Abhirup Das, co-founder and chief operating officer, Oren, shares his vision on the importance of ESG reporting, how it is easier than ever to implement and why investors have started considering ESG performance when making investment decisions.
EcoTrade talked to Abhirup Das, co-founder and chief operating officer, Orennow, an end-to-end ESG data management company that offers automated ESG reporting software.
EcoTrade: Why is sustainability reporting vital and how do investors view it?
Abhirup Das: Today, most publicly listed companies and increasingly private companies are publishing their sustainability reports alongside their financial statements to establish a public commitment to sustainability coupled with profitability.
Key insights #1: investors have started considering ESG performance when making investment decisions
EcoTrade: How can businesses gain value through better ESG reporting?
Abhirup Das: Today, ESG reports are becoming more of a must-have rather than a good-to-have as an increasing number of stakeholders are showing interest in them. Some of the stakeholders that care about ESG data and reports:
- Regulators – Today most large economies have made it mandatory for the public and sometimes even the private companies beyond a certain threshold to report on their sustainability performance.
- Investors – There is growing research proving that being sustainable is good for business and hence public and private market investors have started considering ESG performance when making investment decisions.
- Bankers –
- B2B Customers – Having ESG data handy and disclosed helps businesses better serve their existing customers and gain more customers especially in the European, UK, Canada and US markets.
- Consumers – Millennials and Gen-Z consumers prefer buying from and being associated with brands that are more sustainable and ethical so B2C businesses that publically showcase their ESG commitments are a favourite of their consumers.
Key insights #2: SMEs should start creating ESG reports for their internal consumption, this exercise would help make informed decisions and improvement create roadmaps.
EcoTrade: How can small and medium-sized enterprises prepare for increasingly stringent sustainability benchmarks?
Abhirup Das: I would recommend that SMEs start creating ESG reports for internal consumption. This exercise would help them bring to the surface their existing ESG data and create roadmaps and initiatives towards the improvement of this data.
There always are certain low-hanging fruits that can be implemented at zero to low costs but have extremely positive long-term benefits such as essential HR and governance policies for employees and suppliers, creating a board to inculcate transparency and governance across the company, replacing non-renewable sources of energy with renewable sources, conducting employee and supplier training on human rights, business ethics, anti-corruption etc.
These SMEs can also look at the ESG reports of certain existing, larger players in their industry to get a flavour of what a full-fledged ESG roadmap looks like.
EcoTrade: What tools and skills do businesses need to capture and report ESG data seamlessly and accurately? And where does Oren fit into the equation?
Abhirup Das: From our extensive experience of working with multiple industries, we have learnt that there is no such thing as “ESG data”, it is all enterprise data on which calculations have to be performed to convert it into ESG data. And hence, it is very important to have a clear understanding of the input and output data.
In addition to this, there is no one department that owns all the relevant ESG data and hence creating an ESG report requires collaboration between all the departments of an organization. And hence, we get the best results when the ESG exercise starts with the top management making a long-term commitment and then ensuring all their team members and departments are brought into that vision.
For a seamless and error-free ESG data collection and report creation process, organizations need an ESG data management platform that brings together all their ESG data, and the stakeholders that own that data in one single place. This is exactly where our solution fits into the picture, as it allows the sustainability team to automate the data management process and invite collaborators from multiple departments to come together on one single platform.
Based on our experience, this also saved a lot of time as the sustainability teams now don’t have to exchange multiple Excel sheets over emails which also eliminates the need for constant follow-ups and escalations.
In addition to the above, Oren’s platform assists the sustainability teams to manage their ESG data internally and across their entire supply chains so that organizations can manage all their ESG commitments in one place.
About Abhirup Das: Abhirup Das, co-founder and chief operating officer, Oren, he spearheads the company’s expansion efforts in India and North America. As an ardent advocate for corporate sustainability, he firmly believes that embracing ESG trends is vital for the success of businesses in the 21st century.
Know more about Abhirup Das visit his LinkedIn profile