Tech platform to assist ASX companies in ESG reporting

Small and medium sized ASX listed companies can measure, monitor and report their material environmental, social and governance (ESG) exposures through a new technology platform linked to the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s ESG Global Standard Metrics.

Socialsuite produces technology for a diverse range of organisations - including governments, not-for-profits and philanthropies as well as corporates - to assist them in monitoring their impact on people, such as measuring the value of social investment programs to enhance accountability reporting. The company is making a foray into the listed ASX world by developing a solution that allows companies to measure and report their value on sustainability metrics aligned with the WEF's 21 material ESG metrics, launched in September 2020.

Socialsuite is partnering with six ASX companies - Euro Manganese Inc (ASX:EMN), Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL), Elixir Energy (ASX:EXR), Minbos Resources Limited (ASX:MNB), Myfiziq (ASX:MYQ), and Whitehawk (ASX:WHK). These six companies are collecting their internal data to these metrics  and will report that information using Socialsuite's platform.

The WEF released its Global Standard Metrics last year, which were developed in collaboration with Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC. The metrics are based on four pillars - Principles of Governance, Planet, People, and Prosperity, and draw linkages to reporting standards including GRI, International Accounting Standards, SASB, the TCFD, CDSB and others.

"The big four accounting firms know the difficulties in collecting ESG metrics in reality and delivering these measurement frameworks in real world scenarios," said Damian Hajda, co-founder of Socialsuite. "When we saw the WEF framework that the big accounting firms helped develop , we felt it was the most mature set of metrics that we could adapt for use by small to medium ASX listed companies to reporting the actual ESG metrics or whether the ESG indicator is material to the company, as well as being able to verify and report if progress on each metric had happened."

Hajda noted that the WEF outputs could be aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other frameworks as well.

The WEF metrics platform is designed to assist smaller ASX listed companies who often lack the additional resources to track, manage and report on ESG indicators, Hajda said. The company draws on its experience in working with the NFP and philanthropy sectors.

"Socialsuite is essentially a data collection platform that collects longitudinal information from stakeholders over time," he said. "It can work with any metrics over time - the SDGs, WEF, disability metrics, etc. We've got 120 different sets of metrics that have been assembled to collect information."

Vulcan Energy, a company that is aiming to be a zero carbon lithium producer for electric vehicle batteries, is using the Socialsuite platform to track its environmental and social impacts, said Francis Wedin, managing director.

"What we do as a company is really heavily skewed to the environmental side, but it does filter into the social side as well," Wedin said. "We're building renewables projects and have a battery raw materials project in Germany, so there's a lot of input into the social side. In terms of governance, we have some big company experience on our board and we wanted to be committed to that from the beginning, to be a best in class.

"In terms of how we communicate that, we lead with the zero carbon lithium commitment. We are not using fossil fuels in the process, and we have communicated that from the beginning, and we are committed to producing more renewable energy than we consume, so having a net negative footprint."

Vulcan Energy has committed to reporting against the WEF metrics as part of the partnership with Socialsuite.

"It will be an evolving process throughout the company's life," Wedin said. "We are a development company, so our actual impacts on the ground is virtually zero at the moment, while we go through the engineering stages of the company. We're quantifying the carbon footprints of our offices, we always stay with net zero with travel, etc., but in terms of actual impact on theg round that will be fairly minimal on the ground."

However, Wedin acknowledged that the greater environmental impact of Vulcan Energy's products will come through its lifecycle.

"Independently we've developed a lifecycle analysis with an independent consultancy, which monitors the potential future impact of pollution, particulate matter, water impact, as well as carbon emissions," Wedin said. "We want to benchmark against that, and continuously feed that back into the company."

Read more: SocialsuiteVulcan EnergyESG Global Standard MetricsWorld Economic ForumDamian HajdaDeloitteEYFrancis WedinGRIKPMGSASB
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