November 30, 2022

Automating ESG Reporting: What Microsoft Sustainability Manager and Cloud for Sustainability Have to Offer

Scott Gosling
National Practice Manager - Microsoft at Data#3
If, like Data#3, your organisation has already ventured into environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, you’ll know that it can be a complex and challenging task. While it might not be a mandatory requirement in Australia – yet – there are plenty of reasons to get the process underway today. More often than not, gathering information for ESG reporting has involved creating endless spreadsheets and sourcing data from wherever possible, before undertaking the often-frustrating task of making sense of it all.

If this sounds familiar, you might be happy to know that Microsoft has developed a set of solutions that takes away much of the manual effort needed: Cloud for Sustainability and Microsoft Sustainability Manager.

If a process involves data it can inevitably be streamlined with the right technology, and that is also the case with ESG reporting. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is designed to make hunting down data and turning it into actionable insights simpler, and far less resource intensive, leaving more time in your day to work towards achieving those sustainability goals. It allows you to collect, track and analyse strategic metrics that help you to identify the impact of individual and overall sustainability efforts.

By unifying data intelligence from every corner of the business, Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability gives much-needed visibility so that ESG reporting is based on a more accurate understanding of your whole operational picture. This data is then analysed to identify ways to make your IT environment more sustainable, and to reduce the environmental impact of your business operations. In short, Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability replaces educated guesswork with data-driven understanding.

If your organisation is invested in measuring and tracking environmental impact, it stands to reason that this extends across your supply chain. As an example, Data#3’s Sustainability Report explains that we pay particular attention to the partnerships we forge, from sourcing products and services to distribution as it also impacts our environmental efforts. The reality is, even if companies reduce their direct emissions, for example, it is of no benefit if they instead use a partner that pays little heed to their own impact. Information like this can all be measured and tracked with Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability and can also provide a solid basis for conversations with new and existing suppliers.

Introducing Microsoft Sustainability Manager

Within Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability lies Microsoft Sustainability Manager, a platform that allows organisations to collect and centralise data to make it easier to report in a more meaningful way. Not surprisingly for Microsoft, the automation of manual processes is a highlight. Microsoft Sustainability Manager can be integrated with any business system, automates data connections and calculations and applies a Cloud for Sustainability data model. In other words, it takes all that siloed data and gives clear, unambiguous insights in return. Using Azure and Power Platform tools, you can also customise formulas and reports, so that you can get visibility into your choice of granular measures in near real time, instead of waiting for annual figures.

The timeliness and granularity are a big help. Within Data#3’s own workforce, environmental initiatives are a frequent theme of employee suggestions. The programs we have introduced are many and diverse, from energy efficient lights to recycling printer cartridges. It has, though, been sometimes challenging to get a true picture. Microsoft Sustainability Manager makes it possible for businesses to explore their data by location, date, and various measures to pinpoint where their efforts will have the greatest return.

Want to know more?

Time to ditch the spreadsheets and embrace a more efficient and accurate method of ESG reporting. As Microsoft’s largest Australian partner with decades of experience working with complex data systems, Data#3 is ready to help you get to grips with measuring and reducing your environmental footprint.

The best way to see how much difference Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability and Microsoft Sustainability Manager can make is to explore it for yourself. To sign up for a free demo and to be alerted of future trial availability, fill out the form below and a member of our expert team will be in touch.

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs in this series on sustainability and Microsoft (or click here to be the first to know when a new update is released):

  1. Beyond Net Zero: The Bold Microsoft Negative Emissions Plan
  2. Devices and green credentials: does Microsoft stand up to the test?

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