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4 methods to build ESG business value with satellite data


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Sustainability is now a small business imperative and much more companies are buying environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

ESG-oriented investing has experienced a meteoric rise. Global sustainable investment now tops $30 trillion up 68% since 2014, McKinsey & Company predicted in 2019.

Companies are paying more focus on ESG standards as corporate responsibility becomes increasingly vital that you communities, customers, employees and investors. In 2020, the planet Economic Forum published a framework for consistent standards to aid integrated annual reporting. Many leading organizations have since adopted it.

At the best level, ESG standards operationalize and align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):


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  1. Environment, including climate change, management of greenhouse gases (GHG), effect on biodiversity, water neutrality, polluting of the environment, waste and reuse of resources.
  2. Social, concentrating on relationships with customers, employees, suppliers along with other stakeholders.
  3. Governance, with focus on internal practices and controls to create effective decisions, adhere to legal requirements and are accountable to external stakeholders.

ESG standards can sound restrictive, however they certainly are a framework that truly creates business value in a number of ways. McKinsey & Company finds that ESG initiatives increase top-line growth by experiencing new markets and expanding current ones. It permits improved trust among customers, reduce operating costs through better energy consumption, waste disposal along with other inefficiencies. This minimizes regulatory and legal interventions and raises employee productivity by establishing a solid external-value proposition.

Research by KPMG has found that 80% of companies worldwide now report on sustainability. Environmental sustainability reporting has made significant gains recently with 63% of organizations prioritizing climate-change emission reporting.

As these initiatives proliferate, climate technologies are emerging increasingly more. Indeed, McKinsey & Company estimates that 35-45% of the technologies had a need to solve the net-zero equation are in development.

Despite the fact that life on land and in water remains well behind, with significantly less than 20% of organizations prioritizing biodiversity-based ecosystem sustainability, these areas are quickly emerging as regulatory requirements in lots of regions.

No such thing as an excessive amount of data

Much like most significant initiatives, data is essential. Development of the technologies and the programs that deploy them depend on data. With accurate, accessible and actionable data, organizations could make better business decisions, evaluate detailed results, and create more precise reports.

One emerging databases originates from satellites. Well beyond weather forecasting and online maps, modern satellites now produce prodigious levels of data that help evaluate what goes on on the floor. Actually, with predictive modeling, its even possible to anticipate and plan likely future scenarios with great precision. The most recent views from space offer fresh, useful and prompt perspectives on understanding and solving the issues below.

What data can satellites provide?

Currently, a lot more than 1,000 satellites enter orbit each year, carrying an array of capabilities. Various technologies, such as for example multispectral bands and synthetic aperture radar (SAR), capture high-resolution images, a few of which the eye cannot interpret unaided. With expertly trained artificial intelligence (AI), the digital images yield data about chlorophyll content and moisture levels in vegetation, releases of greenhouse gasses, the extent of biodiversity and much more.

With historical data from the previous hour and also a previous decade, AI analysis can detect in-depth trends in asset health, quality of air, terrain, flora, fauna, and several other factors typically unavailable in boots-on-the-ground analysis. In a position to inspect a lot more than 10,000 miles each day, AI-powered satellites can slice the labor costs of routine, physical inspections, freeing up budget and workforce to spotlight the higher-value, exceptional areas of their work.

ESG: You cant improve everything you cant measure

Among the applications of this data would be to measure progress in ESG initiatives. The approach adopted by the US is called measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), which includes seen wide acceptance by governments and industries. Essentially, MRV is necessary because corporate and governmental commitments to sustainability metrics require baseline measurements to compare against ongoing progress measurements.

Typically, ESG and sustainability measurements belong to four areas.

One area may be the nature-based measurement of land and water. It offers carbon stocks and annual change, biodiversity, water extraction, return water quality, contribution to polluting of the environment impacts and changes in land use.

The next common area is GHG emission monitoring to quantity GHG levels, which are reported with regards to CO2 equivalents from operational activities and progress toward reducing GHG targets.

The 3rd is carbon offset measurements, which are generally used in a technique to net out operational emissions which are hard to replace.

Fourth is biodiversity measurement of sustaining life, including species and habitats. Unlike carbon and GHG measurements, there is absolutely no widely accepted standard unit to measure biodiversity, though many measures do exist.

4 methods to increase business value for ESG using satellite data

With all this in mind, here are a few methods to use satellite data to buildbusiness value from ESG initiatives. They’re especially ideal for industries which have assets distributed over large geographic areas, including electric utilities, gas utilities, energy, water and wastewater, mining and transportation.

1. Optimize operations

Satellites can offer valuable info on weather, land, and vegetation to optimize day-to-day business operations. For instance, electric utility companies can reference satellite images when maintaining their distribution and transmission corridors. Satellite data may also help coal and oil companies plan pipeline routes, detect leaks, identify encroachments and stop environmental disasters. Other core industries with widely distributed assets, such as for example mining and transportation, also reap the benefits of regular evaluations of these assets health insurance and risks.

2. Evaluate environmental impact

Land mapping really helps to monitor environmentally friendly ramifications of various assets, nonetheless it has historically required hiring professional environmentalists to inspect the land by walking or from helicopters throughout multiple days. The expense of these procedures limits their scope and how frequently they could be used.

Now, satellites can complete land surveys in a matter of a few days for 10-20 times less cost. Water and wastewater organizations are on the list of beneficiaries of the advancements. Faster and cheaper satellite land surveys can be carried out more regularly and for more accurate verification of gains and losses within environmental footprints.

3. Predict and mitigate challenges

Satellite data allows organizations to generate accurate, predictive models to reduce their environmental impact by establishing set up a baseline and measuring progress against biodiversity net-gain goals, as may be the case for several land development in the united kingdom.

For instance, satellite data allows oil companies to forecast just how much environmental damage should come from laying a fresh offshore pipeline and form their mitigation plans. Similarly, satellite data might help energy utilities forecast vegetation growth to allow them to manage rights-of-way, detect invasive vegetation and stop potential outages and wildfires. The info helps them deploy maintenance crews before equipment and land are compromised.

4. Demonstrate progress to stakeholders

Satellite data also offers a solution to measure, improve and report environmental metrics to customers, investors and regulatory bodies.

For instance, satellite data really helps to monitor carbon, methane along with other greenhouse gas emissions to ensure regulatory standards and public commitments are met. Transportation companies and power utilities may use the info to carefully plan and manage routes through wetlands along with other sensitive areas that host protected species.

Underneath line for ESG

Ultimately, climate technologies, like satellites, enhance the accuracy of information utilized by core industries, enhancing the potency of their ESG efforts and relationships with communities, customers, employees and investors while simultaneously creating a better future for everybody.

ESG-savvy businesses can transform their operations, maintenance, and sustainability in industries with geographically distributed assets through the use of satellites and AI. With usage of a continual, near real-time blast of dependable, critical data, core industries could make more informed decisions and optimize long-term plans, all while reducing costs, improving reliability and achieving their sustainability goals.

Abhishek Singh may be the cofounder and CEO ofAiDash.


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