When will non-financial data translate into business intelligence?
Too often, companies haphazardly scrape together data and commentary on sustainability topics just weeks before the reports go to print. However, issues important enough to be reported on should certainly be important enough to be robustly managed, and vice-versa. A clear business purpose should be articulated and a simple test applied: no purpose, no data.
Meaningful data requires interrogation from the provider and the end user. Many would argue that progress in South Africa’s sustainability arena has been driven primarily by a need to conform to standards, rather than a demand for sensible data by stakeholders. As a result, the outcome has been volumes of reported data that is not applied to internal or external decision-making. If data is not interrogated, questioned or benchmarked, sloppy reporting will go unnoticed and will not be a suitable decision-making tool. A vicious cycle forms.