As public awareness rises around such issues as the environment, human rights and ethical corporate governance, companies are increasingly looking to communicate their progress on these fronts to investors, prospective customers, regulators and the general public.
Collectively known as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), these non-financial factors have become a key focus of reporting for organizations, which realize that it is no longer simply about the bottom line. Investment decisions are increasingly based on how much an organization is doing to create a safe, sustainable and just world. What’s more, regulatory bodies are now requiring such reporting by law.
As such, getting their reporting right on ESG is crucial for companies that want to win new business and satisfy today’s socially conscious investors.
Enter Artificial Intelligence
A key component of a firm’s overall ESG performance is their record on Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) achievements. Are they doing enough to protect the mental and physical well-being of their workforce? How compliant are they with government-mandated health and safety regulations? How committed are they to protecting the environment? Are they only complying with regulations or are they above and beyond?
Companies need to gather and present this information in clearly worded, easy-to-digest reports, but producing them can be a monumental challenge. Data analysts must sift through myriad regulations, permits, plans, and many other types of documents just to get a complete picture. Then, from mountains of their own collected data, they must extract the relevant nuggets that indicate how well they are meeting their compliance obligations.
Fortunately, new technologies are helping organizations ease the reporting burden in many areas. Great strides, for instance, have been made in the areas of financial and legal reporting. Developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are removing much of the time-consuming manual labor from these processes, resulting in significant time and monetary savings.
Now, these cutting-edge technologies are beginning to enter the world of Environmental, Health and Safety. As we explored in an earlier post, ehsAI is playing a leading role at the intersection of AI/ML and ESG. Now, let’s take a deeper look at how the platform helps companies more easily meet their ESG objectives.
Making the ESG-EHS Connection
ehsAI breaks down EHS-related documents using patented algorithms that utilize deep Machine Learning. The platform identifies and organizes EHS requirements and recommendations from regulations, permits, plans and other types of documents in many different industries, including mining, oil and gas, pharmaceutical and manufacturing. As the platform is continually fed by this data on an ongoing basis, its power only continues to increase.
From this immense storehouse of information, AI that is based on this machine learning is applied to extract, organize and present concise and accurate compliance requirements that can be easily transferred to a customer’s EHS software solution. This automatically ensures the company’s data is aligned with its ESG strategies and reporting requirements.
Speaking a Natural Language
The patented behind-the-scenes technological wizardry does not stop there, however. The ehsAI platform also utilizes a concept known as Natural Language Processing (NLP). The output is a rich and reliable analysis of every sentence within a document, providing a consistent classification. The system identifies crucial requirements, optional mandates, events and recommendations that are relevant to a company’s ESG process, while excluding all text that is not.
From there, the application of NLP goes even deeper to identify specific information and extract it from the text. This includes such fields as names, units, limits, parameters and frequencies. This ensures that the extracted output from lengthy documents is always consistent and accurate.
A Bounty of ESG Benefits
The end result of the work these algorithms perform is a number of game-changing benefits for a company’s ESG reporting efforts.
First, the need to comb through hundreds of documents is eliminated. This frees up valuable time in the schedules of EHS, sustainability, social engagement and subject matter experts, allowing them to spend more of their time on higher-value tasks.
Another benefit is an improvement of up to 80 percent in process speeds, thanks to the application of Artificial Intelligence.
Third, companies can now get the complete picture of their ESG requirements. With AI, there is no more skipped or lost data. All of it can be managed, speeding decision-making workflows and providing the confidence that comes with a complete record of compliance data.
A fourth benefit is the ability to get unbiased, objective, and consistent interpretations of your ESG requirements. With ehsAI, there will be no worries of an auditor or regulatory body pointing out that a crucial piece of information has not been identified, managed, monitored and tracked.
Related ESG content:
- External Materiality and ESG: What You Should Be Looking For
- 5 ESG Policy Trends Changing Business: Now What?
- ESG Is Changing the Scope of EHS
- Four Reasons Why Senior Leaders Should Care about ESG Materiality
- ESG Data: What Should You Collect and Why?
- Top-of-Mind for EHS and ESG: Past, Present and Future