Sustainability is, as much as anything else, a complex data management exercise. And a never-ending one at that. The demands for more transparency, better sustainability reporting, accurate carbon footprints and emissions reduction targets is growing. For all of this you need a lot of data, from a lot of sources, with a lot of time to bring it all together and turn it into something beneficial.
There is one way companies are managing this challenge and making it less of a headache: by investing in sustainability reporting software.
The thought of rolling out a new business system might in itself be headache-inducing. However, here are five reasons why, in the age of net zero, this might be one of the best procurement decisions you could make.
1. Easier and better sustainability reporting to meet the growing demand
The demands of environmental and sustainability reporting are growing for businesses. This is coming from the broadening of carbon and energy reporting legislation and from the growing demands for sustainability information from a wide range of other stakeholders. Managing these reporting demands is work intensive, particularly if you are trying to pull information from many sources and multiple business units.
In a software platform you can aggregate all your sustainability information: from energy usage, emissions data, water consumption and even employee wellbeing indicators into one place from which you can pull the reports that you need when you need them.
Some platforms will also be aligned to major reporting frameworks such as the GRI or CDP so that you can ensure you are gathering the right data to report against internationally recognised indicators and make life easier when reporting time comes around.
A good platform will also handle all the emissions factors – those continually updating conversion numbers that are vital to calculating current emissions from all the many type of activities that your business undertakes, so you can always gain an accurate carbon footprint.
There will of course be a lot of work up front to get the system in place and the data feeding in, but once it is done, the burden of sustainability reporting will be hugely diminished.
2. Information and reporting to please your investors
Sustainability isn’t just the domain of the Sustainability Department anymore. Climate and sustainability is on everyone’s agenda now from potential employees to the Board of Directors.
Now in particular, investors are starting to demand information on sustainability and exposure to climate risk. We are seeing an increase in businesses grappling with and making sense of the information demanded of them.
A system makes it much easier to satisfy these requests. With your improved reporting outputs, you could even improve your ESG ratings and the general quality of your sustainability disclosures. This will help to satisfy all of your stakeholders.
3. A tailored system of data management and reporting
There are different systems to choose from and many of these can be tailored to suit the needs of your unique business. You might need to gather and report information on the consumption of a very specific resource for example or a qualitative target, and it is possible for unique needs to be accommodated and a system developed.
Getting the right system that helps to fulfil your current and future needs, priorities and objectives is of course extremely important and we help businesses with this procurement process so that they can gain quick access to the information needed to make the best decisions and come out with a sustainability reporting system that is in itself a sustainable investment.
4. Stress-free auditing
If you are having an audit done on your energy data or independent verification of your sustainability report, a system provides a single version of the truth. A well-implemented system will sense-check information as it is entered, document who has entered or changed data, when they entered it, why it was changed, where the value was sourced and, where relevant, who has signed off the information. With all of this data in the same place, auditors are able to access all the information and to carry out due diligence with less interrogation.
You will have a lot more confidence and a lot less stress hopefully when that time comes around.
5. Being ready for the demands of net zero
The demands we face as businesses are only going to grow as we near crunch time on a net zero target by 2050. Setting up robust processes and systems for measuring and monitoring your sustainability data is going to ready you for what’s to come.
Achieving net zero is going to require transformational change in businesses and sustainability and climate strategies are increasingly expected to be embedded in the very heart of the business itself. Businesses that are not adequately measuring, reporting and acting on sustainability will be at increasing risk of legislative, investor and market demands. A sustainability system enables a business to centralise its data and have at its fingertips the information to future-proof their operations.
EcoAct sustainability systems experts