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02 Aug 2023 - Technology - EnviroSys

What does great environmental data management look like?

You’re already managing your environmental data – there’s no question about that. But how often do you think to yourself, there must be a better way? You’re not alone if that thought crosses your mind on a regular basis.

Mandatory sustainability and ESG reporting on the horizon

According to KPMG, reporting regulations are evolving fast, and companies should expect to have mandatory reporting requirements imposed on them. Nearly all of the world’s 250 largest companies by revenue (96%) already report on sustainability or ESG.

While the scrutiny is great for the environment, it’s not always easy for environmental professionals to keep pace with the demand for information no matter how dedicated they are to their work. Meeting the challenges of environmental data management can be demanding. So what does great environmental data management look like?

A better way of managing your environmental data

If you’re not already using an environmental data management solution, software tools can help. First, you need to know what to look for in a solution. As complexity mounts, you can save untold hours – but not all software tools are equal. Here are three areas to explore if you want to benefit from an environmental data management solution that’s both powerful and practical to use. These will help you futureproof your reporting as introduce more stringent requirements to stay competitive in the global market

Environmental data input

Eliminate as much manual handling of data as possible. This includes developing customised processes to get your data into your environmental data management system. A philosophy of configuration over customisation will insulate your environmental data management against changes in operating systems and changes in regulatory requirements. Ideally, you want to be able to load data from any source, including:

  • Field data – both web application and offline mobile application
  • Analysis data
  • Observation data
  • Real-time data
  • Data from other systems.

Look for solutions that let you do this with no manual data management prior to data loading. In addition, automated feeds from labs and other analysts let you send results directly to your environmental data management solution with no additional  manual data handling.

Avoid tools that require you to perform actions outside of the system. An in-system management console allows you to remedy file load mapping issues. Your software should provide a flexible data mapping system to reduce or eliminate issues from multiple data providers who have different naming standards to your own.

EnviroSys has a data input console that manages these time-consuming issues for you while preventing the introduction of human errors during data handling. Check out the EnviroSys Data Input video for an example of how complexity can be simplified and quality improved.

Environmental data migration

Aim for an environmental data management solution that allows you to work as independently as possible without the ongoing need for consultants to perform implementations. The return on your investment grows exponentially when you have a standardised way to perform repeated data migrations.

Look for a vendor who can easily migrate data from other systems, including spreadsheets. Expect to be provided with templates to help migrate from multiple environmental data management system packages. Ask about the vendor’s implementation methodology and ensure it’s process driven and project managed carefully. Consistency is important for long-term success of environmental data management and reporting.

A focus on end-to-end environmental data management, from data capture and migration through to reporting is essential to ensure data integrity and quality for the long term. This should include built-in processes to analyse, cleanse, load, verify and catch-up. You should also expect to have a change management system in your solution to ensure old systems can be retired once you migrate.

Lastly, enquire about the availability of professional services to help migrate data from your existing environmental data management systems – and don’t forget to ask about support for spreadsheets. Getting expert help can speed up implementation and put you in control of all your environmental data in one place.

Environmental data output

Uncover how easy it is to integrate with and share data between systems. Avoid black box solutions but look for vendors who focus on connectivity. Ask specific questions about:

  • Ease of sharing data with other systems – Find software that gives you database access and APIs to other systems so you can send your data where needed. Ideally, there should be automation that allows you to schedule and publish data as needed.
  • Ease of sharing data with internal stakeholders – Look for software that allows you to share dashboards without needing additional user licencing. You should also be able to schedule reports to be sent to distribution lists.
  • Ease of sharing data with external stakeholders – Creating company-branded reports for external distribution adds professionalism to your efforts and signals you’re taking your reporting obligations seriously. You should also be able to produce extracts for data sharing, as and when needed, and in a number of formats.

Why every business needs a sophisticated environmental data management solution

Janine Guillot, Special Advisor to the Chairman of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB),  believes reliable ESG data is essential to running a modern business. She says, “the path to sustainability is paved with high-quality data.” That means environmental data has to be consistent over the long term to allow businesses to set targets and measure progress. Companies should be able to use their environmental data to benchmark and compete with other businesses, both in their own region and globally. Environmental data reporting is increasingly important to senior management, boards, shareholders and the public.

The only way you can do that is with an integrated environmental data management solution that removes complexity, protects data quality, and improves the ease of reporting and data sharing.

EnviroSys meets all the challenges of a modern environmental data management solution. To discover more about EnviroSys, head to our product page or contact our team to discuss your environmental data management requirements and challenges.

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