In today's fast-evolving corporate landscape, transparency and accountability have emerged as pivotal elements in establishing trust among stakeholders. The introduction of Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) Statement requirements reflects a collective effort to ensure that large enterprises are not only responsible in their operations, but also transparent in communicating their impacts on society and the environment.
Leveraging a technical tool designed to meet CSRD Statement requirements can streamline a company's reporting process, ensuring accuracy and compliance with minimal manual oversight. Enter Biagio Sustainability Solutions, a product of Eunoia Holdings that empowers companies on their path to sustainability through innovative, data-driven solutions.
I met up with Stefan Farrugia, CEO of Eunoia, who explains that Eunoia Holdings runs a comprehensive offering that enables organisations to capture, analyze, and report on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics.
“By leveraging cutting-edge big data engineering techniques and industry-leading tools like Microsoft Sustainability Manager and CFOUR Comply, Biagio helps businesses meet their non-financial CSRD statement requirements,” he explains.
The tool collects operational data through sophisticated data ingestion processes, employing advanced techniques such as IoT (Internet of Things) streaming to ensure data accuracy. Data integrity is maintained throughout the process by performing regular data checks and validations.
“Moreover, we deploy data governance practices to ensure the data is processed in a correct and consistent manner,” Stefan says.
The system compiles what’s referred to as a 'non-financial data estate', which includes various ESG metrics such as environmental impacts, social initiatives, and governance practices. Businesses can derive valuable insights from this data to understand their sustainability performance, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions.
“Technically, the process includes three scopes. The first covers the internal emissions generated through an organisation’s processes, such as heating, own vehicle emissions and industrial processes emissions. The second scope primarily addresses electricity consumption, while the third addresses emissions generated along the value chain that were not addressed in the previous scopes and are related to the company's operations," Stefan explains.
Given that the path to sustainability necessitates a collaborative approach and a cultural shift towards net zero, an intriguing aspect of Biagio is that it promotes organisational data democratisation, ensuring that data is accessible and understandable to all stakeholders. This is vital for businesses moving towards sustainability as it fosters transparency, accountability, and collaboration among teams, facilitating better sustainability in decision-making. But how does it handle data governance and cataloguing?
“The solution ensures data governance and cataloguing through a robust data management platform. It allows for rules and policies to be applied to maintain data integrity and compliance with relevant regulations, ensuring that data is accurate, secure and auditable,” Stefan replies.
In terms of accuracy, Biagio takes a synergistic approach, employing intricate algorithms to give organisations a detailed and nuanced insight into their environmental impact. It differentiates between direct and indirect emissions through the seamless integration of multi-sourced data streams while also adhering to established industry-standard calculation methodologies.
“In this way, Biagio ensures a high degree of accuracy in measurements,” Stefan says, adding that the solution allows businesses to configure emissions factors and other ESG conversion factors within the product.
“This flexibility ensures that the data captured and analysed aligns with each organisation's unique sustainability goals and objectives. Let’s use business travel as an example. Typically we find that the company has access to travel data such as hotel, destination, location and so forth, but not to the actual carbon footprint. Our tool uses standard conversion factors to convert such data into carbon footprints based on location, stars, and other factors," Stefan explains.
Of course, given the variety of variables involved, the process of developing sustainability goals and targets can be complicated. By providing intuitive tools and analytics, Biagio's solution simplifies the journey. The system assists organisations in assessing their current performance, identifying areas for improvement, and setting realistic and ambitious sustainability goals.
“That said, the starting point for any ESG related effort is to build and define a data strategy. Biagio will assist organisations in monitoring and measuring related metrics that can be compared to current goals. Based on these metrics, it is up to the management/board to decide on which areas to improve by reducing, or replacing, certain practices to decrease the footprint or offset accordingly. We have seen companies reduce their business travel and further encouraging working from home as part of their ESG journey to reduce their carbon footprint,” Stefan iterates.
The tool also enables streamlined processing and analysis of the vast amounts of sustainability-related data that it generates, allowing for deeper insights and fast-tracking organisations’ journey towards sustainability.
“To bring one example, organisations that want to monitor sensorial data such as fridges, heating and cooling will require reading from IoT devices. This data is typically raw, unstructured, and large in size, and it must be streamed in real time due to its volatility. This is where bigdata engineering comes in, allowing for its ingestion, translation, and summarization to make sense for long-term sustainability."
While all this may sound overwhelming to organisations that have only just kickstarted their drive towards sustainability, the system itself is equipped with user-friendly dashboards that allow for user-friendly templates, custom-created reports and integrated support.
"These features improve the efficiency of the reporting process. This data is typically transposed into non-financial reports, which are typically authored by agencies and used to support branding, such as during investor presentations. This implies that Biagio must maintain a high level of usability," Stefan concludes.