3 Steps to Improving your Sustainability Data Collection, Analysis

A recent report published in the MIT Sloan Management Review indicated just how far sustainability has come over the last few years. In the report, seven out of ten surveyed executives noted that sustainability has become a permanent goal on the corporate agenda. Additionally, two-thirds believed that corporate sustainability was necessary to being competitive in today’s landscape.

Being competitive requires companies to benchmark goals for sustainability that set the business to positively impact the Triple Bottom Line (people, planet and profit). However, David Schatsky of Green Research, writes that all sustainability goals aren’t created equal:

“Aggressive goals are more powerful than modest goals. Public goals have greater impact than internal goals. Quantitative goals are more credible than non-quantitative goals. And goals for the future send a signal that goals described in retrospect do not.”

Leaders should do the following to ensure that sustainability programs are aggressive and actionable:

(1) Automate data collection to improve accuracy, reduce labor hours
Taking data from enterprise software systems (e.g., ERP software, SCM software, CRM software) allows businesses to have a more accurate, real-time data stream of its activities. By doing so, they can also eliminate human error and reduce the amount of labor required to manually log the activities of individual warehouses, manufacturing facilities, sales offices, etc.

(2) Improve analysis with business intelligence applications
Businesses should also look to invest in Business Intelligence (BI) tools to improve the speed, accuracy, and breadth of analysis around sustainability projects. Analysts can use these applications to find “sustainability leaks”, or areas where efficiency is not being obtained for unforeseen reasons. In addition, these applications can package information in a visual manner that executives can digest quickly and easily.

(3) Build sustainability teams around data-minded leaders
Finally, for sustainability teams–and businesses–to become more accountable, they will have to build leadership around employees that are data-minded and can get the most “bang for the buck,” as many of these programs are underfunded (and underappreciated).
For more on this topic, you can check out the SoftwareAdvice.com (website) blog post: Data Collection + Business Intelligence = Successful Sustainability Initiatives.

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