In a recent article, we discussed how your company can acquire sustainability data. Now, it’s time to dive deeper and explore how you can get the most out of your sustainability data. In this article, we’ll examine how auditing, analysis, and sustainability reporting can help you unlock actionable insights from your sustainability data.
Let’s dive in!
Auditing Your Data for Comprehensiveness and Correctness
Before you do anything with your newly acquired sustainability data, it is imperative that you audit your data to make sure it is complete and correct. If you have acquired your data via manual methods, you will either need to audit it yourself or outsource the task. If you have acquired your data through an energy and sustainability management platform, the platform should audit your data for you.
Auditing your data gives you a firm foundation to start on. If you go into the analysis or sustainability reporting stages with incorrect or incomplete data, you risk making misinformed decisions that will not adequately address your company’s sustainability goals. In addition, if your data is incorrect, it can slow down third-party assurance providers from issuing their assurance statements on ESG and sustainability framework reports and risks them not being able to issue a letter of assurance if there are too many errors in the data.
Analyzing Your Sustainability Data for Trends
Once your data is fully audited, your next step should be to analyze it for trends and patterns. This allows you to benchmark your different facilities or buildings against each other, see where energy optimizations/efficiency projects are needed, or see if sustainability measures you have implemented are performing as hoped. All of these insights will help guide your company’s sustainability roadmap, i.e., show you where you should be investing the most time and money.
If you are using an energy and sustainability management platform, it should also analyze your data for you. Otherwise, you will need to gather your data and complete manual analysis to ensure performance.
Sustainability Reporting: Not Just for Optics
Sustainability reporting is often done for external reasons: Companies want to attract consumers, investors, and employees or need to comply with national/local legislation. However, sustainability reporting is extremely valuable for companies themselves. Because sustainability reporting lacks a unified standard, there are many different frameworks that ask different questions and require varying information from companies.
For example, when content marketing agency Grow Ensemble set out to get B Corp certified, they found that the B Impact Assessment “is set up to help every company find the information and tools they need to make…changes [to] their company…[The] Assessment was eye-opening as to our progress and informative as to our path forward.” This is the case with many sustainability reporting frameworks or certification assessments: They will show your company where it stands in relation to the standards or other companies participating.
That said, you should make it a priority to take your company’s sustainability data and use it to apply for sustainable certifications or participate in sustainability reporting. Even if you don’t qualify for a certification or get a low reporting score, the insights you will gain from the process will illuminate what your company needs to do to improve moving forward. If you are worried that your company will not perform well or are not sure how your company will perform but still want to take steps towards reporting, note that a handful of frameworks allow you to report and keep your responses to yourself for the first year if they are, say, lower than expected. This is called a “grace period” and is designed to allow a company to improve their practices and design a sustainability roadmap to improve on scoring the following year.
How WatchWire Can Help You Unlock Insights from Your Sustainability Data
WatchWire is a market-leading, energy and sustainability data management platform that uses cloud-based software to collect, automize, analyze, and audit utility, energy, and sustainability data metrics.
Regarding data auditing, WatchWire ensures accuracy by pulling data directly from the utility service provider. (If a client is manually extracting data from their invoices and entering it into a spreadsheet, there is more room for error). WatchWire’s connections to utilities through services like our preferred partner Urjanet allow for higher accuracy.
When it comes to analyzing data, WatchWire assists some clients by manually analyzing and presenting aspects of their data to them. For example, WatchWire analysists will assemble reports to help clients understand certain aspects of their sustainability. Please contact WatchWire to see if this service is available for your company.
In addition, WatchWire provides real-time data monitoring and measurement and verification of efficiency projects, so you can immediately know if your sustainability initiatives are performing well.
WatchWire also integrates with the following sustainability and benchmarking frameworks for seamless reporting:
- Energy Star Portfolio Manager
- Department of Energy’s Building Performance Database (BPD)
- Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (now known as GRESB)
- LEED Arc
- Arc Skoru
Note: WatchWire allows you to participate in voluntary reporting to any benchmarking service in the market not listed above.
Connect With WatchWire
To learn more about WatchWire, you can visit our website, blog, or resource library, request a demo, or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter to keep up-to-date on the latest energy and sustainability insights, news, and resources.