Time is worth more than gold – That is the central takeaway of this post. If you’re involved with the ESG disclosure process of a large company, and if your company still insists on using Excel spreadsheets for data management, then chances are you too understand how frustrating ESG data management can be.
But it doesn’t have to be. Every problem has a solution, and now that ESG disclosure has become mandatory in stock exchanges around the world, a plethora of data solutions now exist to help you tackle ESG data problems. To make sure your valuable time is meaningfully spent, here are 3 indicators that you should probably start considering a dedicated ESG data management solution.
Symptom 1: Data collection is too chaotic
It’s one thing if your company only has one or two offices to report on (and lucky you). But it is an entirely different beast when your company has multiple offices, sites, factories, and supply chains, all feeding a range of ever-changing data to the poor guys who have to manually fit all that into spreadsheets after spreadsheets.
“But wait which version is this data from?”
“Who edited the data in the environmental section?”
“Were the changes approved?”
“We need approval from China office?!”
“What was the requirement for B2.2 again?”
If your teams spend a good chunk of time triple-checking like that to ensure data integrity, that’s valuable time lost for each individual. An ESG data solution may end up collectively saving them dozens of hours and headaches just by giving them the peace of mind that they can easily find out who is responsible for what, who did what to the data pool, and what’s missing for a specific reporting framework.
It is also wise to remember that if your teams find it exhausting to collect and manage that chaos, you can be pretty sure whoever has to audit that will hate it even more.
Symptom 2: Difficulty turning data into actionable insights
What good is collecting all that data if you still don’t know what to do to improve performance? After all, one of the main goals of ESG reporting is precisely that – to increase the quality of your CSR efforts down the line. Improvement requires strategy, and if your company has any intention of tackling CSR / ESG strategically, then it pays to be able to track and monitor your performance at any given time.
Thus, making data actionable often requires the freedom to monitor performance anytime for efficient decision-making, and an ESG data solution does exactly that. This doesn’t have to be that fancy either. Sure, some high-end software solutions can probably utilise Big Data for detailed insights and megatrends, but even just some simple visualisation tools can go a long way to ease the pain point of conceptualizing (a lot of) numbers. It would also be useful to have some means of data comparison, either with past performance, or benchmarking with your peers. Both enable you to view your ESG data in context, and they’re features that you can likely find even in an affordable ESG software solution, (though the extensiveness of benchmarking data will vary).