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Technology is needed to advance ESG reporting

Technology

Given the increasing importance of delivering transparent, accurate data to key stakeholders, there is a clear need for ESG reporting to be simplified through technology, according to a global survey by Workiva Inc.

Three out of four (78 per cent) UK respondents noted that technology was important for compiling and collaborating on ESG data, as well as validating data for accuracy (74 per cent) and mapping disclosures to regulations and framework standards (89 per cent).

Despite this, half (51 per cent) of UK respondents do not feel individual departments within their organisation have the tools necessary to provide data for ESG reporting. In fact, one in five (19 per cent) reported that their organisation does not employ technology suitable for managing the ESG reporting process and programme initiatives. Almost half (47 per cent) of those UK respondents put this down to budget constraints and 32 per cent stated they don’t fully understand what technology is available or needed.

Only four in ten (37 per cent) UK respondents said their organisation uses technology and data very well to make decisions on advancing ESG strategy – showing a marked discrepancy with the US (65 per cent). This indicates there is significant scope to improve efficiencies and performance in this area.

“To navigate this era of change in ESG, businesses must be forward-looking and flexible in their planning,” said Julie Iskow, president at Workiva. “Regulators, investors, customers, and other stakeholders have identified what’s essential now, but this is only part of what will be essential for tomorrow’s reporting,” added Iskow. “Technology, which enables seamless integration between teams in one centralised platform, will be key to streamlining the reporting process long term and delivering transparent reports that can meet these evolving demands to further boost employee, investor and wider stakeholder trust.

“ESG data is critical to our business,” said Nancy Hobhouse, head of sustainability at parcel delivery company Evri. “And technology is key to accurate data. We have a main operations dashboard as well as individual dashboards so each client has their own data and an understanding of our services and how that affects the environment and how they report that into their own ESG data. We consult with major clients to asses their monthly carbon footprint and suggest ways they can reduce carbon use involved in their parcel journeys. We provide verified data and information that shows them how to make changes to reduce their carbon footprint.

Data science can help create a more sustainable organisation via production planning and forecasting. New sources of data such as satellite data, new technologies and new analytical approaches can enable more agile, efficient and evidence-based decision-making and can better measure progress on sustainable development goals.”

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