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Marketing and Comms
Synergizing ESG Data Collection Improves Reporting, Performance

Nasdaq OneReport helps companies position themselves for current and future ESG-related work — whether regulatory or voluntary — to help align overall goals and outcomes across organizational departments and roles.

Whether a company has an embedded legacy in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting or is newly putting processes in place in response to consumer and market demands, one of the most common obstacles lies in the ongoing collection, organization and communication of that data.

“If we look through the corporate lens, there are several different pain areas when it comes to ESG reporting,” Randall Hopkins, Head of Nasdaq OneReport, told Sustainable Brands™.

Formal ESG data management and reporting is still in early stages for most companies. Often, it functions as an under-resourced side hustle, placed within a department not dedicated to sustainability or ESG. Consequently, ESG continuity is impacted by a revolving workforce that takes their institutional knowledge along with them to their next project opportunity.

Nasdaq OneReport aims to solve these challenges by bringing together all of a company’s pertinent ESG activities into one system. OneReport starts by cataloguing, de-duplicating and cross-referencing customers’ target frameworks, ratings, assessments, standards, and even custom metrics. From there, users can distribute the collection, validation and approval of the ESG data across their organization to meet the variety of their corporate responsibilities. Once collected, the OneReport platform helps clients distribute and disclose that data to the various stakeholders in the format, manner and timing appropriate for each. The platform includes a range of digital tools, trackers and processes to help companies collect data in a meaningful and organized way — addressing many of the operational demands of today’s evolving landscape.

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Both public and private companies will need to adapt to stakeholders’ ever-changing expectations for corporate responsibility data; having a centralized platform where all data live is a major asset in a world that is more competitive than ever.

Why ESG data hygiene matters

Hopkins noted that ESG data tends to get lost when handled via email and spreadsheets; a company is at risk of losing that institutional memory when the work itself is more of an employee side project rather than a full-time duty. Worse yet, lack of centralization exposes the company to risk management, auditability and credibility issues — especially when there can be different people delivering different ESG responses.

“This is a huge problem,” he said, “partially because this space is moving so fast; but it’s also nobody’s only job. Invariably, different people will be involved in next year’s assignments. This is about creating a collaborative space; so you can assign work and have confidence in the integrity of processes and efficiently execute on your strategy, year after year.”

According to Hopkins, the average number of employees contributing to OneReport for a given company is 38; so, it’s easy to understand why process structure matters. There’s plenty of opportunity for inefficiency when that many people are involved; creating a central, adaptable submission point can be a massive win for a company.

With data hygiene comes questions about security. In bringing OneReport under Nasdaq’s industry-leading infosec and cybersecurity standards, encryption, SOC2 and ongoing penetration tests ensure the security of this vital data.

Planning for potential regulatory changes

Earlier this year, the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) put out a request for public input on potential regulatory filing changes around climate change and a public company’s involvement in planet-positive practices.

While the input is still being evaluated, it does signal a potential forthcoming action for public companies to file certain ESG data with the SEC. Companies who don’t have their ESG data organized and ready for submission will find themselves far behind should the SEC make this rule change, which seems less a matter of “if” and more “when.”

“With our unique position at the intersection of corporates and investors — and our adjacency to the SEC — OneReport has the ability to evolve simultaneously with these changes, which we can integrate, inventory, cross-reference and de-duplicate as they happen.” Hopkins said.

Setting the tone for strategy

Getting companies into this more forward-thinking thought process can only serve to help the bottom line, especially at the rapid pace of change in how businesses interact with climate-related regulations.

Streamlining the process for a company of any size is central to Hopkins’ mission.

“Our North Star is helping companies, investors and third-parties to communicate effectively, efficiently and strategically,” Hopkins explained. “The goal is to get more time focused on achieving targeted outcomes, and less time spent on data chasing.”

At its core, Nasdaq OneReport helps companies position themselves for current and future ESG-related work — whether regulatory or voluntary — to help align overall goals and outcomes across organizational departments and roles.