Initiating your sustainability journey: tracking and reporting

  • 26/03/2024

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, companies are increasingly confronted with a multitude of regulations covering Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) aspects. From stringent environmental protections to social responsibility mandates and governance guidelines, the realm of ESG is both broad and complex. There comes a point in the growth of every organization when these matters can no longer be sidelined. Whether due to regulatory compliance, investor demands, or consumer expectations, the need to actively engage with and report on sustainability issues is becoming unavoidable for businesses across all sectors.

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is one of those regulations that has recently been implemented as the EU's regulatory framework emphasizing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting. It expands on the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) and will eventually replace it. Over 50,000 companies will soon be required to adhere to these standards. There's a good chance your company is among them.

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive: a closer look

The EU implemented this measure not just to:

  • generate numerous sustainability reports for the convenience of investors, stakeholders, and the public in comparing non-financial data* among companies;
  • have financial and sustainability reports finally stand on the same ground.

*Aspects like social impact, environmental sustainability, human rights record, board diversity, and anti-corruption measures.

There's a much greater goal, namely driving sustainable growth. In the long term, the EU CSRD will support the EU's 2050 climate-neutrality target and European Green Deal Objectives.

Sustainability benefits not just the planet but businesses too. It offers strategic advantages like enhanced brand reputation and stronger client relationships, as clients increasingly value environmental and social responsibility. Showing a dedication to sustainable practices can give a company a competitive edge in bids and negotiations. Moreover, sustainable operations cut costs by using resources more efficiently and reducing waste. By aligning with global sustainability goals, B2B firms can adapt to regulatory changes, reducing risks and ensuring long-term success.

How to measure sustainable performance?

However, the reporting needs to happen. Often, it's not a task that wins the popularity contests in the corporate world. It's much like searching for a needle in a haystack, only the haystack is made of spreadsheets, and the needle is the precise data you need. On top, the required data is spread over different departments ranging from engineering to finance. The process can feel like a marathon that requires both endurance and patience.

The good news is that tools are available to make it easier for you to get to the finish line to report on social and environmental issues. It's not only good business but also enables you to identify areas of potential risks and growth opportunities.

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability provides a range of solutions tailored to assist organizations in diverse industries to effortlessly monitor, report, and giving you insights to optimize your environmental footprint. With user-friendly dashboards, you can visualize how emissions are linked to various aspects of your business. Included in the suite is Microsoft Sustainability Manager which helps you monitor and manage your environmental sustainability journey end-to-end.

Moreover, additional features are being integrated into established software such as all applications in the Dynamics 365 business application stack. The most recent update includes the capability to track and report sustainability metrics, such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Success factors in sustainability tracking

Collecting and consolidating data across an organization's multiple departments is a critical step in sustainability reporting. However, sustainability data management is a complex task often poses a challenge due to the disparate nature of data sources and formats. Our powerful solution, 9A Smart Insights enables organizations to easily integrate data from diverse sources into a unified platform, providing a holistic view. A number of our customers have already leveraged 9A Smart Insights to create dynamic sustainability dashboards, allowing them to monitor, report, and make informed decisions on their environmental impact.

If you're looking to ease the burden of CSRD reporting and enhance your sustainable business practices, we invite you to reach out to us. Together, we can explore a solution that perfectly fits your organization's needs, making it easier for you to focus on what matters most — building a sustainable, prosperous future.

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