ESG Strategy: A Reporting Primer for CFOs

By providing regular, detailed Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reports, organizations can do much more than simply strengthen their public image. In fact, according to a study by KPMG, 68% of financial professionals surveyed responded that they saw ESG reporting as an opportunity to stand out against the competition and court new investors. But while more CFOs are looking to make ESG reporting a part of their regular responsibilities, some struggle with laying the groundwork for their reporting.

To that end, here are some tips for CFOs looking to establish their ESG reporting as well as a look at how Workday fits into your ESG strategy.

Tips for Creating ESG Reporting

If you understand the importance of ESG finance reporting and its growing relevance to shareholders, employees, clients, business partners, and the public at large but don’t know where to begin, then here are some tips for developing your ESG strategy:

  • Show how ESG initiatives help the organization’s bottom line. At times, ESG initiatives can be seen as just an additional expense – but the reality is that in-action can potentially cost the organization more. External data can be used to extrapolate the additional business cost of climate change and used to show the need for the organization to take action. In addition, by simply increasing efficiency in some areas, it is possible for organizations to reduce waste or have a positive environmental impact while also cutting costs.
  • Make data integrity a priority. Your ESG reporting is a reflection of the organization as a whole and can be important to investors, employees, potential employees, or customers. Reporting that is seen as inaccurate or misleading can tarnish your organization’s reputation. Having a central system of record can help ensure data is standardized and accurate. It is also important to regularly validate ESG data.
  • Ensure reporting is flexible and can easily be changed. The regulatory space around ESG reporting is constantly evolving, with disclosure requirements changing on a regular basis. Organizations need to be able to quickly and easily adjust their reporting to stay compliant with these requirements.
  • Whenever possible, try to visualize data. It can be hard to grasp the impact your ESG initiatives are making, especially when you are just seeing numbers without context. By visualizing data, CFOs can communicate the organization’s successes in a way that is more easily grasped by others.
  • Be a good storyteller. Your organization’s ESG efforts can be important to a variety of different groups, from your board or senior leadership to your customers or employees. While data is important to these groups, the story of your organization’s ESG journey is just as important, if not more so. Make sure to tell not just the story of your organization’s ESG journey but also how it fits into the larger organizational story.

How Workday Fits into Your ESG Strategy

Central to accurate, regular ESG reporting is a strong digital infrastructure, one that can break down silos and pulls data from across different solutions, creating a clear picture of your data. Workday provides that infrastructure, serving as the HR and finance foundation for your data. Other solutions can be integrated into Workday, allowing your organization to feed data from other solutions, such as Salesforce, into the cloud-based ERP solution where it can then be used to create ESG reports.

Here are some specific ways in which Workday can help CFOs to execute their ESG strategy:

  • Easily survey employees for info such as their commute distance to ascertain their carbon impact and report on it.
  • Workday centralizes ESG data and makes it easy to build robust ESG reporting, allowing organizations to see not just how well they are performing but where suppliers stand as well.
  • With Workday Adaptive Planning, organizations can develop models that show how well different carbon reduction strategies will get them to their ESG goals.
  • Workday makes it easy to build multiple ESG reports. This is especially advantageous to larger organizations that may by basing their reporting against different ESG frameworks, which is important given the lack of a standard, commonly accepted framework.
  • Workday Peakon gives organizations a real-time look at their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, allowing them to track and improve upon internal equity initiatives. Workday Peakon also makes it easy to see what employees think about the organization’s ESG efforts and how effective they are.

Need help developing ESG reporting for your upcoming or existing Workday system? Contact Collaborative Solutions today to learn how we can help.

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