Last month, I had the privilege of hosting a panel at COP28 in Dubai. The discussion, which took place in the Singapore Pavilion, focused on using technology to support companies with climate disclosures and reporting.
We had the honor of being joined by three esteemed guests: Bing Leng (Member of the International Sustainability Standards Board), Lucy Hargreaves (Head of Corporate Affairs and Climate Policy at Patch) and Simone Kramer (Global Head of Product at the Net-Zero Data Public Utility). Below, I’ve highlighted four of the key points from our conversation, and have included a link to the full video at the end of the post.
Data interoperability enables better collaboration
To help stakeholders across industries and regions more efficiently partner together on sustainability efforts, one of the most powerful measures that can be taken is to promote the interoperability of digital data—especially as it pertains to information that’s relevant for disclosure standards.
Put simply, easily exchanging and responding to information is crucial for developing a shared understanding between people and organizations on a broad spectrum of topics ranging from assessing emissions to reporting disclosures.
To that end, ensuring that data is generated in a machine-readable format makes it easier to facilitate data analysis, which ultimately enables us to collaborate more easily and discuss our collective progress, future trajectory and desired sustainability outcomes.
Given that we’re still in the early stages of establishing a global infrastructure for climate-related data, it’s vital for us to approach the use of technology in a way that’s highly strategic, and that helps us build a strong foundation for seamless sustainability disclosure.
Supporting the publishers of data
When it comes to how publishers of data are leveraging technology to enhance disclosure, there are two particular areas that come to mind.
Specifically, we’re referring to the way that software empowers publishers, who could be Chief Sustainability Officers or Chief Financial Officers, to have their disclosures achieve an elevated level of quality, which then facilitates the flow of high-integrity data into the market.
This outcome is made possible through a combination of factors, including: how a given solution considers which calculation methodologies to use, the transparency underpinning any estimates that are made, and the inclusion of best practices to uphold data quality.
Achieving more transparency within the voluntary carbon market
On the topic of disclosures, our panel also touched upon the use of carbon credits. In particular, we discussed the voluntary carbon market, and the level of complexity that currently exists in areas from data collection and tracking to the types of technologies and methodologies that are used.
As the market continues to expand, there’ll be increasing pressure from stakeholders to have this information be high-integrity, transparent, and publicly-available, which can only be achieved through a well-designed digital infrastructure.
Without it, market actors won’t have access to the kind of data that they need to ensure compliance with requirements that may be expected of them.
Human involvement still matters
As crucial as technology is in all areas related to sustainability—especially as it pertains to accelerating progress toward decarbonization—active human participation remains essential.
In particular, we require human intervention for a critical evaluation of the tools and strategies that are being employed to ultimately ensure success for both the disclosure and reporting processes.
To take an example from Patch, which helps organizations scale and unify climate action, most of their buyers prefer having a person involved in an advisory role as they navigate the complexities of the voluntary carbon market, and assess the distinctions between different projects and credits.
Similarly, in the realm of sustainability reporting, sustainability managers are required to verify that the calculated emissions, and consequently the disclosed information, is congruent with the specific context of their business.
So, although a strong digital infrastructure is indispensable for market success, the importance of human support when it comes to implementing sustainability initiatives will continue to remain vital.
Interested in learning more about how Unravel Carbon helps companies reach their sustainability goals? Get in touch with us here.
Watch our full panel discussion from COP28’s website here.