If that data isn’t high quality, how are you going to know that the picture it paints of your business is accurate, and not missing crucial details or portraying a false ‘image’ of your business’ ESG status?
Put it this way: that data picture could present an environmentally conscious organisation with great ESG credentials, while just out of sight, one of your products or services is generating huge amounts of pollution or waste. Thanks to missing or inaccurate data, it’s invisible to you – but it may not stay invisible forever.
Over the last ten years, many high-profile businesses have fallen foul of ESG related issues, thanks in part to either a lack of data, or poor-quality data. From the use of child labour in factories and unsafe work practices, to unclear provenance of raw materials (like the horse meat scandal), missing or inaccurate data has created a headache for organisations looking to address their ESG.
Where did you get those jeans? An ESG data story.
As an example, let’s take a seemingly innocuous product like stonewash denim. A fashion retailer buys stonewashed material from a supplier to manufacture their jeans. They consider themselves an ethical company, and it’s a key selling point to their investors and their consumers. They use only ethical factories and ensure that their clothing has a long life and can be recycled. It’s all in the data.
Except that it’s not.
The data they have backs up their data credentials, but it’s the data that’s missing that is hiding a secret. The stonewash fabric they import is made with damaging techniques and chemicals that are harming the environment and the people involved in production. But they don’t know – because the data doesn’t tell them.
Now let’s say the supplier of the unethical stonewash is exposed by the press. How quickly can the fashion retailer assess their supply chain, identify the products involved, and quickly cut the supplier and replace with a more ethical alternative? They don’t know, because the data doesn’t tell them.