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The Power of Automation to Process Sustainability Requests

How software empowers sustainability teams by accelerating the tedious process of responding to sustainability questionnaires, ESG ratings or reporting checklists

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Case name

Jeannette Dinh
Senior Marketing & Sales Manager

Increasing Requirements to Verify Sustainability in Supply Chains

Newly introduced legislation, increased industry standards and growing customer expectations are calling for more evidence of sustainable practices in supply chains, and businesses must take action. Due to guidelines such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and an increasing number of frameworks and methodologies for sustainability assessments, the practice of reporting on sustainability is becoming more complex than ever before.

As stakeholders' trust in available public information on sustainability topics is decreasing, suppliers are expected to provide robust evidence and accountable statements on sustainable developments, such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or the management of internal sustainability targets.

If this evidence is not provided, there is a risk of significant sales losses and even the loss of customer relationships, as well as fines in the millions in the future. Bank of America, for example, has found that controversies related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues may cost S&P 500 companies a market capitalization of USD 534 billion.

Mounting Pressure on Sustainability Teams

Sustainability teams in the supply chain industry are facing mounting pressure from both inside and outside the company to provide audit-ready information about a company's sustainability performance. They need to oversee and handle a variety of sustainability requirements and assessment systems for their customers.

This can be overwhelming given the large amount of diverse sustainability frameworks, standards, and methodologies out there on the one hand, and the varying requirements of customers on the other hand.

Some requests are based on standardized questionnaires, such as annual customer audits and ESG ratings, whereas others may have their own unique information demands and specific data formats.

As a result, sustainability professionals spend much of their time deciphering ESG rating schemes, reporting checklists or sustainability questionnaires. In addition, they need to collect and organize evidence, and respond to the requests from various internal and external stakeholders.

Responding to Sustainability Requests: A Tedious Task

Currently, responding to sustainability requests and assessments is a predominantly manual process. It involves the tedious collection of evidence and data from different departments, such as sales, finance or compliance. Sustainability teams are bogged down by the repetitive nature of collecting and collating evidence.

Relevant information is often stored in spreadsheets and documents scattered across and beyond the organization. The answers to questions are sent by email and processed one by one.  It's no wonder that one easily loses track of things in such a manual environment. In addition, these processes are prone to errors and pose a risk to the accuracy and quality of the responses.

As stakeholder demands change rapidly with the increasing regulatory and customer expectations, the complexity of handling sustainability-related requests will skyrocket in the near future. Companies must demonstrate their commitment sustainability, and responses will require constant attention and adaptation to prove continuous progress.

The Sunhat Way

This is where Sunhat’s software solution comes in - Sunhat empowers sustainability teams to be more productive by helping them efficiently respond to sustainability requests from customers or any other stakeholder group.  Different stakeholder groups have different perspectives on sustainability that typically involve various functions and departments throughout an organization.

Sunhat’s software solution reduces the time and effort required to prepare responses and ensures an up-to-date process for collecting evidence from across and beyond an organization:

  • Sunhat allows users to easily import any type of request format to the system, and consolidates all requests into one unified view.
  • Incoming questions are automatically organized and mapped against hundreds of data points from past requests to provide auto-answers.
  • Sunhat suggests new matching answers based on templates and best-practice processes.
  • Sunhat provides teams with a collaborative central workspace for responses, using robust processes to uphold the quality of evidence.

The software is purposefully crafted with customer needs in mind and is user-friendly and easily accessible, integrating seamlessly with an organization's BI or EHSQ tools.

The Power of Sustainability Request Automation

Automated response processes to all types of sustainability requests can save more than 50% of a sustainability professional’s time compared to the longer and manual process of the past.*

The result is a more productive, efficient and effective team, empowered to achieve their goals and focus on what truly matters driving progress and making a meaningful impact. This not only attracts but also retains talent in a flourishing and competitive field such as sustainability management.

In addition, Sunhat's approach helps sustainability professionals develop their strategy based on insights gained from comparing stakeholder requirements with the company's progress and goals.

The Team Behind Sunhat

The Sunhat team around Lukas (CEO), Ali (CTO) and Alex (COO) blends engineering excellence and sustainability expertise to create software that is fully dedicated to the customer. With years of experience in software development, they focus on streamlining the entire process, from mapping requirements to preparing and maintaining the requested information.

The whole team is united behind the goal of empowering individuals and teams to make the most impact with their work.

Lukas and Alex have accumulated years of experience and extensive knowledge in the startup and investment industry. Working for a leading venture capital firm in Europe, Lukas is familiar with the tedious process of responding to ESG questionnaires from investors, while Alex' role as Innovation Principal at his previous company has given him first-hand experience of the potential of implementing automation software to simplify manual processes.

Ali brings an impressive track record in developing enterprise technology solutions. While working at a leading enterprise architecture management company, he headed a team of developers and acquired significant expertise in developing software to solve complex problems.

Sunhat targets businesses and industries with high opportunities to drive impactful progress throughout their value chain, currently focusing on commodity traders, manufacturers of consumables and suppliers of raw materials.

Yet demand for sustainability evidence from consumers, capital markets and the public eye is rapidly increasing, making it more important than ever to automate responses to sustainability requests across all industries.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with our expert team at Sunhat.

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