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Data can help improve sustainable development

Sustainability data can be processed like financial data. In many companies this is not yet done – even though the law will soon require sustainability reporting even from medium-sized companies.


The metrics that verify the responsibility and sustainable development of companies are often complex and difficult to measure. Tietoevry has first-hand experience with the difficulty of responsibility reporting when two companies merge. The information that needed to be retrieved from different sources required countless Excel tables, and when all the work steps were added together, the project took 5,000 working hours.

Peter Mankenskiöld, Sustainability Data Hub service owner, felt that a better way to process data had to be found.

Until then, reporting had been developed from the point of view of data collection or the report itself. A real-time status view was missing. Nowadays, with the help of the Sustainability Data Hub service developed by Tietoevry, the vast majority of the data collection processes verifying sustainable development can be automated, and the monitoring of development can thus be changed from annual or quarterly to continuous and real-time.

Companies are now required to react faster

Mankenskiöld says that practically all large companies have to report on the progress of their responsibility program to their stakeholders every year. And year by year, calculating these variables becomes more complicated and requires greater accuracy due to the evolving regulation.

The benefits and added value of the Sustainability Data Hub were clear from the start, as the sustainability goals are no longer based only on the operators’ will but also on the stricter requirements of EU legislation, which aim to ensure the sustainable operation of companies. The requirements will also apply to medium-sized companies in the near future, so the need to facilitate reporting will increase even more.

– The biggest challenge in measuring sustainability is currently the fact that, unlike financial indicators that live all year round, responsibility indicators are only reviewed once a year or once a quarter. The companies, therefore, do not have the opportunity to react to the problems that appear and do not use the data to predict future developments because digging up the information is slow and arduous. If financial data were collected in the same way, everyone would think it was madness, so why would sustainability data be any different, asks Mankenskiöld.

Traditionally, questions such as the amount of electricity and water used – among many other factors – are only brought up at the end of the accounting period. They are studied by creating reports and calculating numbers from the past, which can no longer be influenced during the reporting phase.

Sustainability Data Hub’s operation is based on automating long-term sustainability metrics and data collection. This enables continuous up-to-date monitoring of the situation and allows reacting to deviations quickly.

– Instead of having our numerous responsible persons manually filling out forms based on data from different sources for our sustainability reporting, we built a solution that collects that information from specified sources automatically, including, for example, calculation formulas for so-called Scope 3 emissions, Mankenskiöld says.

The Scope 3 category refers to all of the company’s indirect emissions that are caused by the value chain.

After this, the software can create a desktop view for the user, a dashboard that makes interpretations and decision making faster and more consistent.

– Our service does not compete with other software that collects data, it specifically adds value to them by creating new ways to utilize the data accumulated on different platforms, Mankenskiöld sums up.

A solution that eases the future reporting burden

When a customer company uses the Sustainability Data Hub for the first time, the customer defines, together with Tietoevry, which sustainability indicators are most relevant for them.

– Once the company has explained its sustainability program’s most important goals, we break them down into smaller parts to find out what data is needed, and from which sources it can be found, Mankenskiöld explains enthusiastically.

For example, suppose the company wants to measure its energy consumption. This is more complex for large companies than smaller ones that can, in the best-case scenario, get their calculations directly from their energy supplier. Tietoevry itself has about 140 separate offices and about 20 data centres. Data collection on this scale requires a significantly more complex network and cooperation with several different parties.

Our Planet is also grateful for the quick response to problem areas.”

To find reliable answers to these questions, the client company and Tietoevry dive into the client’s data pool together.

– Sustainability Data Hub is not a product that can be bought off the shelf and installed on a computer. It is a collaboration where we create connections between different data sources and look for new ways to utilize them. This kind of system integration is exactly what we at Tietoevry have been doing for more than five decades, so it’s already in our DNA, Mankenskiöld clarifies.

While laborious calculations and manual reporting are replaced by automation – and the software solution significantly lightens the future reporting burden – the planet also thanks companies for their quick response to problem areas in their operations.

Tietoevry’s Head of Communications and Sustainability Kia Haring summarizes the goal of the Sustainability Data Hub as follows:

– Our goal is to increase transparency and have a continuous dialogue between the company and our stakeholders. By automating the data flows of responsibility, the metrics can be used to create scenarios for the future instead of always reflecting on the past – things that happened last year, which we can no longer influence.

Read how Systembolaget benefitted from the service.

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