are many different KPIs, businesses face the challenge of collecting many different data points in ordered to be perceived as progressing on green commitments. Therefore, the process of data collection must start at determining the relative importance of ESG issues.
From years of experience, Simply Sustainable has learnt that the insights gathered from an effective materiality assessment lead to ESG data that can power positive change and increase profitability. Our own materiality service offering helps to navigate this complexity and produce ESG data that appeals to the wider pool of stakeholders. When translated into strategic advice, a company is in the best position to develop an approach that addresses all priority topics and serves to engage key stakeholders, including investors and Board members.
How does a company gather this ESG data?
It is important to develop a robust approach to data management and collection, with clear assigned roles and responsibilities. Ensuring data is collected in a credible manner, businesses can no longer ignore the power of assurance. We recommend that businesses establish an ESG data validation and auditing trail to ensure that data is verifiable.
Microsoft Power’s business intelligence tool assists development of robust data visualisation methods, enhancing the ability to identify and analyse hotspot within ESG Data. Power BI is increasingly being utilised within internal communications to help identify and produce insights used within sustainability and climate-related measures and reporting.
Can ESG data add value for your organisation?
Translating the broad array of data-driven metrics into a coherent set of actions and ambitious targets will clearly articulate to stakeholders the business imperative and future value of a company. Charting the course for a company to progress on their sustainability journey, regardless of the starting point.
Assessing the performance of sustainability metrics and targets is essential for KPIs to be aligned to the overarching commercial and sustainability strategy. Being data-driven allows for progress to be measured and is essential in assessing whether existing KPIs are appropriate to meet set out goals and establish new KPIs if necessary. Frequently monitored, accurate data allows for real time analysis of implemented initiatives and effectiveness, for example, a robust carbon footprint, calculated through strong data, yielding strong improvements from carbon reduction measures.
In practice. Carbon footprinting
In a carbon world dominated by Scope 3 emissions, the key for companies looking to unlock supply-chain optimisation is data. Data and analytics give insight into the information required to guarantee that the supply chain is running at optimum, and areas where the business should focus on to lessen environmental impact whilst adapting to and mitigating disruptions in real time.
Our carbon footprinting services take a long-term and holistic approach to finding decarbonisation.
A company’s ESG performance is financially material for investors, making it necessary for companies to benchmark their performance and find pathways for optimisation and value creation. At Simply Sustainable, we use data backed, evidence-backed approach to improve our clients’ ESG ratings performance. This is accomplished through targeting and collaborating with rating providers such as MSCI, FTSE4Good and Sustainalytics to evaluate against a shortlist of applicable standards, ratings, and frameworks to construct the overall ESG proposal.
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