The first step towards CSRD compliance - data collection!
The importance of corporate ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) data has been heightened by the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).
Organisations are under increasing pressure to conform to CSRD and use the right tools to ensure compliance and drive change.
But, collating this information in a sea of spreadsheets, manual procedures, and disparate systems is challenging.
As a sustainability expert and research analyst, I can help you navigate the confusing world of ESG reporting and make informed decisions on the best choice for your business model.
My pick: Convene ESG
I reviewed six of the best CSRD reporting software packages and found Convene ESG to be the best.
Convene ESG is a standout choice because of its flexible and user-friendly design, which makes it appropriate for companies of different sizes and markets.
It simplifies the gathering, processing, and reporting of sustainability data and specialises in integrated data management and sophisticated data analysis.
This solution gives you a full feature set to support your sustainability initiatives and ensure your business complies with the law.
Making the right choice
Although I'll go into more depth later, it's essential to understand that the "best" CSRD reporting software might differ based on your company's size, industry, and unique demands.
For this reason, I'll also go into how each product fits into various circumstances.
Whether you're a rapidly expanding startup or a major player in the market, knowing how to assess multiple software solutions can help you make an informed decision that fits your objectives.
Let's now examine the attributes, features, and capacities of the top CSRD software.
The best CSRD software list
The six I recommend are:
- Convene ESG (best overall)
- Enablon ESG (most comprehensive)
- denxpert (best for environmental, health, safety, and sustainability)
- BuildingMinds (best for real estate)
- Watershed (best for enterprise and integrations)
- Brightest (best for holistic management of ESG and social impact)
Convene ESG (best overall)
Convene ESG is a dynamic platform for managing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. It helps businesses proactively identify and manage these risks and opportunities and encourages stakeholder participation in sustainability concerns.
Convene ESG has an intuitive and adaptable interface. It's built for any business size and sector, ready to tackle ESG risks and opportunities head-on.
- Integrated data management: Convene ESG offers an integrated method of managing data, making it easier to gather, store, and evaluate sustainability data.
- Sophisticated data analysis: Convene ESG's sophisticated data analysis capabilities enable businesses to understand their sustainability KPIs comprehensively, facilitating data-driven decision-making.
- Tools for stakeholder engagement: The platform provides practical tools to facilitate meaningful discussions and partnerships around sustainability efforts with stakeholders.
- Materiality assessment: Convene ESG assists businesses in determining and ranking the most relevant sustainability challenges by facilitating materiality assessments.
- Action planning: Businesses may effectively create and implement action plans to address sustainability matters.
Convene ESG understands the difficulties of manual data-gathering procedures and meeting climate-related financial disclosure requirements.
It's clear they've engineered their platform with the insight that digitalisation isn't just a buzzword; it's the compass for navigating ESG reporting with accuracy and finesse.
Why select Convene ESG?
Convene ESG can help you transform the sustainability reporting process. It streamlines daily operations by making data collecting and verification procedures easier.
Convene ESG also ensures that all legal criteria are met, applies best practices for narrative writing, and future-proofs management reports against changing regulations.
Enablon ESG (most comprehensive)
Enablon is a full-featured ESG management platform created to assist businesses in managing the possibilities and risks associated with ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) while improving sustainable performance.
It is an excellent option for companies dedicated to sustainability reporting since it provides a comprehensive set of tools, such as data collecting, analysis, and reporting capabilities.
- Enhanced data analytics: Enablon's platform furnishes comprehensive perspectives on sustainability measures with sophisticated data analytics, empowering enterprises to make well-informed choices.
- Tools for stakeholder engagement: These tools facilitate stakeholder communication and teamwork to support more significant sustainability projects.
- Tools for supply chain management: Enablon helps businesses manage and optimise their supply chains, emphasising sustainability.
- Compliance management solutions: Enablon's compliance management solutions simplify the guaranteeing conformity to sustainable norms and laws.
- Alignment with CSRD standards: Enablon is an excellent option for businesses looking to comply with and efficiently report on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) laws since it is designed to align with these standards.
Why choose Enablon?
As a full-featured ESG management platform, Enablon caters to businesses intent on improving sustainable performance and aligning with CSRD requirements. It’s designed to assist in risk management and opportunity maximisation.
Organisations may effortlessly explore and use the platform for their sustainability reporting requirements because of its user-friendly and intuitive user interface.
The main emphasis lies on:
- Stakeholder engagement tools and advanced data analytics
- Stakeholder management platform that is comprehensive.
- Interface usability and friendliness.
denxpert (best for environmental, health, safety, and sustainability)
denxpert offers tools for risk assessment, compliance, inspection preparation, and audits to streamline Environmental, Health, Safety, and Sustainability (EHS&S) management.
- Easy customisation: denxpert's platform allows for a great degree of customisation, making it possible for businesses to match their sustainability reporting needs.
- Smooth integration: Can seamlessly integrate with other systems like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.
- EHS&S management simplified: Simplified Approach to EHS&S (Environmental, Health, Safety, and Sustainability) Management: With the platform, businesses can easily streamline risk assessment, compliance, inspection preparation, and EHS&S audits.
- Efficiency through digitisation: The digital and searchable database expedites environmental and occupational safety compliance procedures by drastically lowering human error and improving responsibility tracking.
- Extensive dashboard: Managing directors may efficiently prepare for EHS&S audits and keep a close eye on the work of their colleagues in EHS&S by using the platform's transparent dashboard of procedures.
- ESG support: denxpert offers professional advice to assist firms in converting ESG responsibilities into simplified procedures and expansion prospects.
Why choose denxpert?
denxpert aims to help businesses become more sustainable by streamlining their ESG reporting and day-to-day operations. They aim to help companies balance profit, environment, and society, ultimately finding their competitive edge through sustainable growth.
BuildingMinds (best for real estate)
BuildingMinds is a comprehensive program designed specifically for building building sustainability reports.
It's an excellent option for companies trying to maintain and maximise the sustainability of their building portfolio while making sure that industry norms are followed.
Features for building management, energy consumption, and comprehensive sustainability reporting are included in this adaptable solution. It provides specific tools for monitoring building certifications and guaranteeing adherence to sustainability standards.
BuildingMinds offers real-time monitoring and control capabilities for effective building management and sustainability reporting, integrating seamlessly with current building systems and sensors.
- Energy usage monitoring: BuildingMinds' energy usage and emissions analytics tools enable businesses to monitor their real-time carbon emissions and resource consumption.
- ESG reporting: By providing a single source of truth for consistent data and documentation, BuildingMinds streamlines the ESG reporting process and lowers manual procedures and mistakes.
- Sustainability passport: Using key sustainability KPIs and metrics, the platform generates an extensive Sustainability Passport that facilitates open dialogue with stakeholders.
- Connection: BuildingMinds ensures compliance and alignment with industry best practices by enabling easy connection with numerous ESG reporting standards, including GRESB, SFDR, and TCFD.
Why choose BuildingMinds?
BuildingMinds aims to change the real estate sector from one that consumes resources to one that creates them.
Their goal is to develop a digital brain that will enable managers and owners of real estate to maximise portfolio performance for both long-term planning and daily operations. To meet the varied demands of real estate portfolio management, BuildingMinds provides various solutions, such as digital building twins, portfolio management, and ESG reporting.
The platform offers comprehensive insights into resource use, emissions, and energy ratings while streamlining data administration and making ESG reporting simple.
Watershed (best for enterprise and integrations)
Watershed equips businesses for CSRD compliance, catering to the ESG reporting needs of over 50,000 organisations worldwide.
- CSRD report preparation: Simplifies ESG data management and understanding of reporting obligations.
- Customisable data integration: Offers 60+ connectors for easy data ingestion according to ESRS standards.
- Data monitoring: Keeps track of data across departments for consistent reporting.
- Data verification: Uses machine learning to detect and correct data inconsistencies, creating an audit trail.
Why choose Watershed?
- Measure: Collects precise data for a comprehensive carbon footprint.
- Report: Assists in preparing information and understanding climate disclosure duties.
- Act: Aids in setting and tracking emission reduction targets.
Watershed is a secure, scalable solution for immediate deployment, enhancing data governance and user access control. It supports unlimited logins for effective collaboration across an organisation.
Brightest (best for holistic management of ESG and social impact)
Brightest serves organisations aiming to streamline sustainability, social impact, and ESG management with a unified data platform.
- Unified ESG solution: Brightest delivers an integrated system for ESG management, from data collection to strategic execution, ensuring a multifaceted approach to sustainability.
- Streamlined data gathering: The platform simplifies the collection of comprehensive sustainability data, from utility bills and HR data to Scope 3 emissions, with tools for strategic analysis and reporting.
- Improve cooperation and decrease silos: Provides tools for teamwork and adaptable organisational systems. It makes it possible to track emissions targets for Scope 1-2-3, as well as team objectives and advancement.
- ESG and sustainability reporting: Carbon accounting, ESG reporting, and sustainability monitoring are all integrated by Brightest. It is compatible with several ESG reporting standards, including TCFD, SASB, CDP, UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and more. The platform also addresses human rights, supply chain sustainability, social impact assessment, and greenhouse gas monitoring.
- In-depth insights: Provides sophisticated data segmentation and reporting tools that let businesses keep a close eye on every aspect of their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) journey. It facilitates the development of unique impact surveys to gather qualitative and quantitative data from diverse stakeholders and aids in the identification of areas for improvement.
Why choose Brightest?
Brightest is recognised for simplifying data collection and fostering positive outcomes for stakeholders. It optimises ease of use with custom data collection methods and real-time support.
Buying guide: what to look for
When reviewing CSRD software, consider these key aspects and evaluate which are most crucial to your business.
- Data integrity
- Real-time monitoring
- Customer support
- Analysis tools
- Vendor reputation
Prioritising compliance will help you adapt to evolving sustainability reporting rules.
Your software must produce disclosures following the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), a set of 10 standards split up under the three pillars of ESG.
Your software should accurately calculate your company's scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions from operations, energy use, and the value chain. Ensure that the software uses recognised methodologies and conversion factors for these calculations.
In addition to the ESRS, ensure your software complies with local or sector-specific standards applicable to your organisation.
- For instance, if your company operates in France, you may need to adhere to the French Energy Transition Law, which mandates businesses to disclose climate risks and mitigation strategies.
Compliance also means an independent third party must audit the reported sustainability information. The software should facilitate this process by providing clear documentation, traceability, and verification of the data sources and calculations.
Your software must accurately reflect your sustainability performance with high-quality data. Choose software that maintains data accuracy, completeness, consistency, timeliness, relevance, and comparability throughout the data lifecycle.
For example, look for data validation rules and quality indicators to ensure accurate and reliable data. Additionally, the software should have data governance mechanisms to prevent duplication, manipulation, or loss.
Data integrity involves tracing data to its source and verifying accuracy. For this, choose software with data auditability features like lineage, history, and provenance.
- For example, your chosen software should have data lineage features that show the origin, transformation, and destination of the data, as well as data history features that record the changes made to the data over time.
Additionally, look for data provenance features that document the metadata, such as the source, date, author, and method of the data.
The software should be user-friendly, making it easy to input, modify, and report data.
Several factors contribute to usability, such as
Choose software with an intuitive and engaging user interface, straightforward design, and constructive feedback mechanisms.
Check if there are training resources to onboard and guide you on using it effectively.
Usability also ensures that the software caters to various types of users, including executives, administrators, data analysts, and report writers. Aim for software that provides features tailored to the different needs and skills of these users.
Consider software with data integration capabilities that allow for seamless data collection from various sources, such as:
- Internal systems (e.g. ERP, HRM, CRM)
- External databases (e.g. ESG rating agencies)
- Manual inputs (e.g. surveys).
Successful integration depends on compatibility, connectivity, synchronisation, and automation. Therefore, the software should include features that ensure these factors are achieved without compromising data quality or security.
- Compatibility features should enable smooth data exchange between systems using common formats or standards.
- Connectivity features should ensure reliable data transmission between systems using secure protocols or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
- Synchronisation is another essential aspect to consider. The software should provide consistent data updates between various systems using real-time or scheduled processes.
- Automation features should allow efficient data processing between different systems using workflows or rules.
Integration also means leveraging the existing data and functionality of other systems to enhance software performance.
- For example, data enrichment features should enable the software to add value to existing data by combining it with other sources of information or applying additional calculations or metrics, like ESG ratings or carbon intensity.
- Cross-system analysis features should offer insights by comparing existing data with other systems' data or applying advanced analytics tools or models, such as benchmarking or scenario analysis.
- Lastly, cross-system reporting should enable clear communication of existing data by presenting it alongside other systems' data or applying customised reporting tools or formats, like dashboards or PDFs.
You'll need software that allows customisable features and reports that reflect your organisation's unique sustainability performance and goals.
This software should have features that enable configurability, extensibility, modularity, and adaptability without compromising compliance or usability.
- Configurability features allow for adjusting software settings to meet organisational needs, such as language, currency, or units.
- Extensibility should enable adding new features such as custom indicators, formulas, or calculations.
- Modularity features allow for selecting or deselecting software components that match your specific needs, such as reporting standards, sectors, or regions.
- Adaptability is crucial for modifying software behaviour or output in response to changing needs, such as new regulations or stakeholders.
It is essential to think about its scalability and the ability to scale alongside your growth, both in terms of data storage and functionality.
Scalability relies on various factors, such as performance, capacity, reliability, and availability, and the software should possess features that ensure these factors are maintained or improved as it handles more data or users.
Tracking and reporting sustainability metrics in real-time offers an advantage over traditional periodic reporting methods.
Real-time capturing and transmitting data from various sources can provide timely and actionable insights.
- These could include monitoring technology like sensors, IoT (Internet of Things) or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
- Or data analysis tools facilitating real-time processing and interpretation with algorithms, models, or AI (Artificial Intelligence).
As you deal with sensitive data, risk management is an essential component of any security approach.
A good CSRD software should offer tools and capabilities to help you identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks in your sustainability reporting efforts. Some packages may even have built-in risk management features to make this process more accessible and efficient.
- First, you should assess the available security features of the software. Look for encryption methods, access control measures, and data storage practices that meet your organisation's needs.
- Some vendors may offer features such as double materiality assessment, which can enhance your understanding of how sustainability impacts your business development.
- In addition to the software's inherent security features, evaluate the company's security practices and standards. This includes checking for certifications, adherence to industry best practices, and handling security incidents.
When considering cost, it's essential to weigh the investment against the performance improvements and long-term benefits. The right software can offer significant returns in improved sustainability reporting and enhanced corporate image.
Consider the software's initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs before deciding. Keep in mind that it's essential to consider not only the upfront software fees but also the ongoing maintenance and support costs that may be associated with the platform.
After evaluating the investment, think about the potential performance benefits the software could bring to your business. CSRD software automates manual tasks, improves data accuracy, and streamlines reporting, leading to positive impacts on your balance sheet over time.
The quality of customer support is crucial for dealing with technical issues and understanding software functionalities.
- Check if the software provider has a comprehensive knowledge base, such as FAQs, guides, or tutorial videos. A well-organized knowledge base can streamline the CSRD compliance process, saving you time and effort by providing quick access to answers.
- Secondly, take note of the availability and nature of support channels provided. Ideally, a mix of email, phone, and live chat services should be available.
- The software provider should offer prompt support. Evaluate their service level agreements (SLAs) to understand their commitment to timely assistance.
- Does the provider offer training through webinars, workshops, or on-site sessions? These programs help employees use the software effectively.
- Finally, assess whether the software provider offers regular updates and improvements to address technical issues and ensure compliance with evolving CSRD regulations.
Reports and analytics
As you embark on your journey to find the right CSRD software, it's essential to focus on the analysis tools available within each platform.
These tools play a crucial role in your strategic decision-making process and should support your organisation's ESG reporting needs effectively.
One aspect to examine is whether it offers user-friendly data visualisation tools, such as dashboards and graphs, to help communicate key insights and track progress towards sustainability goals.
Additionally, look for software that offers benchmarking and comparison tools. These can be invaluable for assessing your company's ESG performance against industry peers or global standards.
Consider choosing a solution that facilitates scenario analysis. This feature allows you to model and evaluate the potential impact of different actions on your ESG performance and identify growth opportunities.
Lastly, software with collaboration features. Effective ESG management involves multiple departments and stakeholders working together. Having a platform that enables users to share data, feedback, and insights in real time can improve communication and foster a more cohesive approach.
It's essential to evaluate the reputation of software vendors before purchasing CSRD software to increase confidence in its quality and functionality.
- Check customer reviews for insights. Focus on recent reviews for relevant feedback.
- Reviewing testimonials can offer a detailed perspective on software's functionality, effectiveness, and customer support. You can find them on the vendor's website or by contacting clients directly.
- Check case studies provided by the vendor to see how the software can benefit your specific needs.
I've reviewed the above tools, and Convene ESG stands out as the premier choice for its intuitive handling of ESG risks and opportunities.
The platform offers a seamless, adaptable interface that caters to businesses of all sizes.
Its comprehensive toolkit, from integrated data management to sophisticated analysis and stakeholder engagement, makes it a robust ally for any company serious about mastering sustainability reporting and strategy.
For further reading here are links to relevant articles and regulatory guidelines.