Sustainability Analytics Platform
The Deloitte Sustainability Analytics Platform amalgamates sustainability related data along the value chain and provides intelligent services to enable and track initiatives and investments towards sustainability development goals. This intelligent platform provides ESG reporting, benchmarking, simulations, predictions as well as recommendations for action across business functions in a standardized and automated way.
Internal and external drivers for sustainability goals
From a company’s perspective, the increasing demand for solutions that pursue and ultimately achieve sustainability goals is driven by internal and external factors:
External drivers subsume regulatory, societal and market related entities:
Societal NGOs, media, value-based networks, public, consumer organizations, social well-being
Regulatory Government legislation, Regional (EU), trade associations, financial benefits, certifications
Market Competitive advantages /-pressure, investors, shareholders, suppliers, customers, image, globalization
Internal drivers, on the other hand, are those located in an organizations’ culture, resources and characteristics as well as in the corporate strategy.
On the bottom line all these factors motivate companies to track their individual footprint, to set sustainability related targets, and to invest in sustainable resources and assets. For all these initiatives, digital solutions help organizations to become more efficient and effective in the transformation process towards sustainable business models.
Working out the individual sustainability goals is a strategic decision-making process that has its own challenges. In order to structure sustainability goals, standards such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can be used. Identified initiatives and investments can finally be enabled and tracked towards strategic sustainability goals using digital solutions. This in turn may require transformations that are described in the following.
Digital transformation towards sustainable business models
Technology and data are key to transforming companies towards more sustainable business models. This transformation process is a digitally enabled journey in which companies go through the following steps:
First, sustainability data needs to be acquired from both internal and external data sources. Once an appropriate data foundation is built, tracking the current performance towards sustainability targets provides the first value-add. As soon as the current performance has been made transparent, the impact of a company’s business model and potential investments can be forecasted with the help of predictive analytics. To enable sustainable business steering, the actual and prognosed data are integrated into the company’s individual KPIs and decision-making processes. Furthermore, prescriptive and optimization algorithms are used to transfer insights into recommendations for action. To increase the overall efficiency, the existing use cases are then further automated, so that the entire platform can grow according to the company's individual needs.
Sustainability Analytics Platform solution
The Sustainability Analytics Platform is built on a cloud-based solution architecture which consists of four major components:
- Sustainability Data
- Sustainability Services
- Sustainability Intelligence Engine
- Sustainability Insights
All four components are modularized and can be leveraged individually, depending on given requirements.
The data component is the foundation of the analytics platform. It enables the platform to provide services in sustainability tracking, optimization and steering to the corporate ecosystem. Due to the underlaying cloud technology, the platform can consume data from various internal and external data sources in a flexible and scalable way. Furthermore, the platform can easily be integrated with other sustainability tools that are in use in the given environment.
Depending on individual goals as well as demands from the corporate ecosystem, the Sustainability Services, Intelligence Engine, and Insights components can be used individually or in combination to provide actionable insights to the ecosystem. Both data and insights are provisioned to the frontend tool of choice for dashboards and reports using APIs.
Sustainability Data Foundation
This component is the basis for any use case on the Sustainability Analytics Platform. It is in charge for acquisition, cleansing, and storage of sustainability related data on the platform. Key data sources are corporate specific sources like ERP, Finance and SCM, external data like energy mixes and weather forecasts, as well as data from other applied sustainability tools. Thereby, both structured and unstructured data (e. g. documents) are in scope of the data foundation.
Sustainability Services are the central place for the provision of reusable services on the platform. This component provides access to sustainability related microservices, e. g. calculating CO2 equivalents for different emission scopes or mappings among different reporting standards. Moreover, it is the central access point to any endpoints of machine learning models that were trained in the Sustainability Intelligence Engine. All services are open to both internal and external stakeholders within the corporate ecosystem.
Sustainability Intelligence Engine
The Sustainability Intelligence Engine trains and applies custom and pre-trained AI models on the data foundation. Exemplary use cases exist in the field of predicting external business events, classifying texts into ESG categories, and scoring their sentiment using deep learning models. Beyond AI, optimization algorithms from areas like operations research are applied in this engine to provide recommendations for action on sustainability issues.
This component provides actionable insights to the user with the help of advanced visualization tools. With Sustainability Insights the current footprint is made transparent, and ESG related reports and dashboards are provided. Furthermore, it enables business users to explore the data via self-service tools as well as performing business driven scenario simulations.
Variety of use cases for the Sustainability Analytics Platform
The scope of use cases ranges from the initial tracking of sustainability performance, to complex automated analytics solutions that use artificial intelligence techniques in order to finally pursue single or multiple sustainability goals.
The Deloitte Sustainability Analytics Platform is a sustainable solution that targets a companies’ individual sustainability goals. Its platform is based on cloud technology, which favors the resource-efficient use of IT resources and fosters the flexible and scalable growth of the company. In addition to the expertise in the construction of large and varied data platforms and the generation of insights out of those, a pronounced functional knowledge in the field of sustainability is required to finally perform the digital transformation towards sustainability effectively.