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How the Digital Revolution Is Reshaping the World of Sustainability Data Management

Sustainability Data Management

Innovative sustainability software gives companies a whole new look at their efforts and challenges the boundaries of the possible.

You’ve done everything to meet the GRI standards but feel overwhelmed with data? Or maybe you are just at the start of your sustainability path and need to make the right first step? Infinite flows of information are trouble for sustainability managers. Consequently, CSOs and boards struggle to see the real benefits behind sustainability initiatives and decide on what really matters. Luckily, the digital revolution brings new integrative solutions, creating captivating opportunities at all levels of company management.

While most older sustainability tools focused on a particular issue, today’s needs are much more complex. Companies want to benchmark their performance across the SDGs, analyze supply chains and understand how their choices may impact customer satisfaction and profits. Novel software solutions allow handling this type of complexity and reach beyond.

A new look at corporate sustainability management

Quality data management is the new front of corporate sustainability efforts. If before people spent time on inputting and analyzing data, now it’s about setting up a system that will handle this job and instead investing time into running projects and delivering results.

The next-generation of sustainability software lets companies integrate all areas of their sustainability effort under one roof. It gives them the tools to organize data, optimize resources and generate insights fit for GRI, CDP, SASB or other reporting frameworks. Packed with analytical and automation features, the tools can be easily tailored to particular needs.

For example, at Goodera, we provide clients with a holistic platform that links all data into one integrated framework. Once the CEO, CSO or sustainability manager steps in, she sees a comprehensive analysis of the company’s sustainability performance, with agile access to any piece of information or dataset, updated in real-time from the client’s corporate site using APIs or being recorded at a supply chain factory using Goodera’s web or mobile application. Environmental, social and economic sustainability can finally meet on a single dashboard.

Thanks to clear historical reference, sustainability software also allows managers to benchmark and compare results, set relevant goals and plan to achieve them through careful iterations, thanks to the easy access to data. This is particularly relevant for measuring impacts, as billions are spent on sustainability initiatives, but outcomes are rarely calculated properly. Thus, it is important to choose a tool that will fit into the company’s needs and accommodate future growth and change.

Towards a common sustainability language

What’s best, these innovative tools finally allow sustainability managers to find a common language with company executives. A 360-perspective on the company’s performance clearly outlines achievements, gaps, risks, and opportunities – the things that company executives and investors actually care about.

Tailored dashboards for CEOs, boards, investors and even particular stakeholders or reporting frameworks are another way to use these adaptive software environments. Just set it up and let the tool take care of the data for a particular purpose or audience.

These tools also allow solving a bigger challenge, which many voluntary reporting initiatives suffer from – data consistency and comparability.

Data management software should ensure that the company’s databases align well with the relevant reporting frameworks. They also help to prevent collecting irrelevant data, avoid data losses, reduce human error and focus on the content that matters. And as top global companies strive for science-based targets, the relevance of data accuracy is only going to grow.

The new level of materiality insights

Life cycle assessments and footprint analyses remain valuable assets for understanding the material impacts. However, companies increasingly aspire for a broader perspective, focused on creating sustainable business models and complex supply chains.

Novel tools help to create circular business models and learn from the best strategies implemented by others in similar situations. They also allow to challenge the old boundaries of the possible. Want to think beyond a single product lifecycle? Need to compare a range of complex solutions? Want to harness AI for good? With today’s tools, it’s all at your fingertips.

Meanwhile, interactive online platforms like Circular Design Guide allow managers to shift focus towards the creative and innovative side of corporate sustainability. The platform allows tapping into a variety of approaches, such as product journey mapping, rethinking brand narratives or embedding feedback mechanisms into product design.

New tools can also help companies to digitally monitor product performance, issue timely upgrades and replace parts before they are broken. This kind of digital innovation reshapes the whole idea of sustainable product design while helping to drastically cut the material footprint. And, with the right information, they can also help investors make smarter decisions based on elegant ESG insights.

The future of such approaches is truly promising. Yet, many companies have just entered the realm and need a simple start. The digital revolution has good news for them too.

Rapid assessments for a quick jumpstart

Rapid assessments work great for those who want a quick glimpse at their performance, before making any serious steps.

Such tools allow companies to quickly benchmark their performance, understand gaps and prioritize further action. They assist an informed entry into the field without requiring lots of data to start from.

Such an opportunity to jumpstart the journey from level zero is particularly important for SMEs and start-ups that want to get on the right track.

The digital is the new normal

Whether you come from a global corporation or a startup, the digital revolution is impossible to ignore. Digitalizing sustainability is the “new normal” with new rules and a different pace of change.

The “innovate or die” slogan is as relevant as ever. Even more valid it is for the world of corporate sustainability. New software provides an even playing field for those who are ready to lead the change.

Meanwhile, the digital revolution also means something even more important. The new integrative approaches tailored for endless improvement suddenly make a brighter future much more probable. See how Goodera can help you achieve that with a free demo.

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