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Sustainability 360 looks to ease ESG data reporting

Deloitte partners with Salesforce and AT&T on Sustainability 360 for ESG data management that's built on Salesforce Net Zero Cloud to help companies meet increasing regulations.

Deloitte Digital is collaborating with Salesforce and AT&T to provide an offering designed to make collecting and managing environmental, social and corporate governance data easier.

Sustainability 360 is built on the Salesforce Net Zero Cloud platform, with Deloitte-created modules for ESG requirements such as regulatory compliance, performance improvement, stakeholder and supplier management, and B2B integration. It's available now for Net Zero Cloud licensed users at no additional charge.

Sustainability 360 is designed to help companies deal with increasing ESG regulations and reporting requirements. It consists of software and services that enable customers to manage phases of a sustainability initiative, according to Luis Galito, principal and Sustainability 360 and Net Zero Cloud leader at Deloitte.

The starting point for a successful ESG initiative is effective data management, Galito said.

"If you want to do regulatory reporting, compliance, ESG performance monitoring or start working to improve your ESG brand and reputation, the first thing that you need to get right is ESG data management," he said.

Many sources of ESG data

The offering can take data from relevant sources for ESG reporting, including ERP systems, Galito said. But most companies have ESG data across other systems as well.

The biggest challenge with ESG data is, unlike most other systems for things like financial reporting, the data is not just in one place.
Luis GalitoPrincipal and Sustainability 360 and Net Zero Cloud leader, Deloitte

"The biggest challenge with ESG data is, unlike most other systems for things like financial reporting, the data is not just in one place," he said. "You have to go to ERP, but also to your procure-to-pay, and in a lot of cases, the ESG data resides in spreadsheets across the enterprise."

One of the key capabilities is a regulatory sensing feature that lets customers know the changing list of regulations and if they apply to the company, based on criteria such as size, location, and type of products or services.

"This is important because these regulations are changing so often," Galito said. "[Sustainability 360] can do this periodically -- every quarter, twice a year or once a year -- so customers don't have to every year figure out what new data they need to go after for compliance reporting."

Sustainability 360 has a collaboration with AT&T that integrates IoT and 5G technology to help organizations gather and manage data for scope 1 emissions generated in the companies' own facilities and vehicle fleets.

"[The integration] with AT&T is that there are IoT sensors in facilities -- on equipment, machinery, vehicles -- to get the data almost in real time and at a more granular level that allows you to identify things like an underperforming asset and be able to take immediate actions," Galito said.

Increasing need for ESG data management tools

Gathering and managing ESG data is an increasingly important task for organizations, driving the need for tools such as Salesforce Net Zero Cloud and Deloitte Sustainability 360, according to analysts.

This adds to a growing market of ESG data reporting tools that include offerings from large enterprise software vendors, such as SAP Sustainability Control Tower and IBM Envizi, as well as from independent software vendors, including Workiva, Novata, Intelex, Novisto and Diligent.

Deloitte Sustainability 360 is going after a similar market as SAP Sustainability Control Tower by aiming to simplify a complex undertaking for large enterprises or across partnerships within an ecosystem, said Craig Wentworth, an analyst at TechMarketView.

"SAP has a built-in advantage because their core product is already woven into the very operational and financial fabric of their customer," Wentworth said. "They're already in a place where a lot of the action is and where the data starts to mean something about how a business functions, helping it understand the implications of any climate-conscious action."

Sustainability 360 needs to rely on the quality of its integrations, its data collection engine and the regulatory sensing capability to differentiate itself, he said. Integrating AT&T's IoT sensor technology helps organizations track their emissions in a more accurate and granular way, he added.

"It's a neat combo, which helps get more actual and accurate data into the system," Wentworth said.

Sustainability 360 is a unique partnership between three parties, but one where the telecom service provider makes a difference, according to Nitish Mittal, partner and technology practice leader at Everest Group.

"The role AT&T can play here is crucial," Mittal said. "Through its telecom and IoT capabilities, it can help enable more real-time collection of data, since much of the emission data can be in the field, like assets in a factory or out in the service operations."

But it's still early in the game, and it will be interesting to see how Sustainability 360 scales for ESG tracking and integrates with existing ESG tools that many organizations are already using, he said.

"The last thing they want to do is add more complexity in the tech and data tools that they use," Mittal said.

Jim O'Donnell is a senior news writer who covers ERP and other enterprise applications for TechTarget Editorial.

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