Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) issues are of increasing interest to regulators. With the COP26 climate change conference being held in Glasgow, the Financial Conduct Authority chose sustainability as the theme for their 2021 TechSprint. As a software engineer who doesn’t get out much (who does these days?), I was keen to get involved and give my understanding of the subject a big boost.

The TechSprint took place from 18-21 October, held as a virtual event. Having selected roles based on our skillset (“Hack”, naturally), we were mixed into 10 teams. I found myself in a team with top-tier participants from HSBC, JP Morgan, FCA and BlackRock. Our “visionary” brought us the challenge to try and analyse publically available sustainability reports through the prism of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and produce a tailored risk score for each goal. Despite the short timescale, our team gelled quickly and was able to demonstrate a working end-to-end prototype, and showing correlation with real ESG metrics. I’m proud to say this helped us win the “Fast Solution” award for the event. This was given for the solution that made best use of existing or nascent capabilities and able to be implemented in the fastest time.

Despite our success, it was clear that data standardization and machine readability are a critical requirement for sustainability reporting. The Global Reporting Initiative codified their sustainability reporting into an XBRL taxonomy over a decade ago. In September this year, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), now the Value Reporting Foundation released their XBRL taxonomy (which is, of course, supported by the True North Data Platform).

Over the next year, the European Commission will release the first set of standards for the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). It is expected that iXBRL will be the primary reporting format. The SASB and CRSD taxonomies together promise to vastly increase the ease of and amount of ESG data available to regulators and investors through more structured and transparent disclosure in these areas. Rest assured, CoreFiling will be there to provide what you need!

Overall FCA’s techsprint was a resounding success in kickstarting discussion and innovation, and CoreFiling will certainly look to get involved in future events.

The True North Data Platform taxonomy browser allows anyone to browse ESG and sustainability taxonomies. This includes the GRI taxonomy, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Climate Change Taxonomy, UK Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) and The SASB Taxonomy. Once released, the CSRD taxonomies will be published here too.

If you are looking for assistance with ESG data and reporting solutions, please contact our team.