At Nossa Data, we are proud to disclose that our ESG reporting software is an accredited ESG software partner for various ESG Frameworks and ESG Standards, including the GRI, SASB, ISSB S1 / S2, CDP, ESRS and more. This growth has enabled Nossa Data to continue to provide value to clients like ESG reporting specialists at PensionBee, Vodafone, and more. Here, we discuss ESG and our ESG reporting software with Tamsin Stevens, ESG Manager at Accsys.
Introduce yourself / your role at Accsys and what led you to work in ESG?
I currently work as the ESG Manager at Accsys, which is the manufacturer of the sustainable building product Accoya Wood. My role involves overseeing product sustainability activities, primarily focusing on eco-certifications (C2C gold standard, Declare, EPDs), supporting and guiding the business on reducing emissions, sustainability reporting frameworks (GRI, SASB, TCFD) and responding to investor ESG disclosures such as S&P. I manage the data collection for ESG metrics.
I have always been passionate about the environment and after studying Environmental Science at university, I worked in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for a few years before working as a Sustainability Manager. A role in ESG seemed like the natural next step from sustainability and it’s been great to dive deeper into the governance part as my previous roles have mostly focused on environmental and social impact.
Before Accsys, you had experience working in impact at private companies including completing a B-Corp Impact Assessment. How does ESG differ now that you are working for a listed company?
ESG is important in both private and publicly traded companies and can enhance a company’s reputation as well as improve long-term risk management. However, ESG reporting on behalf of a listed company consists of more disclosures as they are subject to more extensive regulatory requirements. Private companies have more flexibility in their reporting and a lot of their assessments (like B Corp) are optional as there are fewer compulsory requirements within their annual reporting. Listed companies are under scrutiny from investors and therefore being able to demonstrate our commitment to ESG principles is vital.
What has been most surprising working in ESG at a listed company versus a private company?
The large amount of ESG reporting standards, sustainability assessments and rating systems that are available for listed companies and ensuring we are following the most appropriate framework in line with our business goals and different stakeholder expectations. ESG reporting is constantly evolving so it’s crucial to stay up to date with the latest guidance and frameworks and be aware that each framework tends to change to some extent each year.
Accsys just published their SASB and GRI reports for 2023. Can you share about your experience producing a SASB index?
The SASB index is industry specific and for our industry, it was a manageable workload due to it being a fairly short list of disclosures (especially compared to GRI and CSA). This year we separated our GRI and SASB reports rather than combining them, which is what we did last year. It is more transparent and easier for stakeholders to find the information that they are looking for.
"Using an online data management and ESG reporting platform like Nossa Data is helpful especially if it’s your first time working on SASB or GRI as it provides excellent best practice guidelines and allows you to draw inspiration from other leading companies" Tamsin, ESG Manager, Accsys
What about your experience producing a GRI index?
GRI was a bit more complicated and took longer than SASB as it required collaboration from different teams, particularly our legal team since there was a heavy focus on governance disclosures. It took multiple drafts and company-wide collaboration before we got the GRI content index right.
What differences did you learn about the two frameworks through the act of disclosure?
The SASB index is focused on the business industry so these were more specific questions to our Accoya Wood. We found they were more environmentally focused whereas GRI was a lot broader with a diverse range of questions. As a result, GRI required support from other teams within the business. Both of them required quantitative and qualitative data collation and although SASB took less time, neither of them were quick projects!
How did Nossa Data’s ESG Reporting Software help you with the disclosure process?
Nossa Data was a valuable tool in completing GRI and SASB since it enables businesses to pull data from similar questions in different frameworks and assessments. What was also extremely useful is that we could see answers that other companies in a similar industry had disclosed which helped us identify best practices. We could also see our answers from previous years so that we could focus on improving our answers each year.
"What was also extremely useful is that we could see answers that other companies in a similar industry had disclosed which helped us identify best practices" Tamsin, ESG Manager, Accsys
What advice would you give to someone who is responsible for producing ESG indices like SASB and GRI?
Using an online data management and ESG reporting platform like Nossa Data is helpful especially if it’s your first time working on SASB or GRI as it provides excellent best practice guidelines and allows you to draw inspiration from other leading companies. Completing reporting frameworks takes a lot of time so I would also recommend starting as early as possible especially if you are tying them in with other reporting frameworks (for us it was our Annual Report so we were working towards a strict deadline). It’s also helpful to investors and other stakeholders if companies cross-reference their different ESG reporting so it would be worthwhile spending a bit of time doing this at the end of each report too as it helps showcase all the reports simultaneously.
What is next up on your radar in terms of ESG and ESG disclosure?
We are now working on the S&P Corporate Sustainability Assessment. We aim to increase our score year on year and it is a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation that will be time-consuming in the coming months before we submit it in January 2024. Like other ESG reporting frameworks, this requires collecting and verifying data, peer comparison, and continuous improvement, which Nossa Data thankfully can help us with In addition to this, we are always working on other exciting ESG projects in the background including product certifications such as C2C gold and reviewing our wider ESG strategy.
Anything else you would like to add?
Although each ESG reporting assessment requires a lot of work it’s often all similar disclosures, and therefore collecting and verifying data for one framework usually has co-benefits in supporting other frameworks and assessments. Although each of the assessments can be timely, it is very rewarding seeing the result published and also identifying year-on-year improvements to further strengthen ESG within the business. Using an ESG reporting software like Nossa Data can help with identifying such co-benefits.