Mar 04 2024

The BRSR Software Buyer's Guide: 10 Must-Have Features for Streamlined Sustainability Reporting



The BRSR Software Buyer's Guide: 10 Must-Have Features for Streamlined Sustainability Reporting

It's official: India's top 1,000 listed companies are now required to disclose detailed information on their ESG performance under the new Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) framework. For many firms, this means a significant step up in their sustainability reporting game.

To meet the new requirements efficiently and effectively, having the right software tools is essential. But with a growing number of BRSR solutions on the market, each with their own unique features and pricing models, how do you know which one is right for your organisation?

As someone who has built one of the first BRSR platforms in India, I've seen firsthand what separates the best solutions from the rest. Here are the top 10 features I believe every company should prioritize in their BRSR software search:

Comprehensive BRSR metrics coverage: The most basic requirement for any BRSR solution is the ability to capture all the metrics specified in the framework. Look for a platform that comes pre-loaded with the full BRSR questionnaire, along with guidance on how to interpret and respond to each indicator.

Flexible data model: While the BRSR provides a standardized set of metrics, every company's data landscape is unique. Prioritize solutions that allow you to easily customize fields, calculations, and data relationships to match your specific needs and source systems.

Automated data collection: Manually entering data into your BRSR software is a recipe for errors and inefficiency. The best platforms offer pre-built connectors and APIs to automatically pull data from ERPs, HCMs, CRMs, and other enterprise systems, as well as tools for bulk uploading data from spreadsheets and other files.

Data validation and audit trails: To ensure the accuracy and integrity of your BRSR disclosures, look for features like real-time data validation, error flagging, and audit trails that track every change made to your data. Some platforms even offer built-in data assurance workflows to streamline the external verification process.

Collaboration and workflow management: BRSR reporting is a team sport, often involving multiple departments and data owners. Choose a solution that makes it easy to collaborate on data collection, review, and approval, with clear roles and permissions to ensure data security and accountability.

Performance tracking and analytics: The best BRSR platforms go beyond simple data collection to provide powerful tools for tracking and analyzing ESG performance over time. Look for features like performance benchmarking, trend analysis, and predictive modeling to help you identify risks and opportunities for improvement.

Stakeholder engagement and communication: Your BRSR disclosures are only valuable if they reach the right stakeholders in the right format. Prioritize solutions that offer a range of reporting and communication tools, from customizable dashboards and data visualizations to integrated content management and publishing capabilities.

Integration and interoperability: No BRSR platform is an island. To maximize efficiency and data integrity, look for solutions that can seamlessly integrate with your existing IT landscape, as well as with third-party tools like carbon accounting software and supplier sustainability platforms.

Scalability and future-proofing: As sustainability reporting requirements continue to evolve, you'll want a BRSR solution that can grow and adapt with your needs. Look for platforms with flexible architecture, regular updates and enhancements, and a clear product roadmap aligned with emerging trends and standards.

Vendor support and expertise: Implementing a new sustainability reporting system is a significant undertaking. When evaluating BRSR software providers, pay close attention to their level of customer support, training resources, and domain expertise. The best vendors will act as true partners in your sustainability journey, not just software sellers.

Of course, this is just a starting point. The specific features and capabilities you prioritize will depend on a range of factors, from your industry and company size to your reporting maturity and IT infrastructure. And let's be real - budget constraints and implementation timelines will always be a factor in any software decision.

But in my experience, companies that take the time to carefully evaluate their BRSR software options and choose a solution that aligns with their long-term sustainability strategy are the ones that reap the biggest benefits. They're able to streamline their reporting process, freeing up time and resources to focus on performance improvement. They're able to provide more transparent, accurate, and assured disclosures to investors and other stakeholders. And they're able to use sustainability data as a strategic asset to drive innovation and competitive advantage.

The BRSR mandate may be a compliance exercise, but it's also an opportunity - an opportunity to build a more resilient, responsible, and future-ready business. And in today's rapidly evolving ESG landscape, having the right technology partner by your side can make all the difference.

So as you embark on your BRSR software selection journey, keep these key features in mind - but also keep an open mind. The most powerful tools are often the ones we didn't know we needed. And the most transformative sustainability strategies are often the ones that challenge us to think beyond the checkbox.

The BRSR era is here. Is your company ready to lead the charge?

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Newtral AI Platform- Enterprise ESG Platform for Corporates and Supply Chain

We help organizations automate their ESG metric measurements, tracking and reporting across company as well as their supply chain. Our platform solves for all corporate sustainability reporting and carbon accounting needs.

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