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What Is Sustainability Data?

Sometimes referred to as ESG data, this is the measure of energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, and other environmental protection measures. In addition, due to the environment’s impact on human, animal, and plant life, it also measures poverty, infrastructure, hunger, employment, and other data.

Where Does Sustainability Data Come From?

Most of this data comes from governments, NGOs, and businesses. Governments provide the most detailed information, with their access to satellite images, census surveys, and so on. Companies, meanwhile, report their own energy usage and environmental impact, in accordance with regulations set by the governments of countries they operate in.

Additional sources include news reports, public filings, and surveys you or your vendor distribute.

What Types of Columns/Attributes Should I Expect When Working with ESG Data?

One of the most popular representations of sustainability data are maps—especially interactive maps. Traditional records in rows and columns are also in common use. These columns commonly list energy and land measurements alongside populations and areas. They frequently report changes from previous years and make comparisons to other countries or regions.

You can also enrich your datasets with natural disaster, census, point of interest, climate, and any other related data.

What Is This ESG Data Used For?

Companies use this data to measure—and improve—their impact on the environment. They also recognize the social cache of being an environmentally friendly company, so if their data shows them in a positive light, they will promote it.

Smaller companies and individuals often rely on the data for their livelihoods. Farmers, ranchers, and fisheries operators, for example, need this data to be accurate in order to stay operational.

Finally, governments, NGOs, and other agencies use this data to measure the effects of environmental management (or mismanagement) on populations. With this information, they can make city infrastructure changes, offer tax incentives to renewable energy companies, or make any other changes that should improve the quality of the environment that citizens live in.

How Should I Test the Quality of Sustainability/ESG Data?

Measuring this data is difficult for many reasons. For one thing, the scale of measurable data is enormous. For another, researchers and governments may lack the appropriate technology to measure it. (Indeed, the poorest countries most impacted by environmental damage have the fewest resources to measure its impact.)

Additionally, some governments or companies may publish information they know to be inaccurate.

Even when accurate and honest data collection exists, some countries or industries do not have consistent regulations about reporting. Therefore, companies in the same industry may report different kinds of data or use different measurements for it.

However, if you collect relevant data from a variety of sources and make sure it is cleansed and converted into the desired format, you should have the beginnings of a quality dataset. Another good idea is to set up alerts for outliers and anomalies within the dataset. You can also use the services of any of the data vendors linked on our site. Feel free to leave a review of them if you use their services.

Interesting Case Studies and Blogs to Look Into

Active Sustainability: From Big Data to Sustainable Data
Environmental Sustainability Indicators and Trends | SEDAC

Tangible Examples of Impact

Martinez’s team uses a hot-water ‘drill’ to place pods — a dozen at any one time — at different locations deep under the ice. Each pod is equipped with sensors that measure variables such as temperature, pressure, and movement; the data collected [enables researchers to calculate] the rate of flow of the glacier and to model subglacial dynamics. The sensor web can be programmed in such a way that the individual pods cooperate. “You can get the pods talking to each other, and deciding that nothing much has happened recently as most of our readings have been the same, so lets the rest of us go to sleep and save batteries, with one waking us up if something starts happening,” says Martinez.

Nature: Everything, everywhere

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