Addressing ESG data gaps: 4 things you can do today

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are increasingly recognized as key considerations for investors, as they seek to invest in companies that are sustainable and responsible. However, one major challenge facing the ESG investing and institutional landscape is the data gap, which refers to the lack of consistent, reliable, and comparable data on ESG factors across companies and industries. The challenges of ESG data gaps is something that is raised time and time again at that sustainable finance conferences we attend, and always the key message is this: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. 

Addressing this data gap is crucial for investors to make informed decisions and for companies to improve their sustainability practices. So what steps can be taken?

Greater standardization

One way to address ESG data gaps is through greater standardization. Currently, there is a lack of consistent and comparable ESG data across companies, making it difficult for investors to compare performance and for companies to benchmark themselves against peers. By developing standardized metrics and reporting frameworks, companies can provide investors with more reliable and consistent data, allowing for better comparability and analysis. This could include the development of industry-specific ESG standards, such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) framework, which provides industry-specific sustainability accounting standards.

Improved transparency

Another way to address the ESG data gap is through increased transparency. Companies can improve their reporting practices by providing more detailed and comprehensive disclosures on their ESG performance, including data on their carbon emissions, diversity and inclusion policies, and supply chain management. This can be supported by third-party verification and auditing, which can help to enhance the credibility and accuracy of ESG data.

Greater collaboration

In addition to these initiatives, there is a need for greater collaboration between investors, companies, and regulators to address the ESG data gap. This can include the development of industry-wide initiatives, such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which provides a framework for companies to disclose climate-related risks and opportunities. There is also a need for greater engagement between investors and companies on ESG issues, which can help to identify areas for improvement and drive positive change.

Invest in technology

At Permutable, we know that artificial intelligence has the potential to play a key role in solving the missing ESG data gap problem. One major challenge with ESG data is the lack of consistent and comparable data across companies and industries, making it difficult for investors to make informed decisions. AI can help to address this challenge by analyzing and interpreting large amounts of data from multiple sources, including public disclosures, news articles, social media, and other unstructured data sources.

Using natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms, AI can analyze ESG data to identify trends, patterns, and insights that might otherwise be missed. For example, AI can analyze company disclosures to identify specific ESG metrics, such as carbon emissions or employee diversity, and compare them to industry benchmarks. This can help investors to make more informed decisions and identify potential risks and opportunities.

AI can also help to identify emerging ESG issues that are not yet captured by existing reporting frameworks. By analyzing news articles and social media posts, AI can identify emerging ESG issues that are not yet captured by traditional reporting frameworks. This can help companies to proactively address emerging ESG risks and opportunities, and help investors to stay ahead of the curve.

Another benefit of AI is its ability to provide real-time insights into ESG data which is at the core of our ESG analytics offering. Traditional ESG reporting frameworks typically provide annual or quarterly data, which can quickly become outdated. Through the use of AI, we are able to provide real-time insights into ESG data, allowing investors and companies to stay up-to-date on emerging risks and opportunities.

Finally, AI can also help to improve the accuracy and reliability of ESG data. By analyzing multiple data sources and identifying potential errors or inconsistencies, AI can help to ensure that ESG data is accurate and reliable. This can help to improve the credibility of ESG data and increase investor confidence in a matter of hours. Something that would otherwise take a huge mechanical turk and number of man hours to complete.

In conclusion, addressing the ESG data gap is crucial for investors and companies alike. By promoting standardization, transparency, collaboration, and the use of technology, we can improve the quality and reliability of ESG data, enabling more informed decision-making and driving positive change towards a more sustainable future.

Get in touch to find out how our real-time ESG data can help address ESG data gaps