Business intelligence is about knowing exactly what is going to drive business results, is quantities of data translated into analytics reports for decisions informed by solid research, data and facts, rather than intuition or assumptions. Business intelligence is more than tracking KPIs; includes forecasting, skilled analysis and tailored narratives. A dashboard of quantitative data and qualitative analytics builds the big picture as a storyline of 'why', ‘how’, 'what'.
In sustainability, data analytics has largely been driven by tedious compliance reporting, focused on safety or environmental incidents, materials consumption, energy and water use. New BI solutions offer the opportunity to move from compliance to value driven reporting, raising the profile of the sustainability professionals. With data analytics solutions, a variety of other performance relevant data, collected for different purposes, in different formats, on different supports – supply, operations, headcount, demand, weather, political, social, etc. - are also being incorporated in the decision process. Business analytics helps to exploit the multiple, large sustainability data sources – quantitative or qualitative – and build the predictive knowledge necessary to deal with the uncertainty and volatility of resources in today’s market.
Bringing hard and soft data in the cultural transformation process – such as behavioural safety perceptions at Dupont Sustainable Solutions, transforming the materiality assessment into an efficient ongoing analysis – with Datamaran research tools, running the plant maintenance surveillance with IIoT connected devices as Acciona or tracking issues such as environmental, human rights or child labor abuses with the due diligence RepRisk SaaS platform are just few of the remarkable developments in the recent past.
In corporate sustainability strategy, the quick-wins have been won. Businesses need to reach higher and wider to address more complex issues that cannot be solved anymore alone. Sustainability business intelligence has become a key pillar in sustainability strategy and will be instrumental to measure and manage a business impact across its entire range of stakeholders. As for the shareholders, they are increasingly relying on the data analytics for investment and voting decisions, particularly with respect to sustainability issues.
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