5 factors to consider when choosing a sustainability reporting software

Published on 
September 22, 2021

Whether it be to comply with legislation, such as France’s "Déclaration de performance extra-financière" (Declaration of extra-financial performance) or the European Union’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), or to keep up with stakeholders’ expectations, extra-financial reporting is becoming indispensable for an increasing number of companies. But ESG and Sustainability reporting requires suitable methods and tools, including dedicated extra-financial reporting software. Based on our expertise in extra-financial reporting, here are five factors to consider when choosing software to track your sustainability initiatives.

Why use an ESG reporting software?

There are many benefits to using CSR reporting software compared to methods such as email exchanges and Excel spreadsheets. Here are just a few:

  • Dedicated software makes it possible to automate most tasks, such as collection and calculations, so processes are faster, more efficient and cheaper;
  • It ensures data and performance indicator accuracy and security to provide reliable assessments
  • Some software, such as Metrio, offers solutions to facilitate communications with stakeholders (investors, institutions, consumers, rating agencies, etc.) on sustainability to increase their engagement and get their perspective on materiality

Choosing a sustainability reporting software that’s right for your company

When choosing any supplier, companies must prepare specifications outlining the objective, constraints and timeline. As a software company specialized in sustainability reporting, we suggest considering these factors as well:

Flexibility of the solution and evolution of materiality

Some solutions are very rigid and do not allow users to modify which data to collect or which performance indicators to track. If your company is looking to update its materiality on a regular basis, be sure to choose a solution that will allow you to easily collect and assess new data over time. Current trends in sustainability reporting include the standardization of frameworks and double materiality, i.e. reporting that includes ESG risk assessment. When developing these new best practices, a flexible solution will ensure that these guidelines are followed while tracking the performance indicators that apply to your company.

Stakeholders and reporting objectives

To determine which choice is best for your business in the long term, it is important to clearly determine your list of priorities from among the objectives (legal obligations, transparency, operational optimization, improved performance perspectives, creation of communications opportunities, etc.) and stakeholders (investors, consumers, institutions, etc.). Apart from the solution’s features and direct advantages, having a clear understanding of the objectives and stakeholders will provide some insight into the company’s future needs and thus, the best option to choose.

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Sustainability in-house

Sustainability teams, like any other department in a company, often collaborate with operations, marketing and communications teams. If these teams work closely together, be sure to choose a solution that benefits them as well.

  • What is the best way to support operations staff, even on the most granular level? For instance, do plant or store managers need a dashboard to track the environmental footprint and make changes to meet targets?
  • Will marketing and communications teams leverage sustainability initiatives to set the company apart? Do they want to go beyond simple PDFs and use interactive online reports to demonstrate the company’s leadership?

Identify key reporting steps to work on

When implementing a sustainability software, it is important to do so with a holistic view of your company’s ESG challenges and interests and to proceed in stages to ensure a smooth transition. For example, clearly identify:

  • The type of data to collect for sustainability reporting
  • The sources to choose and how to collect (automatically or manually) to ensure reliable and efficient data
  • The most difficult data to collect and assess
  • Complex, ineffective and tedious steps

This list will help to determine the features to look for and the steps to prioritize for

ESG data management

Some performance indicators are typically associated with sustainability activities. The most common are employee health, safety and wellness or the environmental footprint that was previously the responsibility of the Health, Safety and Environment departments. Other data come from the Human Resources department (number of employees, training, age, etc.) or the Finance and Accounting departments (expenses, revenue, etc.). With sustainability now embedded at all levels of the organization, extra-financial performance tracking and reporting can be complex. Be sure to choose a software that is either user friendly or can be integrated across all departments

Interested in working with us?

Find out how Metrio works and how it can simplify your company’s ESG reporting.