It has taken until April this year, but spring has finally sprung – and with springtime comes spring cleaning. Spring cleaning means decluttering, organizing and can leave us feeling refreshed and motivated.

Going paperless and reducing waste, focusing on accuracy in reporting, eliminating mundane non-value added tasks, and eliminating survey fatigue are all examples of spring cleaning that you can do today – and it’s much easier than you think!

 

At Ecometrica we regularly hear Sustainability teams worry over the accuracy of their data. This is especially due to the fact that companies are expected to disclose climate-related information consistent with mainstream financial filings and need to accurately assess, price, and manage climate-related risks. The new Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations for disclosing climate-related risks that were released in June are just another step towards new demands being placed on Corporate Responsibility (CR) teams. In short, CR professionals are being asked to do more and more, but with less time and inadequate tools.  

 

CR professionals reported that they spend up to 90% of their time gathering information.

 

According to a recent study, companies want to manage their long-term risks and develop new business opportunities. However, the software tools these companies are using are subpar and antiquated. A patchwork of IT programs or legacy systems and spreadsheets is the most significant barrier for companies who want to create integrated CR reports. In fact, a majority of sustainability software tools are simple ‘ad-hoc’ modules built by software companies with no expertise in sustainability or climate science. Yet these disconnected and error-prone tools are a mainstay for sustainability data metrics worldwide and contain numbers of uncertain provenance that are driving the substance of decision making within the organization.   

In this two-part series, we highlight the challenges CR professionals are facing to deliver accurate, reliable data; discuss the tools they are using that cause these challenges; and provide insight to a simpler, more accurate way of reporting.  

 

Challenges CR Professionals Face


Gathering data

Data collection is the most challenging day-to-day burden for CR teams as they are attempting to gather reliable metrics with inadequate tools, resulting in fragmented, manual, and time-consuming effort. CR professionals reported that they spend up to 90% of their time gathering information for the annual report, which leaves inadequate opportunity to follow up properly with senior decision-makers. And as the demand for sophisticated and reliable metrics and narratives are growing, they lack sophisticated informational tools to get the job done efficiently.

Professionals say 1/5th of their day is spent just searching for and gathering information needed to complete tasks.

 

Spreadsheets

A study conducted by the Triana Group found that more than half of US companies surveyed are using either Excel spreadsheets or a combination of Excel and an Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) system.  It turns out the most widely used CR data tool in the U.S., Excel, is also the lowest performing, according to the study. While managers typically perceive Excel as the low-cost option for tracking CR data, the study concludes that relying on basic spreadsheet software will actually cost more annually in staff time, inefficient workflows, and errors. In addition, a lack of control over critical business data can create the type of chaos that no company can afford.  Think “London Whale incident”…

Have you ever stopped to think how much time is spent on repetitive managerial tasks?  If this process took less time, what would you spend your extra time on?

On average, users spend 12 hours per month synthesizing spreadsheets – that’s 18 full workdays per year

 

Data Accuracy

Data accuracy and availability was the top challenge for 50% of respondents, with over half having difficulty obtaining external buy-in to disclose data.  Data management processes are typically manual and are frequently time consuming and prone to error. Some of the difficulties related to data gathering include:

 

  • Getting the information you really need from suppliers and/or internal stakeholders
  • Physical limitations of dispersed geographical operations
  • Data quality and variability

 

How much time do you spend verifying the data you received is accurate?  Do you suffer from email fatigue?

 

Your current tools are failing you. Stay tuned for part two, where we’ll discuss why – and what you can do about it.

 

Ecometrica has empowered hundreds of organizations by enabling their non-financial reporting teams to more effectively collect, manage, and report on data, allowing teams to focus on what is meaningful to the company and tell their story.

To learn more about how Ecometrica can help you streamline your Sustainability reporting process, and deliver accurate, reliable data visit https://ecometrica.com/platform/request-a-demo to schedule a demo.

 

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