The rethink that reshapes the ESG Data Challenge

Think Evolve Solve is a Dublin data specialist that has built an extensive client base in the insurance sector with its award-winning Gather 360 data tool.

Thomas Russell, Sept 17, 2020

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Think Evolve Solve is a Dublin data specialist that has built an extensive client base in the insurance sector with its award-winning Gather 360 data tool.

In early 2019, we saw the opportunity to broaden Gather 360’s reach in the fast-growing area of ESG data management.

ESG data has become a critical component in the evaluation of a company’s performance, ranking alongside financial data in importance.

However, whilst ratings agencies are expanding, the disparity in risk/performance ratings and terminology has resulted in ESG data management becoming a tick-box exercise, mastered by an elite group of corporates. And, as large asset managers develop proprietary indices, smaller players are being squeezed out.

So, as ESG data requirements become more complex, particularly the ‘S’, the administrative and cost burden is felt most keenly by two key groups – small/mid-cap businesses and boutique asset managers.

These overheads leave small/mid-caps struggling to deliver the right ESG data, in the right format at the right time, missing out on positive ESG ratings, as well as ESG-linked equity/debt funding.

Many boutique asset managers are in a similar position, striving to access new revenue streams but struggling under the weight of; investor data demands; the volume of ESG market metrics; and possible accusations of greenwashing.

Amidst an ESG revolution, these two groups labour with the fundamental process of gathering and checking ESG data, formatting it for different user requirements, providing proven provenance and building a governance framework around it for transparency/auditing.

When our team evaluated their ESG data processes, we saw many trying to solve problems by focusing on the outputs - reports, benchmarks and metrics.

Our approach requires a more radical rethink, directing the focus further upstream, to redefine the data flow required to support delivery. Shifting focus in this way highlights two key bottlenecks

  • keyboard-arrow-right knowing what data to gather and from where
  • keyboard-arrow-right having the capability to gather it efficiently

It sounds simple, but in retracing steps to the origins of ESG data flow, we can leverage Gather 360 to address the key challenges at each stage of the data collection process, based on three key principles.

Gather 360 is based on three key principles.

  • Change how ESG data is requested and you change the quality of ESG data received.
  • Enable ESG data suppliers, internal and external, to test and correct the data before its provided and you slash the time and cost of checking and verifying.
  • Wrap these activities in easy to use smart, secure technology that orchestrates and governs the key activities and you enable the development of a high-quality data layer with data provenance embedded.

Today, business clients use our ESG apps running on Gather 360 to; tailor board reporting; provide accurate/timely data to stakeholders; access ESG-linked lending; prepare regulatory reporting; improve ESG ratings.

And boutique asset management clients now develop a consolidated view across their portfolios of the KPIs that demonstrate the ESG quality of their fund.

Gather 360 is designed for the business user, not the IT team, making it one of the most intuitive ESG data tools available today.

A free, fully supported trial account is available to help clients to understand the benefits and opportunities that Gather 360 offers. Click here to set up your trial account.

For more information on ESG data, join our Gather 360 e-seminar on ‘The ESG Data Quest’ on Thursday 8th October 2020, 14.00 Dublin.

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