ESG Industry Obsessed With Collecting Carbon and ESG Data

The hottest trend in ESG: To collect ESG data via Carbon Accounting.

What’s our Carbon Footprint? How do we lower our Carbon Footprint? How do we collect the data? How accurate is our Carbon Data?

The theory: Accurate carbon data will tell us what to do.

“I think the ESG Industry has put too much emphasis on carbon data! – Bill Zujewski, Green Business Bureau President

What is ESG data?

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data encapsulate all information that’s related to the impact an organization has on its surroundings. This includes data metrics on board independence, water use, discrimination lawsuits, executive pay, etc. Most notable is, however, carbon data.

Although I understand the need to measure results, I don’t understand the need to be so accurate with Carbon Accounting. After all, it’s not like revenue accounting, the lifeblood of your business that needs to be accurate to the penny. We just need to understand what actions we can take to lower our company’s carbon footprint.

Of course, a baseline of your carbon emissions is helpful. But I bet many can spend an hour or two in a spreadsheet and get a number that’s 80% accurate. (I love the 80/20 rule.) Do you really need a Sustainability Data Cloud with custom software and real time data APIs? Do you need to complete a $250,000 materiality assessment consulting engagement? Most companies probably do not. I do understand that the SEC may require data disclosure some day for public companies, but I caution companies to not over engineer a Carbon database. From what I can tell and from what I’ve seen, most companies, spend more time on data collection and reporting than on engaging employees and taking action. Even without the data, we know what policies are needed, what behavior needs to change, how products need to change and what suppliers need to go.

Tell me your industry. Show me your products. Show me your energy bills, fuel bills, flights and employee workplace locations. And I can probably tell you where to spend MORE time for CHANGE! And less time on data collection.

Spend Your Resources and Budget on ACTION

Every company has unique sustainability materiality (a fancy term for what produces the most carbon emissions for your company). In fact, materiality is very similar amongst companies within the same industry.

  • The Beverage industry has a plastic problem. And a fossil-fueled trucking problem.
  • Manufacturing has a fossil-fuel power plant problem.
  • Insurance has a paper problem and a commute problem.
  • Software has a Data Center problem.
  • Retail has a packaging problem.
  • Small businesses have unique problems… but we know the problems with restaurants, dry cleaners, florists, and stores.

In most cases, we know exactly what industries should be doing to lower their carbon footprint. We know what departments/organizations should be doing. We also know what to do for dozens of common operational areas:

  • Move our power sources to green energy.
  • Install efficient and LED lighting.
  • Eliminate single-use items and plastic.
  • Work from home. Bike or walk to work.
  • Purchase EVs.

It’s all common sense!

I’ll be 100% transparent, I’m the president of the Green Business Bureau, a company obsessed with taking the cost and complexity out of sustainability. We believe every business should have an economic path to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. We need to work together to create a green business world and a socially responsible business world.

The Green Business Bureau has documented over 500+ ESG initiatives companies can take on. For each industry, we’ve stack ranked the most important initiatives (what’s material for your industry). We provide the EcoPlans, guides, tips, scorecards, etc. We know what’s material, so we can provide everything your ESG or Green Teams need to get going and make a real impact. Skip all the analysis, and go right to implementing change.

Our mission is simple: Disrupt the traditional Sustainability and ESG industry. Companies have spent billions on ESG consulting, vendors, data collection, ratings, and reports. Shouldn’t we be spending that money and time on actions and change?

We think so. In many cases, with the right online tools and guidance, you can let your current employees drive the ESG cause. Engage your employees, they’ll love making an impact!

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