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Tech Vendors Target Enterprise ESG Reporting

Environmental, social, and governance reporting is growing in importance. Two big tech vendors recently announced new ESG solutions.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting is hitting the mainstream, as two big tech vendors this week have announced efforts to help enterprise organizations manage their efforts with regard to this major trend.

ServiceNow has announced a new integrated ESG solution, powered by its Now digital workflow platform. The technology is designed to help companies work on strategies from enhancing diversity and inclusion to reducing carbon emissions to enabling business resilience, across the enterprise. ServiceNow has also announced the expansion of its alliance relationship with KPMG to deliver ESG-focused solutions and services. Separately, Google Cloud this week launched Carbon Footprint, a new product that gives customers a view of the gross carbon emissions associated with their Google Cloud Platform usage.

The announcements come at a time when enterprises are working to improve their ESG initiatives and reporting. Investors, employees, and customers are looking at these efforts to help differentiate who they want to invest in, work for, and buy from in today’s market.

Governments are also considering the creation of laws and regulations around ESG reporting and standards for public and private companies. For instance, the US House of Representatives passed an ESG reporting bill over the summer that would apply to public companies. Separately, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has indicated that ESG disclosure regulation will be a central focus of the new SEC Chair.

Gartner reported that organizations are ranking regulatory risk related to ESG disclosures higher -- it reached the second position on Gartner’s rankings in its Emerging Risks Monitor Report based on a survey of 153 senior executives in the second quarter of 2021.

“The survey data partly reflects a global inflection point as ESG disclosures move from voluntary to required,” said Matt Shinkman, VP with the Gartner Risk and Audit Practice.

It’s in this environment that Google and ServiceNow made their recent announcements, designed to help organizations with their reporting.

“Sustainability is top of mind for every CEO and board,” Jen Bennett, Google’s lead for data and technology strategy for sustainability in the office of the CTO, told members of the media during a conference call.

Carbon Footprint is available now to every Google Cloud Platform user for free in the Cloud Console, according to a blog post by Google’s Chris Talbott and Joel Conkling. The tool helps organizations measure, track, and report on the gross carbon emissions associated with the electricity of their cloud usage.

“With growing requirements for Environmental Social and Governance reporting, companies are looking for was to show their employees, boards, and customers their progress against climate targets,” Talbott and Conkling wrote in the post. “Using Carbon Footprint, you have access to the gross energy related emissions data you need for internal carbon inventories and external carbon disclosures with one click.”

Google said the tool was built in collaboration with customers including Atos, Etsy, L’Oreal, Salesforce, Thoughtworks, and Twitter. The calculation methodology is published to provide transparency to auditors and reporting teams.

ServiceNow said its new ESG solution “serves as an operational control tower to help convert companies’ ESG goals into reality by providing visibility and transparency across their ESG programs and initiatives and helping them strategize, manage, govern, and report on these efforts on a single platform.”

Components of the ServiceNow solution include ESG management and reporting, project and portfolio management, and integrated risk management tools.

“In order for ESG initiatives to be effective, companies must have a complete view of their ESG efforts and performance to know how they are tracking towards their goals,” said Kim Knickle, research director at research and advisory firm Verdantix. “We expect ServiceNow’s new ESG solution will leverage the company’s existing platform to better enable this visibility.”

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