As more governments around the world like the USA, Canada, and the EU have begun implementing mandatory climate disclosures, there has been a steady increase in the demand for technology solutions to monitor and report an organization’s environmental impacts. One of these technology solutions is environmental reporting software.
In this blog, we deep dive into what environmental reporting software is, how it benefits businesses, some of its key features, and how it contributes to sustainability programs.
What is Environmental Reporting?
Environmental reporting is the process of collecting, monitoring, and analyzing data on an organization’s environmental impacts and disclosing that information to stakeholders, government agencies, and other interested parties. This can include information on:
- GHG emissions
- Waste management
- Water usage
- Energy efficiency
- Climate change
- Air and water quality
The purpose of environmental reporting is to promote transparency and accountability and to encourage organizations to take steps to reduce their environmental impact. By collecting and reporting environmental data, organizations can take the first step toward making their operations more sustainable and environmentally friendly by providing them with a starting point for their sustainability journey.
Environmental reporting can also help stakeholders make informed decisions about the organizations they support or do business with. Making environmental data readily available to stakeholders demonstrates an organization’s commitment to sharing and achieving its sustainability goals.
As mentioned above, environmental reporting is increasingly mandatory in different jurisdictions as a means of holding businesses accountable for their impacts on the environment. It also means more organizations will need to start collecting and accurately reporting their environmental data immediately.
What is Environmental Reporting Software?
Environmental reporting software is a tool that helps organizations collect, manage, and analyze their environmental data. It allows companies to track their environmental performance, comply with regulations, and communicate their sustainability efforts to stakeholders.
Environmental reporting software can monitor various environmental indicators such as air quality, water usage, waste generation, carbon emissions, and more. It can also generate reports and visualizations to help decision-makers and stakeholders understand the data and make informed choices about sustainability initiatives and the company overall.
Some environmental reporting software can also help automate manual processes like data collection, emissions calculations, progress tracking, and more with built-in APIs, emission factor libraries, dynamic communication tools, and much more.
Who Uses Environmental Reporting Software?
Organizations of every size and in every geography and industry use software to track environmental data for their company including:
- Agriculture and food production
- Automotive manufacturing
- Consumer goods
- Engineering and construction
- Finance and investment
- Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
- Oil and gas
- Transportation and shipping
How Environmental Reporting Software Can Benefit Your Business
Implementing environmental reporting software can bring multiple benefits to your business. It allows you to easily track, manage, and report on your environmental performance, ensuring compliance with regulations and reducing the risk of penalties or legal issues. This is becoming increasingly important as more governments around the world implement mandatory climate-related reporting requirements. With access to all your environmental data on one solution, your organization can more easily ensure you’re complying with all necessary regulations or standards.
Environmental reporting software also enables you to identify areas where you can improve your environmental impact, leading to cost savings and increased efficiency. Additionally, it can also help identify patterns and trends in the data, allowing for more informed decision-making and targeted improvements.
Environmental reporting software streamlines the process of collecting and organizing environmental data from across an organization’s different departments and various offices, factories, and other facilities, making it more efficient and accurate. This in turn saves time and resources for organizations. Having environmental information readily available in one centralized platform allows your sustainability team, employees, and stakeholders to easily access this information when compiling sustainability reports for different reporting frameworks, standards, and regulations, evaluating progress toward environmental-related goals, and more.
Environmental reporting software can also provide transparency and accountability by making environmental data easily accessible to stakeholders, such as investors and customers, who are increasingly demanding sustainability information. It can also improve accuracy and auditability because every calculation, change made, data point, and more are all tracked and recorded in the system. This can also help boost your reputation as a socially responsible business, which in turn attracts customers, employees, and investors who prioritize sustainability.
The Importance of Environmental Reporting for Businesses
There are many reasons why environmental reporting is important for businesses but one of the biggest is the need to meet regulatory compliance. With more governments around the world prioritizing and mandating environmental disclosures for businesses it has been critical for businesses to devote resources to ensuring compliance with these regulations to avoid possible financial repercussions.
As mentioned above, environmental reporting is also crucial for businesses because it provides transparency and accountability to stakeholders regarding the environmental impact of the company’s operations. By disclosing information about their environmental performance, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and can build trust with their customers, investors, and the communities they operate in.
Environmental reporting can also help businesses identify opportunities for improvement, reduce environmental risks, and comply with regulatory requirements. Additionally, it can enhance the reputation of the business and improve its competitive advantage in the market. Overall, environmental reporting is essential for businesses that want to operate legally, responsibly, and sustainably.
Key Features of Environmental Reporting Software
Environmental reporting software typically includes a range of features to assist users in tracking, managing, and reporting environmental data. Some common features include:
- Data Collection and Management: The ability to collect and store data from various sources, such as APIs, surveys, file uploads, or manual inputs.
- Voluntary Reporting: Many programs also include tools for generating reports to help users communicate their findings to stakeholders.
- Compliance Reporting: Built-in capabilities to ensure compliance with existing regulations like the US Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
- Data Analytics: Analyzes environmental data to identify trends and patterns, and tracks data sources and data points for auditability.
Overall, the goal of environmental reporting software is to provide organizations with the tools they need to make informed decisions about their environmental impact and to communicate that impact to others.
Other Types of Environmental Reporting Software
Environmental reporting software isn’t the only type of software that helps organizations to manage their environmental impact reporting. Below are a few examples of other types of software that also have environmental reporting capabilities.
Carbon Accounting Software or Carbon Emissions Management Software
Carbon accounting software or carbon emissions management software aids organizations in calculating and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by compiling operational data like fuel combustion for operations, process, or comfort heat, as well as other sources of GHG emissions such as those in their supply chain or from their portfolio. This type of software only handles GHG emissions and doesn’t manage other environmental factors.
ESG Reporting Software
ESG reporting software is a solution that helps streamline ESG data collection and calculate impacts through the various metrics included in ESG standards and frameworks. ESG software includes a whole host of elements under the umbrellas of environment, social, and governance.
The environmental component of ESG reporting includes carbon emissions, in addition to things like waste management and water stewardship. While the social aspect covers concerns like DEI, human rights, community relations, and other social factors. The governance component includes tracking metrics like executive compensation, auditing procedures, and more. ESG reporting software is overall a more comprehensive solution than standard environmental reporting software.
Sustainability software combines the best of environmental reporting software and ESG software to allow organizations to monitor, manage, and evaluate their various impacts through operational data obtained from their business operations. It enables an organization to manage its entire sustainability program, not just carbon emissions. Like ESG software, sustainability software is a more comprehensive solution that enables organizations to go beyond environmental reporting to tracking, managing, and reporting all their sustainability efforts and progress.
Factors like an organization’s goals, resources, and budget, determine which of the above-mentioned solutions will be the best fit for their organization. The goal when selecting a technology solution is to ensure that it makes reporting easier for your organization with a simple, and easy-to-use interface that supports your program and empowers its users, across your organization.
Environmental Reporting’s Role in Sustainability
There’s a lot of talk about sustainability these days, and for some, environmental reporting and sustainability reporting are one and the same. Despite being an important element of sustainability programs, environmental impacts are only one part of sustainability. As important as tracking, reporting, and reducing an organization’s environmental impacts is, it can be equally material to an organization to address other aspects of sustainability such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and organizational governance.
Organizations need to embrace environmental reporting as part of their overall sustainability strategy but also not let it take all the focus of these programs. A balanced approach is necessary for organizations to work toward having truly sustainable, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible operations that go beyond general compliance and instead position them as sustainability leaders. The FigBytes Sustainability Platform helps future-focused organizations manage all aspects of their sustainability programs, including environmental, social, and governance reporting and beyond, on one secure, centralized, and cloud-based platform. To find out more about how you can use FigBytes to meet your environmental reporting and sustainability needs, speak with one of our experts today.