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Four Ways Intelligent ESG Data can Transform Your Business

There has never been a better time to consider the benefits that ESG dataset automation can bring.

March 5, 2023

Automation has transformed many aspects of all our lives — and large-scale data aggregation and processing is no exception. Although some organizations still opt to store and process data using manual, spreadsheet-based methods, an increasing number are seeing the benefits of automated workflows for their operations. Not least when it comes to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data.

From tracking carbon emissions to helping end modern slavery, ESG data holds limitless potential to set benchmarks and goals across the business, ensuring we work and operate more efficiently and ethically.

But as mandatory ESG disclosures become more commonplace worldwide — and the fines for non-compliance increase in size and regularity — there’s never been a better time to consider the benefits that ESG dataset automation can bring.

It’s also important to remember that ESG data goes way beyond your own internal information, taking in datasets from your suppliers, customers, and even third parties. When I’m working with customers to get the most out of their ESG data with the Alteryx platform, I get to see the most successful use cases automation can offer. Here are four of the biggest benefits organizations can achieve with an automated ESG data solution.

1. Ensuring compliance to unlock additional value

While compliance isn’t the most important reason to prioritize ESG, you can attract immediate financial penalties and brand damage if you don’t have your data in order.

But beyond the obvious benefits of avoiding the consequences of non-compliance, accurate ESG data and reporting can also help you discover unique insights into your operations that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. What’s more, the work you put into your data today can make future collation and reporting far easier — particularly once your automated workflows are well established.

2. Securing investment through transparency

According to PWC, nearly 80% of investors say ESG is an important factor in their investment decision-making. And around half are prepared to dissociate from companies that don’t take sufficient action on ESG issues.

With so much at stake financially — combined with a tough global economic outlook — organizations that rely on outside investment can no longer afford to ignore ESG.

The good news is an increasing number of organizations are changing tact to embrace ESG and its benefits. Between 2019 and 2021, McKinsey reports sustainable investment fund inflows increased from $5 billion to $70 billion — with these funds gaining $87 billion of net new money in Q1 of 2022 alone. The result is that more than 90% of S&P 500 and 70% of Russell 1000 organizations now publish ESG reports. With the right data in place, you can easily demonstrate ESG credentials to investors, giving a broad range of stakeholders confidence that you take sustainability, ethics, and the law, seriously.

3. Maintaining consumer confidence through actions

Similar to investment, how consumers perceive your brand can have a substantial impact on loyalty, and ultimately, bottom line revenue. The seriousness with which you treat ESG data forms a significant part of this, putting anything from carbon emissions to workforce diversity on display for all to see.

With mandatory ESG disclosures becoming more commonplace, particularly in Europe and now the United States, there’s simply no hiding from ESG reporting. And it’s no longer enough to publish any old data you hold on your ESG credentials; the data also has to be highly accurate. This is because, as we’ve seen in recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suits, the penalties for non-compliance go way beyond monetary fines — they can also create a perception that certain brands are all too happy to mislead customers to cut corners.

4. Talent retention and acquisition

Taking ethics and corporate responsibility seriously can be highly attractive for current and potential employees who are looking for something more than a paycheck.
By gathering, analyzing, and publishing data on a wide range of ESG considerations, you can demonstrate your commitment to responsible business practices and operations. This data can include:

  • Climate change contributions
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies
  • Modern slavery and labor standards
  • Human rights
  • Community welfare
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Political contributions
  • Corporate sustainability and ethics

Importantly, it’s best to focus a select few areas rather than trying to tackle everything at once. This way, you can slowly expand your reach as your processes mature.

Getting your ESG data in order can pay dividends

The benefits of aggregated, well-structured ESG data are clear. But how can you make them a reality without hemorrhaging time or breaking the bank?

While there’s no “silver bullet” solution, the Alteryx Analytics Automation Platform can help you build sophisticated self-driven workflows that anyone from data professionals to casual business users can run and modify.

To find out how your organization can benefit from Analytics for All, get in touch with one of our experts today and transform your ESG data for the future.