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Spend less time on ESG reporting – and here’s how we do it

Written By Vincent Govaers

Big changes are coming in sustainability regulations

CSRD will be a huge game-changer in the way companies communicate and act upon sustainability-related topics. Most large EU organizations will already need to publish their first report in 2026 (based on the fiscal year 2025). Public interest entities that already need to comply with NFRD will even need to be ready one year earlier.

A lot of work ahead...

No time to waste, indeed. If your company must comply with CSRD in the coming years, you should start today, as there are many jobs that need to be done before you can publish your first report:

  • Understand the reporting scope for your specific business.

  • Perform mandatory double materiality assessment to identify material topics to report on

  • Collect data internally and externally and assess data quality

  • Set up a scalable, systematic reporting framework.

These activities are crucial for building a strong, compliant sustainability strategy. However, they can also steal time and resources that you need for designing and implementing real-impact projects such as circular initiatives, energy optimizations, efficiency improvements, etc. And we didn’t even yet start implementing any improvements!

We need an efficient approach

CSRD reporting is not a one-time job. Your company will have to report annually, and regulations can be country-specific and subject to change. Without a systematic approach, your finance and sustainability teams will have to go through a lot of effort each year to adapt time and time again. That is why we believe you need to tackle these challenges in a systematic, scalable manner, bringing data and sustainability expertise together.

Bundling forces of data and sustainability expertise

Our experience in data governance, engineering, and analysis taught us that a large part of the work that needs to be done for CSRD can be done more efficiently using the right data techniques. On top of that, we believe you can also do this in a smart way: besides automating part of the process, you can create more valuable outputs that are useful for your reporting and for your business teams.

Together with our software partner, Digit Mint, we built several solutions that perfectly illustrate how data and sustainability expertise can work together in every part of the CSRD journey. For example:

  • Using large language models to identify material topics: Most organizations already have tons of documents available that can help to identify the most important topics to focus on (e.g., internal risk reports, industry magazines, or trend reports). Using this wealth of information can accelerate your materiality assessments and thus the scope of your ESG efforts.

  • Customizing a double materiality survey based on a respondent to increase relevancy and response rate: By building smart automations that adapt the double materiality survey based on the stakeholder's preferences, we were able to reduce surveys with over 100 questions to surveys with a dozen questions that were more relevant for the respondent and increased the response rate significantly.

  • Building a tool to facilitate CSRD reporting and updates: Instead of building a report manually every year, we built a tool that can integrate non-financial data sources, update double materiality assessment outcomes, and adapt to changing regulations. This enables the sustainability team to monitor the organization and its stakeholders more closely and, at the same time, spend more time on improving the business's sustainable impact.

Do you want to know more about how to prepare for CSRD? Or are you already working on this but want to discuss a systematic approach leveraging data and sustainability expertise?

Please reach out to Peter-Jan or Jens Verhiest.


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