Data platforms deliver sustainable business models

Data driven ESG strategy: A single source of the truth cuts emissions and costs

To make a business more sustainable, organisations will have to make a series of improvements to energy usage, products, resources, and service delivery. Businesses, therefore, need a platform that allows them to see across the organisation, identifying where sustainability improvements can be made, where the business is performing well and possible risks. A platform view of sustainability in the business is driven by data, and the Tableau platform is already enabling major organisations to act and improve sustainability. 

How a data driven ESG strategy underpins business success

Sustainability is not a compliance burden to organisations; it is about to become the corporate DNA of successful businesses. Those who don't adapt and reduce their environmental impact will struggle to attract investment, talent and sales. The CEO of investors BlackRock is encouraging its portfolio of companies to "contribute to society." BlackRock is the world's largest investment business, and these expectations have to be taken seriously. 

With 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases being added to the atmosphere every year and 2022 being marked by catastrophic floods in Asia, wildfires in California and a long drought in Europe, the bottom line of businesses are being impacted by the climate emergency. Therefore, a solid environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy creates business value, as it improves every operational aspect of a business. 

Environmental regulations and KPIs

In addition, businesses require a platform approach to sustainability to meet an increasing number of regulations. The European Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) requires large companies to report on their social and environmental management. Businesses trading in the 27-country region will have to adhere to CSRD and be able to deliver data that proves they are complying. Medium-sized organisations will also need to disclose ESG data in order to meet regulations and the requirements of large clients that are bound by CSRD. There are also specific regulations for the financial services sector, the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

Understanding and dealing with emissions is classified into three categories, which a platform will depict and enable the business to manage. These scopes are defined as part of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the world's most widely-used greenhouse gas accounting standard. The World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development developed this protocol. 

Scope 1 is direct emissions, in effect, the emissions within the confines of the enterprise building. Scope 2 is indirect emissions from the energy the business acquires from an electricity generator, for example. Scope 3 is indirect emissions from the supply chain, which covers everything from logistics companies to outsourced and cloud technology services. 


GHC protocol
According to the GHG protocol, a company's GHG emissions can be classified into three categories.

Dealing with the three scopes is also vital for businesses that have a Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) strategy. 

The role of data in driving a successful ESG strategy

Across a business, there is data on energy and water usage, waste management and insights into the workforce. This data reveals the sustainability performance of the business. Regulations, such as CSRD, require businesses to have sustainability data that is of the same timeliness and quality as financial data. 

As with financial data, good sustainability data, delivered on a platform that enables analysis and ease of use, will inform and empower the organisation to ask itself critical questions. This will lead to an ability to form a sustainability action plan that can be targeted right down to the office building, a trading region, and even an individual product level. 

How Henkel uses weather data

Leading businesses are already using data platforms to improve their sustainability and cut costs. Energy savings of €4 million have been identified by Henkel, one of the world's leading chemical and consumer goods companies. The consolidation of supply chain data into a Tableau platform created data visibility. A single source of data collates information from Dremio, Excel and Oracle sources. Dr Johannes Holtbruegge, Senior Manager Digital Transformation at Henkel Laundry & Home Care says: "We've also been able to reduce energy consumption across our Laundry & Home Care global supply chain by 20% and improve the efficiency of our factories by over 10%"

A significant saving was achieved by identifying that producing washing detergent is energy-intensive. The spray towers that create detergent powder flakes are sensitive to changes in the weather, especially humidity and temperature. 

"Using Tableau, we were able to correlate local weather data against our tower operating schedule, ensuring production was maximised at times when the atmospheric conditions were optimal. Doing so has helped to boost production energy efficiency by as much as 5%," Dr Holtbruegge says.

"All our factories around the world can now see each other's energy usage and power data in Tableau, which has created healthy competition between them over who can be the most energy-efficient."

A platform for sustainability and a wider data driven ESG strategy

As Henkel demonstrates, creating a single source of the truth on a data platform enables businesses to improve their sustainability and improve cost efficiencies. In the automotive sector, one Tableau customer has been able to see and identify which battery products last longer and are, therefore, more sustainable. An innovation that benefits the customer, the planet and the business. 

The Tableau platform enables businesses to connect data sources to project management, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), HR, marketing data and financial tools. This ensures a full picture of how to be more sustainable. Decision makers are then able to understand, as the Henkel factory managers do, how they are performing and where improvements can be made. Ask Data, for example, which let users type a question in common language and instantly get a response right in Tableau, provides the business with the data to understand its monthly energy usage and explore how to make a difference. When connected to sensors across the office or factory operation, businesses can analyse the usage of a building by light or power point usage and instantly discover opportunities for sustainability improvements. 

ESG impact
This example shows an ESG management dashboard to provide an holistic view of all ESG related data (internal & external)

This level of data is vital to discovering discrepancies in the operations of the business, which shareholders or regulators may pick up on. Data ensures no opportunities are missed, which can have a knock-on effect on the business, such as failure to comply and lost public trust. 

It's time to take climate action

A data platform approach to sustainability and ESG strategy enables a business to not only comply with sustainability regulatory requirements but to optimise its operations. Whether to improve productivity or by establishing a Data Mesh architecture, Tableau enables everyone to connect to their data. In addition, businesses can use sustainability data to empower their negotiations with energy and water suppliers to improve their sustainability. In collaboration, businesses and suppliers can improve one another's efficiencies. 

Sustainability is not a compliance burden; with a data platform approach, sustainability is good business and a wealth of opportunities. 

Take your ESG journey to the next level with Tableau Accelerators, the ready-to-use dashboards that you can combine with your data and customise to fit your needs to help you get to data-driven insights faster.