Measuring ESG: Breaking Down Data Silos to Unlock Collaboration

Did you know that, according to a recent IBM study, 41% of global executives cite inadequate data as their biggest barrier to ESG progress? As environmental regulations increase, breaking down data silos and creating processes to accurately measure, organize, and analyze ESG data is more important than ever before.

What are Data Silos?

A data silo is a collection of data held by one group that is not easily or fully accessible by other groups in the same organization. Data silos are harmful because they hinder collaboration across departments and the ability to get a holistic view of the organizational data. Data silos also increase the risk of inconsistent or redundant data. In a world with more available data than ever before, it’s important to have healthy data practices to ensure decisions can be made utilizing the full knowledge of the organization.

Accessible and accurate data sharing is an important part of ESG because ESG affects every part of the organization and pulls data from different areas across the business. Data silos are a common problem when tracking ESG initiatives because data is often collected manually from multiple disconnected platforms.

Identifying your Data Silos

The first step to breaking down data silos is to identify where they already exist in your organization. Here are some actions that will help you get started:

    • Bring department heads together to identify where data sharing struggles exist between them.
    • Ask your IT department to create a list of data platforms and weed out any duplicates.
    • Create a survey for employees to identify data sourcing or accuracy issues.
    • If you have a ESG team, ask them which areas of data are most difficult to access or authenticate.

Purposeful and ongoing communication is one key part of identifying and disrupting data silos.

Data Orchestration: Cleaning up your Data

Data orchestration is the process of capturing data from various sources and cleaning, enriching, and matching it before unifying all data in a single source of truth. Because ESG data tracking requires pulling large quantities of data from different sources, data orchestration is a crucial step in preparing your ESG data for analysis. Let’s break down data orchestration into steps:

    1. Preparation: This step involves checking all your data for errors, enriching existing data sets with third party information if applicable, and applying labels and designations.
    2. Transformation: Now that your data is prepared, ensure that all of the data is in a standard format. For example, make sure that your utility bill data is formatted in the same way as your procurement data.
    3. Cleansing: This is the point where any duplicated, incorrect, outlier, or corrupt data is located and removed.
    4. Syncing: Syncing is the process of updating data sources and destinations for consistency. This is crucial and ongoing for organizations with multiple data storage locations.

After your ESG data is cleansed, utilizing an ESG data management platform like Net Zero Cloud will allow your team to better organize your data in a single source of truth. Net Zero Cloud helps businesses organize, analyze, and report their ESG data with much less manual effort and potential for human error. With automated emissions conversions, reporting in line with international standards, What-If Scenario planning, and more, Net Zero Cloud makes it much easier to analyze patterns in the data, make informed business decisions, and comply with regulations.

Building a Culture of Data Governance

Once your organization has done the work to break down data silos, it’s crucial to maintain transparency and high-quality data. If your business uses a platform like Net Zero Cloud, your trained internal sustainability team or your ESG consulting partner will be able to manage data quality and automate ESG reporting to maintain transparency effortlessly. To build a culture of data governance within your organization, start by:

    • Creating policies that clearly define how data is to be managed and used
    • Identify who is in charge of what data
    • Define standardized metrics for data quality
    • Create a plan for data security and ongoing integration
    • Train employees across the organization on how to manage and use data
    • Bring in auditors to ensure data accuracy

Don’t Do it Alone: Green Impact Can Help

Managing organizational ESG data can be a difficult task that requires specialized knowledge not only about carbon accounting and sustainability, but also about software and data management. With our cultivated team of experts, Green Impact meets you at the intersection of technology and sustainability to ensure that you can get the most out of your ESG data. Our team will walk you through the process of creating better ESG data management, from cleaning and orchestrating your current and past ESG data to implementing and managing Net Zero Cloud. Don’t struggle through your ESG data alone, rely on our expertise to streamline the process and create better analytics and reports in a single source of truth.

Get Started Today

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