The Future of ESG Sustainability: Lessons Learned at COP28

Last Published: Dec 22, 2023 |
Levent Ergin
Levent Ergin

Global Chief Strategist for ESG Sustainability & Global Head of ESG Strategic Alliance Partnerships at Informatica

The United Nations (UN) 28th annual climate meeting (COP28) was an inspiring opportunity to be immersed in the pivotal dialogues among governments addressing how to mitigate and prepare for future climate change.

In this blog, I share essential insights gained from these discussions and detail the collaborative endeavors Informatica is taking to shape a sustainable path forward.

Advancing Sustainability: Key Frameworks and Initiatives in Global ESG Reporting

Back in 2015, 191 nations signed the Paris Agreement,1 a legally binding accord that aims to restrict the rise in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This measure seeks to prevent severe climate change, which has a negative impact on our planet, its inhabitants and ultimately the economy. At COP28, a pivotal point of discussion centered around the global stocktake, evaluating how far we have come in reducing our carbon emissions to slow down global warming. Since 2015, countries have come a long way. Notably, most of the G20 countries2 have made Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)3 disclosures mandatory for companies since the Paris Agreement — unquestionably a step in the right direction.

At a time when there are more than 500 voluntary sustainability reporting frameworks and so many different regulatory standards, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation has established the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB)4 with the intent to initiate a global ESG reporting baseline. In June of 2023, the ISSB achieved a significant milestone by releasing the first ESG global reporting baseline framework,known as IFRS S1 and IFRS S2, heavily drawing on the foundations laid by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).6 Most of the G77 and G20 financial ministers and central banks have now made a commitment to adopt ISSB’s S1 and S2 frameworks. However, the implementation process is expected to take some time. 

Empowering ESG Transparency: Informatica and the NZDPU Initiative

Informatica played a part in the Net-Zero Data Public Utility (NZDPU)8 working group this year, which unveiled its inaugural proof of concept9 at COP28The NZDPU is set to offer a public data utility that will democratize access to data from CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), an organization to which 23,000 companies currently report. Informatica is at the forefront, assisting customers in acquiring CDP data to gain further insights about corporate entities within their supply chains. We are excited about the NZDPU efforts in making ESG data more accessible and democratic. Our commitment to supporting such initiatives through our Intelligent Data Management Cloud for ESG remains steadfast.

ESG Data Strategies and AI Innovation: Our Contributions and Collaborations 

Informatica had the honor of speaking at COP28, invited by the Estonian Ministry of Climate and the UN Science Business Policy Forum. Our presentation focused on how we assist companies in developing their ESG data strategies and leveraging AI. A key topic we addressed was the critical importance of trust in data and AI. During the session, I shared all the latest innovations at Informatica with IDMC for ESG. We are dedicated to helping our customers break down data siloes, instill trust in their ESG data and integrate third-party ESG data. These efforts are crucial for companies to gain new insights and meet their ESG sustainability objectives.

In addition to integrating data from CDP, I also discussed how Informatica leverages third-party data sources to unlock insights using satellite and remote sensing data. This approach enables companies to identify the precise carbon emissions of physical assets in their supply chain, enhancing the accuracy of their emissions reporting. It marks a shift away from conventional spend-based methods traditionally used to calculate and estimate carbon emissions. With satellite and remote sensing data, companies can leverage the true power of data insights. This allows them to identify carbon intensive hotspots and focus decarbonization efforts where it matters most.

I also had the privilege of presenting at the Microsoft booth, where I discussed the innovations that Informatica and Microsoft are unlocking through IDMC for ESG and Microsoft Sustainability for Cloud. Our focus was on the importance of using clean, trusted ESG data. This forms the foundation for data-driven decarbonisation insights, especially when combined with the latest AI innovations. These solutions are designed for our customers, ensuring that they are not only able to comply with ESG regulations using auditable and verifiable data, but also to create positive business impacts. The role our partners and customers play is vital in actualizing the potential of ESG data and AI, bringing these concepts to life. 

During my time at COP28, I had the chance to catch up with our partners, including Deloitte. A recurring theme in our conversations was the importance of data availability, trustworthiness and democratization in driving sustainability transformations.

Additionally, I had the pleasure of engaging with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), a valued Informatica customer. In our conversation, they emphasized the importance of sustainability for FAB. Unsurprisingly, sustainability emerged as a top priority for them, with data quality and governance serving as a cornerstone in their sustainability and green finance decision-making processes.

In summary, a central discussion at COP28 revolved around the global stocktake, assessing our progress in reducing carbon emissions to slow down global warming. The emphasis was on the importance of using clean, trusted ESG data. In this context, the Informatica IDMC for ESG Sustainability emerges as an essential tool, empowering companies to overcome their ESG sustainability data challenges. 

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First Published: Dec 21, 2023