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Sustainable Plant: the Need for Integrated Sustainability Performance Management Systems

SUSTAINABILITY LEADERS SAY TRACKING AND REPORTING SYSTEMS FALL SHORT

By Sustainable Plant Staff

Excerpts

Green Research, a New York-based corporate sustainability research and advisory firm, has released a study of the market for sustainability performance management systems – IT systems that help companies monitor, track and analyze environmental and sustainability data. These systems are crucial tools for large and medium companies that want to bring professional management standards to their sustainability programs. The study found that while sustainability executives at leading companies are broadly satisfied with the accuracy and completeness of the data in their current systems, those systems fall short in other ways. "Many sustainability leaders say it is too hard to get the data they need," says David Schatsky, principal analyst and founder of Green Research. "Companies need better integrated tools and more analytical firepower to help drive decisions." (…)

Environmental and sustainability data can originate from multiple sources – multiple facilities; multiple specialized applications that might capture data on water, waste, fuel, electricity and carbon emissions; and multiple processes (e.g. travel vs. manufacturing). "Companies invariably need to aggregate all of that data to obtain a holistic view of their environmental performance," Schatsky says, "But at most companies, the data is scattered across all of those sources and it is time-consuming and error-prone to pull it all together."

Both external and internal pressures are requiring them to do so, Schatsky says. "Tools that make it easier for them to integrate all that data into a consolidated view are what companies want and need."

A growing number of companies also are trying to present an integrated picture of their environmental and financial performance. Rather than publishing an annual report and a separate sustainability report, they want to present a single report with the whole picture. (…)

The study also finds that dissatisfaction by sustainability leaders with current systems, coupled with spending plans, equals opportunity for vendors in this crowded market, including companies such as (…) Enablon [among others].

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