The 11 best ESG software platforms for reporting in 2024

Prophix ImageProphix Feb 20, 2024, 12:00:00 AM

Navigating the world of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) software can be tricky – there’s so many choices out there, and they all offer unique benefits, advantages, and challenges. That's why we've put together a comparison of the top 11 ESG software platforms for 2024.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll break down what you need to know about ESG software, and how to make the right choice for your organization.

What is environmental, social, and governance (ESG)?

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) refers to a set of practices and metrics used to evaluate a company’s performance. ESG has gained popularity in recent years to evaluate a company’s risk in the marketplace, and their commitment to bettering the world.

ESG metrics are not commonly part of mandatory financial reporting, although companies are increasingly making disclosures in their annual reports or creating standalone "sustainability reports".

Environmental

Environmental metrics, as they relate to the measurement of ESG, usually include performance indicators on the impact on nature, materials, waste, pollution, water, greenhouse gases, and energy.

Often, the goal of ESG reporting is to demonstrate a company’s efforts to lessen their impact on the environment, by asking questions such as: How much water is being used in the manufacturing process? How many greenhouse gases does company travel generate? Where are materials sourced from?

Social

Social metrics measure how well a company is treating its employees, suppliers, community, and customers, by considering factors like an organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), compensation, and turnover.

If a company treats its employees well, this can indicate to investors that the organization is stable and a good investment.

Governance

Governance refers to how social and environmental metrics are measured and presented in financial reports. Governance also considers how a company’s social and environmental goals will impact their bottom line, and what achieving the goals will result in. It relates to how a company is governed and includes aspects such as board composition, executive compensation, audits and internal controls, shareholder rights, and transparency. 

What is ESG reporting?

ESG reporting is the process whereby companies disclose their environmental, social, and governance data in financial reports. The goal of ESG reporting is to improve transparency for investors and stakeholders and demonstrate that a company’s ESG projects are legitimate and progressing.

At this point in time, no standard for ESG reporting exists in North America. However, there are several regional reporting standards, voluntary standards, and legislation that can guide companies. In addition, organizations like the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) provide widely recognized frameworks. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) also offers specific guidelines for reporting on climate risks.

In contrast, the European Union has developed a robust set of ESG reporting standards in response to the EU Green Deal. The EU's Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) requires large companies to disclose certain information on the way they operate and manage social and environmental challenges. Furthermore, the EU is working on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which aims to strengthen sustainability reporting requirements.

How ESG reporting benefits companies

Companies can use ESG reporting to reap the benefits of:

  • Enhanced reputation: Companies that disclose their ESG metrics often see an enhanced reputation among customers, investors, and the wider public. This can lead to increased loyalty, a stronger brand, and the potential for greater market share.
  • Attracting investors: Many investors now incorporate ESG metrics into their decision-making process. By demonstrating strong ESG performance, companies can attract socially-conscious investors.
  • Reduced risk: ESG reporting helps identify and manage risks related to environmental, social, and governance issues. This can help prevent reputational damage, fines, or other negative impacts.
  • Cost savings: ESG initiatives often lead to more efficient use of resources, which can result in significant cost savings. For example, reducing energy consumption not only lowers environmental impact but also decreases utility bills.
  • Competitive advantage: As consumers become more aware of and concerned about sustainability issues, companies that demonstrate strong ESG performance can gain a competitive advantage.
  • Transparency: Transparency is increasingly important to stakeholders. ESG reporting demonstrates a company's commitment to openness and honesty about its impacts and efforts to improve.
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What is ESG software? 

ESG software is a tool designed to collect, validate, and compile Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data. ESG data can then be incorporated into standardized reports, which are circulated internally and externally. This data can also be used to support decision-making and help companies respond to risks.

Overall, ESG software simplifies the process of managing sustainability data and compliance with various ESG reporting standards.

Why is ESG software important?

ESG software is important because it can eliminate a lot of the manual effort associated with collecting and compiling sustainability data. ESG software can also create a single source of data truth for organizations, improving communication and giving stakeholders access to the data they need to make decisions.

Beyond these core benefits, embracing ESG software can keep your organization at the forefront of the changing regulatory environment and satisfy the increasing call for transparency in ESG performance.

How does ESG software work?

ESG software has functionality to support the reporting process, including:

  • Data collection: ESG software can validate data to ensure its accuracy and reliability. This is crucial because inaccurate data can lead to misleading ESG reports.
  • Data validation: ESG software can validate data to ensure its accuracy and reliability. This is crucial because inaccurate data can lead to misleading ESG reports.
  • Data compilation and analysis: ESG software can compile data into a centralized database, making it easier to analyze and understand. It can also analyze trends, compare performance against benchmarks, and highlight areas for improvement.
  • Reporting: ESG software often includes reporting tools that allow companies to produce standardized ESG reports in line with various reporting frameworks. These reports can be used for internal decision-making, external communication, or regulatory compliance.
  • Risk management and decision support: By providing a clear view of a company's ESG performance, ESG software can identify risks and opportunities related to ESG factors, supporting strategic decision-making and goal setting.
  • Integration with other systems: ESG software can often integrate with other business systems, such as ERP or HRIS systems, to streamline data collection and improve overall sustainability management.

How big is the market for ESG software?

The market for ESG software is experiencing substantial growth. As of 2022, the global ESG reporting software market size was valued at approximately $0.7 billion. It's expected to more than double, reaching around $1.5 billion. This surge is due to an increasing demand for transparency in ESG performance and compliance with evolving regulations.

Benefits of ESG reporting software

Now that you understand what ESG is, how ESG software works, and key functionality to look for, let’s dive into the benefits.

Compliance with evolving regulations

While it is not mandatory to publish ESG reports right now, it seems the industry is heading in that direction. Investing in dedicated ESG software can help you comply more efficiently with evolving mandates. ESG software streamlines the process of data collection, validation, and report generation - saving both time and resources.

Enhanced decision-making

ESG reporting software provides access to accurate, up to date ESG data, which can be used to make informed decisions that align with your company's sustainability goals. It can also help you benchmark your ESG performance, identify areas for improvement, and set meaningful sustainability targets.

Increased transparency and confidence

Transparency in ESG performance is vital for stakeholders, including investors, customers, and employees. ESG software allows you to create comprehensive, standardized reports that clearly communicate your ESG efforts, thereby building stakeholder trust and potentially attracting more investments and customer loyalty.

The 11 best ESG reporting software for finance teams in 2024

Let’s look at the 11 best ESG reporting software for finance teams:

1. Prophix

Prophix One, a Financial Performance Platform, empowers finance teams with financial forecasting, budgeting, planning, reporting, analytics, consolidation, intercompany management, and ESG reporting functionality.

Best for: Prophix One has been designed with the needs of the Office of the CFO in mind, including CFOs, financial analysts, controllers, CIOs, and business leaders.

Features:

  • Centralize all your ESG data from diverse business systems. Flexible imports, integrations, and validation rules ensure full control over your data at all stages.
  • Achieve rapid, comprehensive consolidations regardless of your ESG reporting frameworks. Intelligent automation allows you to maintain regulatory compliance without costly customizations.
  • Enhance compliance, ESG performance, stakeholder engagement, and sustainability with comprehensive reporting and data analysis capabilities. Dashboard assistance helps identify, respond to, and investigate patterns and trends.
  • Efficiently manage disclosure management reporting with an effective authoring and approval process. Track reports to avoid errors and version mix-ups and use iXBRL tagging for regulatory compliance.

Pros:

  • All ESG data can be consolidated from various business systems, providing a unified, controllable data repository.
  • Automation eliminates the need for expensive customizations and simplifies complex ESG reporting processes.
  • Dashboards offer a visual, interactive way to analyze and report on ESG performance and compliance.
  • Streamlined authoring, approval, and tracking processes minimize errors and improve efficiency.

Cons:

  • May require some time for users to utilize efficiently.
  • The effectiveness of Prophix One's reporting capabilities relies on the quality and accuracy of the input data.

Integrations:

  • Pre-built connectors for your CRM, ERP, and HRIS systems
  • APIs to connect to almost any business system

Pricing: Pricing is affected by the number of users, integrations, and use cases. 

Learn more about ESG reporting with Prophix.

2. Workiva

Workiva is a cloud platform supporting ESG reporting, designed to provide collaboration, data integration, and an audit trail. The platform helps mitigate risk and improves productivity.

Best for: Accounting, finance, sustainability, audit, and risk professionals.

Features:

  • Supports various reports including financial, annual, corporate sustainability, climate disclosures, and investment fund reporting.
  • Facilitates the creation and submission of regulatory documents such as 10-Qs, 10-Ks, 8-Ks, S-1 form filings, and ESEF filings.
  • Provides tools for SOX compliance, internal audit management, risk control matrix (RCM), and audit committee presentations.
  • Assists with banking-specific reports and activities such as FERC reports, living wills (CCAR), and stress testing (DFAST).

Pros:

  • Saves time by eliminating manual tie-outs.
  • Excellent for SEC reporting.
  • Facilitates collaboration on company filings.

Cons:

  • Room for improvement in data management.
  • Requires significant bandwidth for implementation.
  • Customer support could be more robust.

Integrations:

  • File storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)
  • Systems of record (Hubspot, Microsoft Excel, etc.)
  • Relational (Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, etc.)
  • Performance Management (Planful, Anaplan, etc.)
  • Finance and accounting (BlackLine, Oracle, etc.)
  • BI and reporting (PowerBI, Tableau, etc.)

Pricing: Workiva does not publish their pricing online.

Workiva vs. Prophix
Prophix is often praised by users for its service and support, ease of integration and deployment, and better evaluation capabilities. On the other hand, Workiva has a strong presence in enterprise companies with 1,001+ employees. While both have high ratings, reviewers rate Prophix slightly higher than Workiva.

3. IBM Envizi ESG Suite

IBM Envizi ESG Suite is SaaS that consolidates enterprise ESG data for analysis and reporting.

Best for: IBM Envizi ESG Suite is ideal for emissions management, ESG reporting and decarbonization.

Features:

  • Collects data automatically from various sources like ERP and finance systems, property management databases, supplier data files, and other business platforms.
  • Converts multi-metric, multi-currency cost and consumption data into comparable units and time periods.
  • Includes an audit record of changes made and represents data quality on dashboards. All data can be traced back to source files.
  • Offers advanced data tagging for easy retrieval, extraction, analysis, and reporting to multiple ESG frameworks from one data source.

Pros:

  • Enables the creation of a robust data foundation for auditable ESG data and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) calculations.
  • Enhances data accuracy, ensuring reliable and trustworthy data for decision-making.
  • Allows for hassle-free, streamlined reporting.

Cons:

  • Some important features are not included in all subscription plans.
  • Expensive for medium and small-scale organization.
  • Some customers feel the product does not always deliver on its promises.

Integrations:

  • IBM Maximo, Tririga and Turbonomic

Pricing: Pricing for IBM Envizi ESG Suite starts at $30,000 USD per year. More information is available on their website.

IBM Envizi ESG Suite vs. Prophix
While both IBM Envizi ESG Suite and Prophix offer solutions for financial performance management, they differ in their scope and versatility. Prophix provides not only robust ESG reporting capabilities to aid in sustainable business practices, but also offers comprehensive solutions for budgeting, planning, forecasting, reporting, and financial consolidation.

4. Workday Adaptive Planning

Workday is a provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance, including financial management, planning, spend management, analytics, and ESG reporting.

Best for: Large enterprise finance teams.

Features:

  • Calculate scope 3 emissions and capture scope 1 and 2 emissions.
  • Analyze supplier sustainability with pre-built reports and third-party ratings.
  • Model the impact of emissions reduction initiatives.
  • Automate emissions reporting to track your progress.

Pros:

  • ESG reporting is built right into their software, so there’s no need for additional tools.
  • Dedicated dashboards and tailored sustainability reporting capabilities leveraging Workday and third-party data.

Cons:

  • The solution can be difficult to customize.
  • Report formatting is not user-friendly.
  • Formula syntax is specific to Workday.

Integrations: Connect with any application, whether it's cloud-based, on-premise, or a file-based data source.

Pricing: Pricing isn’t available on their website, but they do offer a free trial.

Workday Adaptive Planning vs. Prophix
Prophix not only provides ESG reporting capabilities, but it also excels with a wide array of features for budgeting, planning, forecasting, and financial consolidation, offering a comprehensive solution for various financial and operational needs. On the other hand, Workday Adaptive Planning is primarily known for its strong scenario planning features.

5. Greenly

Greenly's climate tech enables companies, regardless of their size or sector, to contribute to the fight against global warming, starting with a simple measurement of their CO2 emissions.

Best for: CEOs, Boards, Purchasing Managers, ESG & CSR Managers, Human Resources, and Marketing Leaders.

Features:

  • Integrate your company's physical flows and monetary flows into the platform, monitor your CO2 emissions in real time, and define your reduction trajectory.
  • Measure, reduce CO2 emissions, and contribute to a climate project with personalized dashboards.
  • Manage your carbon footprint with your team, assigning tasks to different people and getting everyone involved in making a positive impact.

Pros:

  • Greenhouse gas reports are easy to structure and explain.
  • Simplifies and coordinates offset programs that align with company values.

Cons:

  • Customer support lacks specific knowledge of the product.
  • Features and capabilities are removed from the platform without customer communication.

Integrations: Greenly does not list their integrations on their website.

Pricing: Greenly offers several plans including GHC Report Compliance, Climate Action Ready, Net Zero Contributor, and Climate Hero. Pricing is dictated by your industry and number of employees.

Greenly vs. Prophix
Greenly primarily focuses on helping businesses measure, reduce, and offset their carbon footprint for more sustainable operations. In contrast, Prophix provides a comprehensive financial performance management solution, including ESG reporting, budgeting, planning, forecasting, and financial consolidation, thus catering to a broader range of financial and operational needs.

6. Novata

Novata’s technology platform makes navigating the ESG landscape simple for private markets by identifying a clear starting point for selecting the metrics that matter, streamlining data collection, and contextualizing data to drive reporting and action.

Best for: Private companies, including private equity, private credit, and venture capital.

Features:

  • User-friendly, multi-user technology includes in-platform guidance, calculators, and AI-powered guardrails to simplify data collection.
  • With hundreds of ESG benchmarks, Novata’s in-platform company and portfolio analytics help you understand performance, make informed decisions, and easily export and share insights with stakeholders.

Pros:

  • Designed with the needs of private companies in mind.
  • Simple to navigate.

Cons:

  • Some features are not intuitive.
  • Relatively new platform – some features still need to be developed.
  • Guidance from customer support can be vague.

Integrations: Novata does not list their integrations online.

Pricing: Novata does not disclose their pricing.

Novata vs. Prophix
While Novata uses its AI-driven platform to assist companies in managing and reducing their carbon footprint with its Carbon Data Management and Reporting solution, Prophix offers a broader suite of financial performance management tools that include ESG reporting along with budgeting, forecasting, and financial consolidation applications.

7. NAVEX One

NAVEX Global is a provider of integrated risk and compliance management software and services that help organizations manage risk, address complex regulatory compliance requirements, and foster an ethical, highly productive workplace culture. 

Best for: Companies looking to address risk and compliance.

Features:

  • Centralize incident management.
  • Manage training, policies, and procedures.
  • Onboard employee and ensure compliance.
  • Understand your third parties’ ESG commitments.
  • Build an automated and sustainable information security management system.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly.
  • Intuitive interface.
  • Document management.

Cons:

  • Interface is inflexible.
  • Lacks customization options.
  • Reporting is clunky.

Integrations: NAVEX does not disclose their integrations.

Pricing: There is no pricing listed for NAVEX online.

NAVEX One vs. Prophix
While Navex One offers an integrated compliance and ESG management solution, Prophix stands out by offering a more holistic approach to business transformation. Prophix not only includes ESG reporting but also budgeting, forecasting, and planning, making it a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to excel in ESG reporting and beyond.

8. MSCI

MSCI is a leading provider of critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community.

Best for: Asset managers, asset owners, banks, corporations, hedge funds, insurance companies, and wealth managers.

Features:

  • Measure the emissions of investments, portfolios, and lending books across asset classes.
  • Benchmark performance and report on progress.
  • Sharpen your view of climate-related risks and analyze future scenarios.

Pros:

  • Enhances investment risk insights.
  • Simplifies sustainability management and reporting.
  • Potentially reduces companies' costs of capital.

Cons:

  • May undervalue companies' greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Uses a potentially confusing 7-point scale.
  • Typically charges higher fees than traditional funds.

Integrations: MSCI does not publish their integrations.

Pricing: There is no pricing information available for MSCI.

MSCI vs. Prophix
MSCI offers a comprehensive suite of ESG reporting solutions, including data, ratings, and climate risk analysis tools, designed to streamline both internal and external reporting needs with scalable and automated report generation. On the other hand, Prophix provides a versatile Financial Performance Platform that incorporates ESG reporting into its broader functionality for budgeting, forecasting, planning, and reporting, offering a holistic approach to business transformation.

9. Diligent ESG

Diligent gives organizations the tools and solutions they need to bring clarity to complex risk, elevate impactful insights and get ahead of a world that is constantly changing.

Best for: Medium to large size companies that have a dedicated team ESG reporting.

Features:

  • Get instant calculations, auditable submission-ready reports generated with a single click — and ensure complete coverage across scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
  • Centralize your survey and evaluation activities.
  • Capture relevant data once, then apply it across all reports.

Pros:

  • Supports goal setting, risk monitoring and stakeholder reporting.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to develop sustainability reports and prepare out of the box reports.
  • Comprehensive coverage for all Scope 1, 2, 3, CSR and supply chain data sources.
  • Real-time activity-based measurement.

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve.
  • Difficult to customize reports.
  • Data must be accurate before import.

Integrations: There is no integration information for Diligent ESG on their website.

Pricing: Diligent offers several pricing plans: Essentials, Standard, Advanced and Enterprise.

Diligent ESG vs. Prophix
While Diligent ESG provides robust solutions across risk and compliance areas, Prophix stands out with its transformative approach to financial performance management, seamlessly incorporating ESG reporting into its budgeting, forecasting, planning, and reporting functionality.

10. Persefoni

Persefoni is a complete climate management platform. Measure and report your emissions data with the same accuracy, transparency, and control as your financial data.

Best for: Enterprises and financial institutions.

Features:

  • Carbon emissions calculations.
  • Sustainability management.
  • Emission reduction planning.
  • Decarbonization management.

Pros:

  • Knowledgeable customer support and consultants.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Drill down to identify all areas of scope 1, 2, and 3 data.

Cons:

  • Inconsistent templates.
  • Time-consuming setup.
  • Manual data entry.

Integrations: Amazon Web Services, Concur, Expensify, Google Sheets, Navan, etc.

Pricing: Choose from Persefoni’s three plans: Pro (free), Pro+, and Advanced.

Persefoni vs. Prophix
While Persefoni offers a specialized solution for carbon and climate calculation, Prophix provides a more comprehensive financial performance management solution that integrates ESG reporting into broader financial and operational planning.

11. AuditBoard

AuditBoard is a cloud-based platform transforming audit, risk, ESG, and InfoSec management. 

Best for: Fortune 500 companies.

Features:

  • SOX documentation, testing, and reporting.
  • Streamlined audit planning, fieldwork, testing, and reporting.
  • Integrated risk management.
  • Compliance management.
  • ESG reporting.
  • Vendor risk management.
  • IT risk management.

Pros:

  • Convenient documentation and editing of audit tests.
  • Efficient syncing and updating of PDF/Excel files.
  • Facilitates communication and collaboration in audit process.

Cons:

  • High turnover, inconsistent assistance, slow response times.
  • Struggles with large data volume.
  • Steep learning curve.

Integrations: AuditBoard offers several no code integration options, including Google Drive, Jira, Microsoft Office, and Okta.

Pricing: AuditBoard’s pricing is not available online.

AuditBoard vs. Prophix
AuditBoard offers a centralized platform for data collection and simplifies the reporting process. However, Prophix takes it a step further by offering advanced data analysis capabilities, automated report generation, and predictive modeling features, making it the preferred solution for businesses looking to enhance their ESG reporting practices.

How to choose the best ESG reporting software for your organization

Struggling to choose the best ESG reporting software for your business? We outline four key capabilities to look for below:

Data processing

The ESG software you choose should be able to process both qualitative and quantitative data. Given that ESG data often comes from multiple sources, it’s essential that your ESG software can automate data collection and validation, resulting in easier analysis and audits.

Streamlined reporting

A key part of ESG governance is reporting. The ESG software you choose should simplify the process of compiling, validating, and distributing your environmental, social and governance reports, and provide guidance on best practices for meeting regulatory requirements. It should also help you identify correlations between your ESG data and your business outcomes.

Integration

As we mentioned earlier, ESG data can come from multiple sources both internal and external to your organization. Your ESG software should integrate with all your major business systems including your ERP, HRIS, and CRM software, and any other data warehouses, so you can accurately represent your efforts.

User-friendly

A lot of the value in ESG reporting is engaging with stakeholders and investors, and sharing how your efforts are resulting in tangible environmental and social impacts. The ESG software you choose should be user-friendly, especially for those outside of finance, allowing them to navigate and use the software effectively. This accessibility can facilitate better understanding and engagement with your ESG initiatives.

FAQs about ESG reporting software

Still have questions about ESG software? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

What is ESG software?

ESG software is a tool that helps businesses collect, manage, analyze, and report on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data. ESG software allows companies to track their sustainability performance and meet regulatory requirements.

How do I choose ESG software?

When choosing ESG software, consider your business needs and goals. Look for software that offers comprehensive data management capabilities, robust analytics, and customizable reporting features. It should be user-friendly, scalable, and have excellent customer support. Additionally, check if the software complies with international ESG reporting standards.

Why is ESG software important?

ESG software is important because it simplifies the complex process of ESG reporting. It helps businesses efficiently comply with regulations, make informed decisions based on accurate ESG data, and enhance transparency in their sustainability efforts. This can build stakeholder trust and contribute to a company's overall success.

How do I collect ESG data?

ESG data can be collected through various means including internal surveys, external audits, and automated data feeds. ESG software can help streamline this process by automating data collection from multiple sources, ensuring accuracy, and reducing the time and effort required.

Conclusion: Choose the best ESG software

Choosing the right ESG software can make a world of difference for your organization. With this guide, you've explored the top options and learned how to decide which one fits best.

Remember, the perfect ESG software is the one that aligns with your needs and goals. Now, you're armed with knowledge to make an informed choice. Here's to making ESG reporting simpler and more effective in 2024!

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Prophix

Ambitious finance leaders engage with Prophix to drive progress and do their best work. Leveraging Prophix One, a Financial Performance Platform, to improve the speed and accuracy of decision-making within a harmonized user experience, global finance teams are empowered to step into the next generation of finance with no reservation. 

 Crush complexity, reduce uncertainty, and illuminate data with access to best-in-class automated insights and planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and consolidation functionalities. Prophix is a private company, backed by Hg Capital, a leading investor in software and services businesses. More than 3,000 active customers across the globe rely on Prophix to achieve organizational success.

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