Compliance software and ESG: How audit tools help demonstrate sustainability

Voit, Stefan | 15.02.2023
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Whether it’s EU taxonomy, supply chain act, or simply the desire of consumers: Demonstrating sustainability transparently is becoming increasingly important for thousands of companies across all industries. Compliance software helps to deal with ESG criteria in a structured way—and to document results. Find out how it does this and what to look out for when selecting it.

Content of this article

  • What are the benefits of using compliance software to demonstrate ESG criteria?
  • How can compliance software help demonstrate ESG criteria?
  • How can compliance software help demonstrate ESG criteria?
  • What requirements must compliance software meet for ESG criteria?
  • Why the ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 standards help in the selection of software. 
  • Compliance software: A useful helper for sustainability verification

What are the benefits of using compliance software to demonstrate ESG criteria?

ESG criteria include environmental, social, and governance requirements. They are designed to ensure that companies operate more sustainably—across all three categories of sustainability: economic, environment, and social.

To ensure that business complies, more and more companies are required to submit ESG reporting to demonstrate their efforts. This is costly in terms of time and resources.

Compliance software helps to verify whether ESG criteria are being met in one's own company. It also helps to document successes and efforts. This brings numerous advantages:

  • Saving resources by centrally managed standards, guidelines and laws
  • Benefit from synergy effects through a central database and a shared IT infrastructure instead of scattered isolated solutions
  • Audit-proof evidence of ESG compliance thanks to periodic auditing, automated reporting, and consistent documentation
  • Greater transparency, holistic organizational management, and faster, more data-based management decisions
  • Overview of complex networks of requirements and relationships
  • Control of and overview of all non-conformities and necessary corrective measures (measures and control management)

Ideally, the selected compliance software also includes an integrated risk management and internal control system (ICS). This creates synergy effects of the different GRC and audit disciplines.

How can compliance software help demonstrate ESG criteria?

Compliance software is designed to process catalogs of requirements regularly, completely and in an audit-proof manner. The requirements or audits can be prescribed by law or individually specified or adapted—and accordingly also tailored to the ESG criteria.

In order for compliance software to be able to verify ESG criteria, it must first know which requirements the company must comply with. To learn this, it is given the necessary information. Which qualitative and quantitative ESG targets are to be achieved can be determined with the help of various requirements:

  • Management system catalogs
  • Industry-specific standards
  • Legal requirements and regulations
  • Internal company codes of conduct
  • Checklists

Once the software knows the ESG criteria to be checked, a structured and documented analysis of all individual requirements is possible. This allows deviations and risks to be identified at an early stage so that they can be counteracted in time. Based on the results of all checks, the compliance software can also generate regular mandatory ESG reports.

What requirements must compliance software meet for ESG criteria?

For compliance software to provide companies with reliable support in demonstrating ESG criteria, it should meet certain requirements. These include:

  • Mapping of organization-specific and industry-specific regulations
  • Integration of widespread laws and standards via standardized requirement catalogs
  • Possibility of periodic, individual reporting
  • Modular design for institution-specific purposes
  • Interfaces to important third-party systems for smooth data transfer

Especially when it comes to ESG, it also makes sense for the software to originate from within the European Union and for the tool manufacturer to have a professional understanding of the most important national and international (especially at the EU level) specifications and standards. This basic understanding should then also be reflected in the development of the GRC software.

Why the ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 standards help in software selection

The two international standards ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 are very important when choosing compliance software—or more precisely, the vendor. Companies that are compliant to ISO 9001 meet high standards in the area of quality management. These include monitoring and review of internal and external strategic matters, process orientation, continuous improvement, and risk management, among others. ISO 27001, on the other hand, specifies which requirements apply to the information security management system (ISMS) and how information security risks are systematically assessed and (preventively) addressed across institutions.

Compliance software: a useful helper for sustainability verification

Compliance software helps to document and prove ESG criteria. It provides more transparency, facilitates holistic organizational management and helps to make informed management decisions faster. This saves resources, time and money—while reducing the risk of fines or image damage.

It is important to select the software calmly and to systematically query all relevant requirements. It is helpful to choose an established manufacturer that can provide long-term support in the reliable implementation of compliance requirements. Ideally, the software manufacturer should have sufficient project and consulting experience or, alternatively, have a suitable partner network. After all, the tool processes a lot of intimate company data that needs to be protected.

Are you interested in investing into a compliance software? We would be happy to show you how our multistandard solution OMNITRACKER Governance, Risk and Compliance Center can help you comply with all norms, standards and laws in an economical, sustainable and audit-proof manner.



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