Four Ways to Ensure Business Continuity with your ESG Tracking

A decade ago, most companies didn’t consider carbon emissions a material concern to their business. But that’s changing as climate change intensifies. Investors are applying pressure, regulators are planning enforcement strategies, and companies are scrambling to shore up their ESG accounting and emissions reduction data.

In short: consistent, accurate corporate ESG tracking is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a major factor in determining a company’s success.

Moving forward, companies will need to design continuity into their tracking and reductions strategy to remain competitive and resilient in the face of increasing volatility.

Corporate responsibility expectations are changing.

In the past, ESG accounting was often assigned to an untrained staff member or even an intern. The resulting reports were static documents that lived on desktop computers. Most reports lacked a consistent methodology from one year to the next. Many companies didn’t track carbon emissions annually at all, so they missed the opportunity to track positive and negative shifts over time.

Companies can no longer afford to manage their GHG inventory as an afterthought. Stakeholders are demanding that companies backup their carbon accounting claims. That means establishing a systematic approach that safeguards data continuity and redundancy across teams.

  • Investors want data. Investors now view climate and other environmental risk mitigation strategies as key business performance indicators.
  • Regulators want consistency. Regulators are looking to shore up carbon accounting inconsistencies and inaccuracies with new rules on climate-related disclosures that could take effect as early as December.
  • Competition for talent is fierce. ESG skills are in high demand. Relying on individuals rather than systems to manage your carbon accounting is a recipe for inconsistencies and lost data.

The bottom line: it’s more important than ever to build continuity into your carbon accounting processes. Don’t leave data or documentation to chance, only to find it isn’t available when your board or federal regulators request it–or worse, the data are inaccurate.

Business continuity is a core aspect of sustainability planning.

Fortunately, ESG tracking systems have come a long way. For example, SustainaBase’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) system automates inbound and outbound data feeds, translating emissions and other sustainability data into actionable insights.

Whatever system you choose, your emissions data needs to be up-to-date, accurate, and accessible across leadership and key business units. Below are four tips for how to incorporate business continuity into your ESG planning.

Four tips for incorporating business continuity:

1.Adopt a systems-based approach–and use it.

Demand for ESG talent is at an all-time high. You can’t count on individual staff to always be there to provide a historical perspective and shoulder the weight of your carbon tracking.

One of our customers recently lost all three people in their sustainability department in the same month to other opportunities. (Fortunately, their SustainaBase system enabled them not to miss a beat as they staffed up again!)

2. Keep everything in one place.

Kilowatt hours, therms, and tons. Emissions scopes 1, 2, and 3. Global supply chains and value chains. ESG accounting incorporates vastly different data from far-flung systems, and many companies still track those data in separate spreadsheets stored on shared drives.

Tracking multiple sheets and processes is a recipe for errors, omissions, and reconciliation headaches. When your job is to make sense of your ESG data for your stakeholders, you can make it much easier by housing all of your data in one system.

3. Develop an inventory management plan.

As with any robust system, a documentation guide is key. It’s not only an efficient way to train new staff; it’s your road map as the company grows and expectations shift.

Document everything from your methodologies to the source and quality of each data stream. Work with a SaaS provider that has a strong documentation mindset baked into their process. You’ll be grateful when it comes time to answer inquiries into your procedures, process, and calculations.

4. Support your users.

ESG is still a relatively new field. As more teams are pulled into sustainability accounting, it’s vital to have a plan to guide and train staff on your tracking system and goals.

Support and training can be very labor intensive, and the ESG field continues to evolve rapidly. While you can assign an in-house team to manage everything, a SaaS provider that offers group and 1:1 training to staff can save you time and money and ensure that everyone’s knowledge is up-to-date.

Set up a system that saves time and solves problems.

As we navigate a changing world, ESG is becoming more integral to business operations and strategic planning. Establishing business continuity for any core business system is critical to your company’s success.

A robust, supportive ESG tracking system allows you to focus less on chasing down data–and more on how to use those data to solve problems.

SustainaBase uses globally-accredited standards to help you measure emissions and progress toward sustainability targets. To learn more about how to implement an accurate tracking program at your organization,request a SustainaBase demo with one of our sustainability experts.

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