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ESG is Magnifying Data Management Challenges

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Data management strategies necessarily have to change with markets, with trading trends, with technology and with a host of other inputs that inform the ever-changing financial landscape.

Without effective management, data is useless. If it can’t be accessed, if it isn’t clean, if it is out of date or if it can’t be found then it can’t be used. And when that happens the insights it can offers are lost and organisations will find themselves at a huge competitive disadvantage.

When it comes to ESG data, however, those challenges are magnified. The data itself is often difficult to source, it comes in a variety of formats, it’s rarely time sequenced and it isn’t standardised. In short, ESG has become the data challenge of our age for financial institutions – a challenge that ESG Insight’s next webinar will discuss in depth.

Leading figures from the world of ESG data management and consumption will meet online on November 22 to survey the issues that are key to successful ESG data management.

“It comes down to how does an organisation effectively gets access to that evolving landscape of data both more strategically and seamlessly to resolve for a pervasive set of use cases,” says Rinesh Patel, global head of financial services at cloud data management provider Snowflake.

“With ESG data you’ve got a sourcing issue, because ESG means different things and there are lots of different data vendors to navigate. Moreso, you’ve also got an ingest problem because all of these different datasets come in different formats in different frequencies and different reporting standards around them’.

Patel is among speakers due to join the webinar, along with Matthew Mernagh, head of ESG data at Deutsche Bank, and Ben Corris, head of ESG models at Schroders.

Why Change?

ESG has prompted companies, in the most part, to completely rethink the way they operate and do business. One of the fundamental questions, which will be discussed at the webinar, will be why financial institutions have embarked on a sustainability journey in the first place.

“There are two basic drivers of ESG adoption,” said Schroders’ Corris. “The first is that long-term investors increasingly recognise the growing importance of sustainability in forming high-quality investment views; the second driver is that clients share this understanding.”

Among other issues facing ESG data management teams that the webinar will cover is regulatory obligations, which are changing all the time within the relatively new ESG space. This year, for instance, ESG became a factor in reporting under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and next year two more requirements under the European Union’s far-reaching Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation (SFDR) will go live.

How, for instance, will data managers accommodate an ESG regulatory landscape that suffers from the lack of a standardised reporting framework, must deal with huge gaps in the data record and comprises overseers around the world that have a different view on sustainability from each other?

Cloud Solutions

One of the topics that will be touched on is a strategy that many say is providing them with a solution to these challenges: the use of the cloud for managing ESG data. Off-prem solutions have created opportunities to manage ESG data in ways with which in-house setups have long struggled, says Corris.

“Sustainability is such a multifaceted area, which means the volume of data provides its own challenge,” he tells ESG Insight. “This need for efficient large-scale compute is driving us towards the cloud.”

Cloud, he suggests, may also provide financial institutions with a way to solve their own sustainability challenges.

“We recognise that cloud computing is less carbon intensive than traditional infrastructure which helps us make our own business more sustainable,” Corris added.

The webinar, entitled “The keys to ESG data management success” will be held at 10:00am ET/3:00pm London/4:00pm CET.

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