Sree Balakrishnan

Bridging data and sustainability
Sree Balakrishnan
With a passion for data and technology and a background in systems engineering and statistics, Sree started his career implementing data management solutions for enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects before moving to broader data integration and financial reporting. A few years later, he decided to dive into environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting by combining his passion for systems thinking and experience in large data and reporting solutions. He embraces the challenges of harmonizing the technical and business aspects for clients and the synergy between data, artificial intelligence (AI), and ESG to enhance metrics and drive insightful, sustainable solutions.
Meet Sree

Having been raised in India, Kuwait, and different provinces in Canada, Sree was exposed to various cultures and his experiences influenced how he sees the planet’s fragility.

With academic and career pursuits that reflect his profound enthusiasm for addressing substantial systemic issues, including a degree in systems design engineering from the University of Waterloo and a firm background in statistics, he leaned toward tackling intricate, multifaceted problems.

Since the beginning of his career, Sree has focused on harnessing technology and data—integration, interpretation, and application—to address critical business issues. Over time, he expanded toward leading broader data integration, regulatory, and financial reporting programs.

Gradually, he became more involved in sustainability and ESG reporting, in particular, because he wanted to leverage his skills and experience in data and delivering financial reporting solutions. Today, he helps clients measure, track, and communicate their financial and sustainability stories, providing them with faster and more detailed insights for more informed decision-making.

The vivid reality of climate change

“Seeing the ramifications of human activities like greenhouse gas emissions first-hand made quite an impression on me.”

Born in Kerala, India, Sree recalls how easily people there lived in unison with nature. The integration of the economy, culture, and people’s well-being was seamless. At the same time, however, he remembers seeing abject poverty, particularly the local farmers’ struggles with heatwaves and droughts caused by climate change. Since moving to Canada at the age of eleven, he has seen wildfires become more frequent and intense. While living in Melbourne, Australia, he saw the number of bushfires escalating, heard about water shortages across various Australian states, and witnessed coral loss in the Great Barrier Reef.

“Seeing the ramifications of human activities like greenhouse gas emissions first-hand made quite an impression on me.”

—Sree Balakrishnan

A family drive toward sustainability

Sree’s wife made a personal and professional shift toward sustainability, which added more meaning to these encounters. She cut meat from her diet, and devoted herself to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and policies centred on sustainability.

“My wife’s perspective has been a big influence on me.”

Following the arrival of their first child, they moved back to Canada to be near their family, and Sree started working with clients in the financial services sector.

Blending technical and functional skills

Complexity is typical in environments with multiple interest holders due to the differing visions and objectives of various departments.

Sree excels at playing a “techno-functional” role, bridging gaps between a client’s technical and business teams to get technology investments fully aligned with business and reporting needs.

“Challenges can arise when the business requirements aren’t understood or translated to a language that IT understands, or don’t match IT’s ability to implement them in a cost-effective and timely manner.”

“Breaking down problems into manageable parts, bridging these divides, and harmonizing the organization’s diverse needs and perspectives are key to success, especially for compliance-related programs.”

experiencing natural beauty on a mini-hike in Japan

Experiencing natural beauty on a mini-hike in Japan

Grasping the ESG reporting challenge

“Organizations often underestimate the magnitude of their ESG reporting challenges, particularly regarding funding allocation and the complexity, volume, diversity, and evolving nature of the data required.”

Sree’s team takes a strategic approach to building a reporting structure that captures vital data and remains adaptable for future changes.

“We recommend avoiding excessive complexity in system design, instead promoting a resilient and flexible framework that can adapt to evolving standards.”

Targeted gap analyses and reporting strategies

When clients clearly understand what and how they need to report, a gap analysis can pinpoint discrepancies between their existing capabilities and their reporting obligations.

“The data gap is profound. Data remains noisy, incomplete, not fully standardized, not integrated, and not transparent. Half the required information for ESG is often not reported or missing, raising the question of how to source and collect it.”

“We recognize the importance of consolidating diverse data sets—from finance and HR to procurement, supply chains, and even external sources like weather data—into a unified system. Our approach encompasses consolidating all the data, performing a thorough analysis, and then reporting on it.”

Crafting and executing a cohesive ESG vision

Aligning an organization’s ESG strategy with its business objectives is crucial when building a business case.

“Is it merely a compliance exercise, or will ESG data drive new product development, business model changes, and leadership incentives?”

Once clients understand their reporting gaps, Sree’s team helps them devise a road map to success.

“Alignment goes beyond agreement. It involves developing a robust business case that outlines the technological frameworks, processes, key interest holders, estimated costs, and strategic steps necessary for successful ESG reporting and performance.”

“Through our end-to-end service offerings, we provide comprehensive advisory support to clients, from interpreting standards, utilizing climate technology, and developing emission reduction strategies all the way to implementing and operating solutions.”

“Alignment goes beyond agreement. It involves developing a robust business case that outlines the technological frameworks, processes, key interest holders, estimated costs, and strategic steps necessary for successful ESG reporting and performance.”

—Sree Balakrishnan

Enhancing ESG metrics with generative AI

Sree is enthusiastic about how generative AI can impact and enhance ESG metrics.

“We’ve developed many concrete and practical use cases already. Using current data, generative AI can improve ESG metrics through valuable insights. These can aid businesses, consumers, and investors in making informed choices, saving money, and promoting sustainable practices.”

A bright future with sustainable technology

“ESG can go beyond compliance to transform the business landscape, using data and technology to drive efficiency, foster new products, and align corporate strategies with broader societal goals.”

Connect with Sree

Meet the others
We hope you enjoyed finding out a bit more about Sree. Our climate team is always here to help, so please get in touch if you’d like to learn more. To meet other members of the team, continue reading below. We’ll introduce you to someone new every month.
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