How IT can tackle the challenge of ESG reporting

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How IT can tackle the challenge of ESG reporting

With a growing focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria and ethical investments in 2022, IT is in a strong position to help companies achieve their goals. If that sounds like too big a challenge for your IT organization to take on, you may want to implement a digital platform conductor.

In March this year the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a proposal for publicly traded US companies to report certain sustainability figures. If, as predicted, this goes ahead it’s going to be vital to publish exact information and the results could affect a company’s credit and risk rating. Sustainable investing continues to grow in priority so it’s in every firm’s interest to focus on strengthening environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and reporting capabilities.

IT is in a great position to aid these activities. Last year, Gartner called for CIOs to get ahead of the curve to help develop new technology solutions and look at how IT itself contributes to sustainability. CIOs should be asking several questions including:

  • What’s the carbon footprint of our datacenters?
  • Are we using and disposing of assets sustainably?
  • How are we tracking assets to keep data safe?
  • What are we doing to protect against hackers?
  • Is there a way we can help business teams report on their carbon footprint?
  • How can we validate this information for governance purposes?

With IT holding the key to unlock a wealth of information about the resources owned and consumed by the company, teams can play an important role working with ESG compliance officers. For transparency it’s important to use recognized standards and frameworks for ESG reporting because there are many ways to present the information. For example, one way of calculating the carbon footprint of a datacenter could be to multiply power usage at the location by the local carbon factor (which your utility can supply), or you could report on power usage effectiveness (PUE) by calculating total facility power/IT equipment energy.

Cutting through the clutter to make sense of the data

Once you’ve decided on your methodology and reporting framework, finding a way to sift through and present the information in a format that meets the needs of regulatory bodies and assessors can be difficult. If you’re a global business, that information will be held in silos in numerous IT tools and business repositories. And as companies adopt smart technologies and accelerate digital transformation more data will be generated by IoT devices and sensors.

The question is how can IT manage this influx of data and deliver it to compliance offers in a useful format for ESG reporting? Given the pace of business change, the number of locations and data centers around the globe, it’s going to be a full-time job for a team to manually wrangle multiple spreadsheets to make sense of the information. If you haven’t got the budget or resources to dedicate to this and you can’t guarantee that the data will be accurate, this may sound like a challenge you don’t want to take on.

Leverage intelligent automation to access and present relevant data

There is, however a way for IT to play a role in ESG reporting, without further overloading teams or using budget for additional staff, and that’s by using a digital platform conductor (DPC). Using a DPC your teams can unlock the information required within the organization, by connecting to the relevant tools, databases and repositories and leveraging the data they hold. A DPC applies intelligence and analytics to sort and clear data into a clear, consumable real-time view, cutting months of manual effort.

With that to hand IT can simply manipulate dashboards to present the data from different perspectives – for example from a global, location, or business view. This will help companies understand how they are performing against ESG goals, such as:

  • If hardware is being utilized effectively? Using a DPC for IT asset lifecycle management IT can better track and reclaim assets within the business for reuse, to save costs and propagate company innovation.
  • How end users are accessing and using applications, how devices are performing, and if they are secure. A DPC will assist teams in providing a unified approach to endpoint management to maintain data security and end user performance.
  • How data is being protected. A DPC allows you to manage governance with clear audit trails that extend beyond the company to incorporate your third-party vendors, for example, for IT asset disposition, helping avoid costly data breaches.

This information can be used to inform decision-making around ESG goals and processes and allow the company to show how it is constantly improving.

Find out how you can leverage ReadyWorks, a digital platform conductor, to simplify ESG your company’s ESG reporting activities. Book a demo

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