Sustainability data makes business stronger

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Courtesy of thinkstep

Humanity is living beyond the planet’s ability to support us. We have to decouple economic growth from our use of resources and the first step to doing that is to know and monitor the impact of our activities.

Thanks to the efforts of CDP, the amount and quality of data available to businesses has exploded. We now live in the age of “big data” and businesses have the ability to decode quickly and effectively the impact of the way they operate. This is a boon to companies and their stakeholders as they become increasingly concerned about issues ranging from greenhouse gas emissions and resource scarcity to labour conditions and conflict minerals – and their potential effects on business performance.

Businesses, cities, government departments and municipalities need to know, now more than ever, what is going on within their own operations and throughout their value chains. However, there is a big difference between having the information available and being able to make good use of it.

Trying to gather and use this data armed with little more than a clipboard and a spreadsheet is no longer feasible if organizations want to manage their sustainability reporting and extract the maximum value from it. They need system-wide software platforms that enable them to evaluate everything from a product carbon footprint to an enterprise-level sustainability strategy or supply chain program.

And information, once collected, should not be trapped in the siloes of different departments but should be used again and again to meet requests for greater transparency from stakeholders ranging from organisations such as CDP to investors, customers, employees and regulators. However, disclosure on its own is not enough.

Sustainability leaders are using the wealth of data they now have available to define targets, identify opportunities, benchmark their performance, monitor and measure cost savings and communicate their progress.

The integration of sustainability performance management into their operations enables businesses not just to map their sustainability landscape but also to navigate their way through it and scale up their efforts.

Armed with the knowledge of the full impacts of their value chains and products, they can improve them or make entirely new products with sustainability designed into them. They can create innovative technologies and sell into new markets. And crucially, they can do this not just on an ad-hoc or one-off basis but they can scale up their sustainability performance throughout their organisations to create an ongoing competitive advantage.
True leaders in the field are using their sustainability information to become stronger businesses and to make better decisions based on what they have learnt. They understand that analysing, reporting and benchmarking the data they have gathered can help to boost revenues, strengthen brands, cut costs and manage risks.

We congratulate the companies recognised for their leadership in this report and are pleased to continue to accompany many of them on their journey.

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