How To Use Big Data Analytics To Measure Corporate Sustainability Efforts

Reading Time: 3 minutes

How To Use Big Data Analytics To Measure Corporate Sustainability Efforts. Image Unsplash.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Companies are expected to incorporate sustainability initiatives into their strategies as the world becomes more aware of business operations’ adverse environmental and social effects. However, measuring the effectiveness of these efforts can be challenging. While there are many advantages of acquiring portfolio-level ESG certifications, getting the full benefit may require better practices and improved sustainability efforts. This is where data analytics may help. This blog post explores how big data analytics can help companies measure their environmental and social performance.

1. Define Sustainability Metrics

Defining what metrics to track is essential to measure sustainability efforts. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has developed a set of sustainability metrics that companies can use to report on their environmental and social performance. These metrics include the amount of energy consumed, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, waste generated, and workplace diversity. Once these metrics are defined, companies can use big data analytics tools to collect and analyze the relevant data.

2. Collect Data

Collecting data is the foundation for measuring sustainability efforts. Companies can use different approaches for data collection, including manual data entry and automated data capture through sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT). Manual data entry can be a time-consuming process and may be prone to errors, but it may still be necessary for some data points. On the other hand, automated systems can make data collection more efficient and accurate. Regardless of the method, ensuring the data collected is relevant, accurate, and complete is essential.

3. Analyze Data

Once the data is collected, data analytics tools can help to analyze the data and provide relevant insights. Data analytics involves identifying patterns and trends in large data sets and using statistical analysis and data mining techniques to extract actionable insights. For example, using data analytics tools, a company can track changes in energy consumption, identify the sources of waste, and measure social impact.

4. Monitor Progress

Measuring sustainability efforts is not a one-time event but an ongoing process. Companies must monitor progress regularly to identify improvement areas and adjust sustainability goals and plans accordingly. Big data analytics tools can help to monitor progress by providing real-time dashboards and performance indicators. With the help of big data analytics, companies can more effectively track their sustainability efforts and make informed decisions.

5. Report Results

Once the data has been collected, analyzed, and interpreted, it’s time to communicate the results. Companies should use the insights gained from their data analytics efforts to create detailed reports that can be shared with stakeholders. These reports can provide key performance indicators (KPIs) for tracking progress and highlighting successes.

6. Take Action

The data collected and analyzed through big data analytics can be used to inform decisions that lead to positive environmental and social outcomes. Companies should use the insights gained from their sustainability efforts to take action, such as implementing new or improved processes, investing in green technology, or developing green supply chains.

7. Incorporate Sustainability Into Decision Making

Finally, incorporating sustainability initiatives into decision-making processes can help to improve performance over time. By tracking sustainability data, companies can identify areas for improvement and adjust business strategies accordingly. For example, if a company places a high level of waste in its operations, it can explore alternative processes or materials to reduce waste generation. Incorporating sustainability into decision-making can also help companies to build a positive image and reputation among stakeholders.


There are many advantages of acquiring portfolio-level ESG certifications, and companies focusing on sustainability are more attractive to investors. Big data analytics can help companies track and improve their environmental and social sustainability efforts. By defining sustainability metrics, collecting relevant data, analyzing the data, monitoring progress, and incorporating sustainability into decision-making, companies can measure their sustainability performance and achieve their sustainability goals. Big data analytics can unlock many insights to drive business success while contributing to a more sustainable future.

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