Best Practices: Creating An RFP For ESG Reporting And Data Management Software

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Executive Summary

Firms are under increased pressure to improve and report on their sustainability performance, whether this is to meet regulatory requirements or to cater to demands from shareholders, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders. The EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) alone will require roughly 49,000 firms to disclose sustainability information as soon as 2024. Over 100 software vendors – ranging from small start-ups to major enterprise applications and platforms – have developed digital solutions to help corporates with this challenge. This report provides heads of ESG and sustainability – as well as other buyers of ESG reporting and data management software – with guidance on how to design a request for proposal (RFP), in order to navigate this crowded market and meet their firm’s specific needs, taking into account product functionality, services and customer support, as well as industry-specific experience.  

Table of contents

There Is Growing Demand For ESG Reporting Software
Corporates Face A Wide Variety Of Challenges With ESG Reporting
Considerations When Selecting A Software Vendor
Evaluate Services And Partnerships
Ensure Key Functionality Is Embedded In The Software
Look For Vendors With Industry-Specific Functionality And Experience

Table of figures

Figure 1. ESG Information Architecture Components
Figure 2. Questions To Ask When Preparing An RFP 
Figure 3. Examples Of Vendors’ Industry-Specific Experience

Organisations mentioned

AbbVie, AECOM, Agnico Eagle, Air Canada, Akamai, Al Dahra, Aldo, Allergan, Amundi Asset Management, APlanet, Asana, Baker Hughes, Benchmark ESG, Biogen, Boston Properties, Brembo, BuildESG, Campbell Soup Company, Castik Capital, Castolin Eutectic, CBRE, CDP, Citi, City of Phoenix, City of San Diego, Clarity AI, Conservice ESG, Cority, Danske Bank, De Beers, Deepki, DevonWay, Diligent Corporation, Dow Jones, DS Smith, Enablon, Endeavor Mining, ERG, ESG Book, ESG Playbook, Eurazeo, EY, Fiat Chrysler, FigBytes, Ford, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), GPA Global, GPT Group, Greenomy, GRESB, Hospital Care, IAMGOLD, IBM, IBM Global Real Estate, Intelex, International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), IsoMetrix, Kinder Morgan, Lavazza, Lazard, Locus Technologies, Manulife, Measurabl, MESA Group, Meta, NASDAQ, Naturgy, NAVEX Global, Norvestor, Novata, Novisto, O3 Mining, Oakley Capital, OneTRust, Orsero Group, Persefoni, Port Authority NY NJ, Position Green, Primonial REIM, ProcessMAP, PwC, Reporting 21, Sage, Salesforce, Salzgitter, Sanofi, Santander, SAP, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Sphera, State of Minnesota, Subaru, SUSE, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Swedbank, Swiss Life Asset Managers, Target, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Tate & Lyle, The Clorox Company, Torex Gold Resources, UL Solutions, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), VelocityEHS, Virgin Atlantic, WayCarbon, Wendel, Wolters Kluwer, Workiva, Worldfavor, XBRL US

About the authors

Jessica Pransky

Principal Analyst
Jessica is a Principal Analyst in the Verdantix ESG & Sustainability practice, which she joined in 2022. Her current research agenda covers ESG reporting and data management software, ESG solutions for investors, and risk in ESG and sustainability. Prior to joining Verdantix, Jessica worked at Ramboll, focusing on ESG risk and opportunity identification for mergers and acquisitions, as well as EHS due diligence. Jessica has previously held roles evaluating water resource allocation for a state municipality and ensuring EHS compliance for GE Aviation. She holds a BS from Tufts University and an MEng from Johns Hopkins University focused on environmental engineering, as well as an MBA from Boston University.

Kim Knickle

Research Director, ESG & Sustainability
Kimberly Knickle is Research Director of the ESG & Sustainability practice at Verdantix. Her research areas encompass ESG regulations and reporting, ESG risk, supply chain sustainability, circular economy, social impact, and sustainable finance. Kim has worked for more than 20 years in the IT industry, providing research and analysis to help companies invest wisely in new technologies. Before joining the analyst industry, she held various roles in IT services, engineering and product safety testing, beginning her career at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. Kim holds an MBA from Boston University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell.

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