Using ESG data for easier management of your CSR strategy

Bastien Halary
DateOctober 7, 2021

Environmental regulations are increasingly stringent, and today’s stakeholders – investors, customers, employees – have high standards for transparency. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to fully integrate ESG* criteria into your corporate policy. Here, Deepki shares some tips on ESG data collection and how it can simplify your CSR** strategy.

Building an ESG strategy into your business has become a no-brainer, allowing you to:

  • Provide more transparency to the market, through reporting
  • Engage your stakeholders more easily, by proving your commitments
  • Comply with existing environmental laws, like the tertiary decree

New challenges for CSR departments

CSR departments are faced with a 2-fold challenge: increasingly strict environmental regulations, coupled with growing stakeholder demands. This means it’s essential to focus on regulatory compliance and the extra-financial performance of your assets, through voluntary initiatives like the GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark).

Environmental performance: 4 regulatory requirements CSR departments should know about

  • Greenhouse gas emissions report (BEGES) – Article 75 – Grenelle II Act
  • Environmental appendix & green lease committee – Article 8 – Grenelle II Act
  • Energy performance requirements for the tertiary sector – Article 55 – ELAN law
  • Requirement for extra-financial reporting – Article 225 – Grenelle II Act

6 voluntary initiatives evaluating extra-financial performance

Portfolio level:

  • Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmarking (GRESB)
  • Green Building Observatory (OID)
  • Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)

Building level:

  • HQE (high environmental quality) certification
  • Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

The requirements and initiatives that all CSR departments should know about

At the same time, reporting information to CSR departments is complicated by various factors:

  • The process relies on numerous stakeholders, both internal and external to the company (technical, financial, works, property managers, facility managers, tenants, etc.).
  • The different types of information reported are not equally reliable.

For best results then, the deployment of your CSR strategy should be organized in three stages:

1.         Collecting ESG data

2.         Analyzing ESG data

3.         Developing a concrete action plan

But the first step alone can often be daunting, hindered by multiple obstacles:

– You don’t know who holds the information, or where to find it.

– Data collection is complicated by the number of stakeholders involved.

– Data collection demands excessive time and effort in terms of e-mails, follow-up, etc.

6 questions to ask yourself before collecting ESG data

1.         What information do I need for my purposes? Once you’ve clearly defined your objectives, figure out what information you need to achieve them. For example, if your goal is compliance with the tertiary decree, you’ll need to collect consumption and asset data first. For responding to the GRESB, it’s environmental data you’ll be after.

2.         Where can this information be found? Once you’ve established what data to collect, knowing where to get it is crucial. For energy data, there are several possible sources: distributors, suppliers, your internally stored data, etc.

3.         Am I allowed to collect this data? Some information, like your tenants’ consumption data, is personal and confidential – meaning you can’t collect it without their prior consent. The easiest way to determine data ownership is to find out who pays the bill.

Also read: Property owners: collecting data on private areas, why is it complicated?

4.         What collection method is most suited to my needs? Data can be collected automatically or manually. Automated collection may be more advantageous for some types of data, but it requires time (and often a significant investment) to develop. In other cases, manual collection may be best – for example, gathering environmental certifications for your buildings.

5.         Is my data complete? Incomplete data impairs your analysis capabilities, impeding a sound decision-making process. In the case of missing information, data repopulation can be used to fill in the gaps.

Also read: Data collection: why 100% data access is a target, but a hard target to reach?

6.         Is my data reliable? You’ll also need to regularly check the quality of your data, in order to avoid flawed analyses. Is the data consistent? Are there discrepancies or entry errors?

Also read: Data collection: going for a pragmatic approach

Collecting ESG data is the key to your environmental reporting and a clear analysis of your CSR strategy. To learn more, check out our webinar “Use your ESG data: from reporting to steering your CSR strategy”:

*Environmental, Social and Governance
**Corporate Social Responsibility