The non-financial, ESG, sustainability and CSR reporting landscape is constantly evolving. As regulatory frameworks and investor requests increase, we see more and more companies adding to their commitments and establishing long-term global sustainability strategies. The ability to provide assurance for sustainability risk management and ensure that their company has access to reliable data to report to business stakeholders has become one of the main focal points.
Yet, deciding on a sustainability software solution to support the ongoing management of sustainability and ESG data is often considered a process far more daunting than it really is. In this blog post, we break down how finding the right sustainability software can support your company’s reporting and help you achieve your sustainability goals.
Data accuracy and reduced risk of errors
Most companies are looking for sustainability software because they are too reliant on overworked error-prone spreadsheets. The right sustainability software will be one that eliminates data risks and allows for accurate data collection, calculation and management. Plus, your software provider should regularly update emissions factors and methodologies so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you are using the right calculation method.
Spreadsheets are inherently more unstable compared to software solutions, so there is a much higher likelihood of data corruption. This can pose a serious risk if you are reliant on Excel as your main data calculation tool, even if you do create regular backups. Software-as-a-Service platforms provide daily customer data backups and offsite storage in secure locations for longer retention.
Monitoring of ESG performance over time
The monitoring of performance over time is essential to understand long-term risks and opportunities. With an increase in the setting of long-term goals and commitments, this is now more relevant than ever. To build and manage a long-term sustainability strategy, you need access to current and correct data for both now and in the future – not just a time-stamped data set.
Using a central sustainability software platform to collect and manage ESG data enables you and your stakeholders to assess performance data on an ongoing basis, rather than in one moment in time. By sending questionnaires directly to suppliers or stakeholders through a software solution, deadlines, flags and notifications can be set which means that users can be automatically alerted when it’s time to request updated information or address an expired document.
Improve transparency and accountability
The ability to access accurate and consistent sustainability and ESG data across an organisation to enable responsible business decisions is now more important than ever. Sustainability software enables users to customise questionnaires and data collection to ensure they are collecting the right data. Once collected, the software will enable them to aggregate consistent, comparable and accurate ESG performance data from across the organisation. It also enables users to run comparisons across locations, benchmark and view key information across various metrics and KPIs.
Saves time and resources
Many companies are still using spreadsheets and emails and, as data gets more complex, these processes become cumbersome, time-consuming and prone to error. Manual processes are not only a security risk but are also prone to error and can be extremely heavy on time and resources.
Through the use of software, data collection, management and reporting can all be automated, on a large scale, which leaves users more time for analysis. Using software enables users to move their focus away from just data collection and on to in-depth reporting, analysis and informed decision-making.
Analytics and reporting
Meeting the scope of internal and external reporting requirements, and reporting to different stakeholders, requires a wide range of analysis tools and reporting dashboards. The right sustainability software will allow you to model, apportion and compare data in a way that is relevant to your company and its stakeholders. Additionally, it should provide the option to group data into unlimited customisable sets.
As reporting requirements increase, so does the volume and scope of data that you need to manage. The software you choose should be robust and flexible enough for your reporting both now, and in 5 years’ time, to enable you to achieve your long-term goals.
When selecting software, think about whether the solution will evolve with your reporting requirements and adapt to your changing organisational structure in years to come. It is also important to consider how often the software is updated and whether the updates are charged at an additional cost.
''Greenstone’s software and supporting services have been instrumental in supporting our sustainability journey to ensure we have access to accurate and meaningful data that can help us set and achieve our long-term goals.''
Robin Tindall, Environmental Stewardship Team Leader, Hypertherm
Read the case study of how global manufacturing company Hypertherm has implemented Greenstone’s Enterprise and SupplierPortal software solutions to improve transparency and set long-term goals.
Here at Greenstone, we partner with our clients to continually develop, innovate and fit with their evolving requirements both now and in the future. If you would like to know more about how we invest in our software to guarantee usability, applicability and relevance, and to be able to ensure that our clients get the answers and information they need from their data, talk to us.
If you would like to know more about what to consider when selecting sustainability reporting software, continue reading here.