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An Impact Reporting Tech Platform Seeks ESG Research For Its Sustainability Reports

Overview: In this project, we provided Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) research data services to the client as per the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standard for all major companies/corporates worldwide. This was the first project of its kind for us. We got the client in 2019 and started with just 5 team members. The project was completed timely despite our team having no prior experience in technical and scientific research of ESG metrics.

Client Background

The client is a European AI-powered technology platform. Its primary solution is an end-to-end SaaS tool for automated sustainability analysis and reporting. It faced challenges with ESG data management, particularly with data compilation from multiple disparate sources and subsequent data preparation.

Primary Challenges

This was a first-of-its-kind project for our data management team. We had no prior experience in catering to ESG data requirements. The client did not share a training manual, SoP, or detailed instructions. We only had a sample report and a few multilingual data source URLs (from global organizations) as a guide to begin our task.

Our primary challenge was to find specialized resources in the sustainability domain, followed by creating processes and monitoring data quality to ensure delivery within the project timeline.

The Solution

Assembling Resources

A preliminary analysis of the data sources and their scientific metrics and ESG standards in the industry was conducted. A detailed requirement document was created, and roles were defined. Accordingly, we employed science, finance, and technology graduates, environmental research experts, and a specialized resource with particular impact reporting experience to lead the project. Every resource was vetted on their knowledge of international regulatory guidelines and global ESG reporting standards. We trained them adequately with the required tools and resources and as per the client's needs.

Data Collection and Compilation

Owing to the capabilities of our in-house data management team in handling multilingual data at a rapid pace, comprehending the data sources was quickly accomplished. Additionally, we also covered the following data sources.

  • Data on company websites (concerning ESG goals)
  • Company disclosures
  • Internal organizational metrics
  • Internal systems (ERP, HR, EHS, EMS, SCM)
  • Annual reports and public filings
  • Data from third-party sources (NGOs and government reports)
  • Real-time ESG data (news, social media posts, public reviews)
  • Additional ESG data in public domains (satellite imagery, environmentalist reports)

Data Research

We conducted data research in three categories and created reports accordingly for the client.

Environmental research

We collected quantitative data for GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, such as CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, HFC, and PFC, alongside other air emissions, such as SOx, NOx, VOCs, PRTR, and PM), water intake, waste generation by type and disposal methods, water emissions (such as BOD, COD, and NH3-N), and energy generation and consumption for the companies worldwide on an annual basis.

Required fields:

  • GHG (greenhouse gas) Emissions
  • Co2 Generated and emitted
  • Water Withdrawal
  • Waste Generated
  • Energy Consumed
  • Energy Generated
  • Air pollutants
  • Environmental penalties for regulatory non-compliances

Social research

We researched and analyzed quantitative data for employee strength. This included new hires, gender diversity (in employment and management), voluntary/involuntary exits, EHS training (average and total), and fatality rates for corporate organizations. This research focused on companies' social responsibilities toward their employees' welfare.

Required fields:

  • No. of employees (Men/Women)
  • Percentage of women in managerial positions
  • Number of injuries and fatalities
  • Trade union
  • Employee turnover
  • Employment growth

Company Policies/Standards for corporate governance

We researched, analyzed, and collected qualitative data on various company policies, such as Code of Conduct, Human Rights Policy, Anti-Corruption Policy, Environmental Policy, Policies on Water Conservation, and GHG emissions.

Required fields:

  • Number of non-executive board members
  • No. of Board committees
  • Audit Fees
  • Litigation Expenses
  • Lobbying / Political Donations

Final Outcome

Our team compiled relevant data from multiple sources and produced an organized dataset with improved accessibility. We created the project's SoP using completed reports that the client approved and appreciated. The final dataset was analyzed for quality and accessibility, cleaned, and shared with the client.

After two years of successful outcomes with a team of 5–10 members, the client established a dedicated team of 35 members in their third year of association with us.

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