The importance of data visualisation in ESG reports

Data analytics play a key role in ESG efforts, as they help us see how our business and internal processes work, how we communicate our sustainability achievements transparently and in a data-driven manner. However, for ESG reporting, it is crucial not only to collect data but also to present data in the right way. It is where data visualisation can help decision-makers see the connections between data more quickly and make business decisions based on that data.


ESG is an EU directive that encourages small, medium and large enterprises to develop a corporate ecosystem that supports the transition to green energy, promotes social responsibility and ensures transparent corporate governance processes for employees and other stakeholders. Under the European Union's Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), all large listed companies, banks and companies with more than 500 employees are required to report since 2018. From 2024, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will come into force, covering an additional 50,000 European companies, extending the reporting obligation. This will make companies more transparent about their environmental impact and financial performance, particularly in relation to green, sustainable initiatives.




However, for ESG reporting, it is essential to define the KPI data (what to measure), the data sources (where to measure it from) and the analysis method and interface (how to evaluate it). ESG data is divided into three pillars: environmental, social and governance. 



Environmental data is essential for companies to assess their ecological footprint and develop more efficient practices. Accurate measurement of environmental impacts enables companies to identify opportunities for improvement in sustainability areas and value-creating solutions. With environmental data, companies can determine how they should adapt their business processes and operations to reduce their ecological footprint while maximising their positive impact on the environment.

Social indicators, such as workforce diversity and respect for human rights, are key to corporate social responsibility efforts. These data are not only statistical information, but also define a company's ethical values and social commitment. Data on workforce diversity reflect a company's commitment to creating an inclusive work environment, while human rights indicators demonstrate a company's commitment to ethical business practices. Such data dispel uncertainty among stakeholders, enhance the credibility of the company and foster mutual trust between society and the company.

Data on corporate governance shows the management structure, details decision-making processes and reveals corporate values. With this information, companies create transparency in the management hierarchy and present a more transparent strategy to stakeholders. The presentation of the management structure and decision-making processes enhances the credibility and accountability of companies, while supporting the development of effective corporate governance. Corporate governance data helps stakeholders, including investors and shareholders, to better understand corporate operations and decisions, fostering trust and long-term success.




This information provides us with a mix of qualitative and quantitative data, and data visualisation helps companies to evaluate quantifiable data sources. Using data visualisation, the collected data can be presented graphically, typically in the form of charts, graphs and data maps, to provide a structured, deeper understanding of environmental, social and governance data. You can read more on this topic by clicking here, where we have explained in detail the data visualisation tools and their use cases in a previous blog post.



In the area of comparative analysis, data visualisation helps to compare ESG indicators across different time periods, business units and industry benchmarks. Visualisation tools help companies to easily see how their sustainability performance compares to their competitors, for example. 

Interactive dashboards and reports enable real-time data monitoring, giving managers and stakeholders instant access to the latest ESG data, providing a real-time view of a company's ESG performance. This data provides important information not only to internal decision makers, but also to external stakeholders (e.g. shareholders, supervisory board). Real-time dashboards increase transparency in the company's operations.


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Geopositional visualisation of environmental impacts is a powerful tool for companies, as it maps the environmental footprint of their operations. It gives companies a detailed and spatial overview of the areas where the environmental impacts of their operations are most significant. Geopositional visualisation allows companies to easily identify sensitive areas where environmental challenges or sustainability concerns require priority attention. 

Ensuring data quality is key to effective and reliable business decisions. Visualisation enables data quality to be monitored and improved. Interactive graphs and charts allow users to easily spot any anomalies or gaps in the data. In addition, dynamic visualisation contributes to data cleansing processes.



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