The environmental, social and governance (ESG) landscape is rapidly evolving, with an increasingly vast and intricate web of climate disclosure requirements, standards, metrics and frameworks for companies to consider. As part of its commitment to helping corporations achieve impact in their ESG journey, Nasdaq has acquired Metrio, a Montreal-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider with a platform for collecting, tracking, analyzing, disclosing and communicating on granular ESG data. The deal not only expands Nasdaq’s suite of ESG solutions but will also unlock value by streamlining the reporting process and contributing to a more sustainable world.
We recently spoke with Patrick Elie and Pierre-Alexandre Hurtubise, the Co-founders of Metrio, and Michael Bartels, Senior Vice President and Head of IR & ESG Services at Nasdaq, about what this acquisition will mean for companies navigating an increasingly complex ESG landscape and how together they are establishing a comprehensive approach to ESG reporting and disclosure.
Patrick and Pierre-Alexandre, what is Metrio, and what led you to create the company?
Pierre-Alexandre: Metrio is an end-to-end sustainability reporting platform. Our software not only helps businesses collect, aggregate and interpret a host of granular data about their ESG performance but also empowers them to navigate the increasingly intricate web of proposed climate disclosure requirements, consolidated frameworks and emerging providers. In the same way that corporations would see ERP as the backbone of their financial processes, Metrio is a single source of truth for companies tackling ESG. The granularity of the data allows users to collect and slice and dice, and gives them a lot of flexibility and visibility into tracking, managing and sharing their progress with their stakeholders.
Patrick: In 2009, when we founded Metrio, we were creating a solution for a major pain point that most companies didn’t have on their radar yet in large parts of the world outside of Europe. We were on a quest to help build a more sustainable future, driven by the simple idea that we can improve what we can measure. We were a long way from the upcoming SEC climate disclosure laws that were recently proposed in the U.S. Similar to any new technology, our first corporate clients were early adopters that understood the importance of sustainability reporting and the impact it could drive, not only on the planet but also on their business processes. Over the years, we’ve been privileged to work with corporations in Europe, the U.S. and Canada from across all different types of industries. Today, everyone understands the impact that visibility into your ESG data can drive for a business. We’re past the point of discussing if companies should report, and now, we’re at a stage where the conversation is around – what should companies be reporting on? When it comes to reporting on Scope 3, you’ll need to have more visibility across your entire supply chain and a way to collect and aggregate all that data. Our platform has evolved with these growing requirements and will continue to evolve. It’s exciting to witness the transformation in the market and in our ecosystem since we first came out with our software. We feel lucky to be continuing our journey with Nasdaq and our great team.
Mike, what prompted Nasdaq to acquire Metrio?
At Nasdaq, we’re acutely focused on helping our client community better navigate and manage the key challenges facing corporates today – including the ever-increasing obligations around ESG implementation.
Our foray into the ESG space was through the organic extension of our advisory business into ESG. Due to our ecosystem position at the nexus between the issuer community and the investor community, we are well-positioned to view and understand developing trends. As thoughtful ESG programs shifted into must-haves for the issuer community, our business grew aligned with these needs. Through our advisory work, we recognized the increasing demand for issuers and the broader corporate community to fulfill key reporting obligations and expanded our efforts by acquiring OneReport in 2020.
Metrio was one of the first movers in our space. As we focused on scale and expansion of the OneReport business, we developed a relationship with them and a better understanding of how they were using benchmarks, analytics and a KPI-driven approach to transform how organizations view ESG. As we became more attune with customer needs and demands in this space, it became more evident that Metrio is a natural fit with OneReport and our broader ESG portfolio, and that they shared our drive towards supporting a more sustainable world.
Pierre-Alexandre, as ESG-related disclosures evolve, how does Metrio help companies with their ESG reporting?
Metrio assists companies in streamlining their ESG reporting process by focusing on four key pillars:
- Collecting data: We can simplify and shorten the collection process through manual and automated data collection tools that gather granular data and content from across different departments, sites and roles in a business. Collected data is assigned to an owner, checked, and users are automatically prompted to enter new data, correct highlighted errors and add supporting documents when necessary. For companies that have been using spreadsheets for data collection, our solution can save them countless hours of valuable time and ensure they’re ready for the audit period.
- Measuring performance: Our software enables corporations to monitor their ESG performance and get valuable real-time insights with sustainability analytics and dashboard tools. Companies can select metrics based on materiality or any framework, such as SASB, GRI, CDP, and more. Moreover, businesses can customize calculation methodologies and generate KPIs. Those KPIs can also include forecasts to better identify ESG risks and opportunities that they can take action on.
- Reporting and disclosing data: Companies can create multiple reports based on any framework or establish their own through our software solution.Then, they can select desired filters and gather all data and texts to generate a ready-to-publish PDF, PowerPoint, Word or Excel report. To validate, internal or external audits can certify data and methodology. We ensure our users are able to meet any disclosure requirements, existing or coming up.
- Communicating ESG story: Corporations can enhance stakeholder engagement and sustainability communications by leveraging our Communications solutions, which allow them to create a dedicated sustainability website to share their vision and performance through interactive charts, graphics and more, combining both quantitative and qualitative information.
Ultimately, we want to empower companies to become more sustainable, transparent and profitable by giving them the tools to measure and improve their impact on people and the planet. By helping issuers and business leaders with their ESG reporting, they can decrease risk and create value while building a better place to work and attract talent.
Mike, what are the synergies with Nasdaq’s suite of ESG offerings? How can companies leverage both offerings?
Together, Metrio and Nasdaq can help corporates navigate the increasingly complex ESG landscape by reducing friction in strategizing, collecting, analyzing, reporting and communicating key ESG responsibilities and opportunities.
Taking a truly complementary approach, we will harness Metrio’s leadership in data collection, KPI assessment and corporate social responsibility report publishing and combine it with Nasdaq’s mapping expertise, guidance notes and deep relationships with raters and frameworks. This will allow us to address the full depth and breadth of customer challenges as the ESG ecosystem matures.
Patrick and Mike, how will Nasdaq’s acquisition of Metrio help advance ESG reporting and disclosure?
Mike: Experience tells us that continuing growth of varying stakeholder needs across multi-faceted obligations will necessitate more data, more KPIs and a greater ability to disseminate and communicate ESG information at speed. The technological know-how that sits in both of our organizations-to ingest, understand and normalize multiple data formats, manage them, triangulate across various points to create holistic cross-company benchmarks, measure progress and disseminate that information to frameworks and other key stakeholder groups in a variety of formats-will help us establish pragmatic solutions with an even more comprehensive approach to ESG reporting and disclosure. When you layer on the 400+ years’ experience of our collective teams, we have one of the deepest teams of experts in the industry that will help ensure our methodologies and solutions are keeping pace. And, because we are delivering via SaaS, our solutions are built for change and will be able to implement shifts in strategy as requirements evolve.
Patrick: As Mike eloquently put it, our solutions are built for change. Our software is built to be scalable and to accommodate our users at every stage of their ESG reporting journey, from data collection all the way to their public communications. By combining our team’s experience and knowledge in the sustainability space, as well as our robust end-to-end reporting platform’s capabilities, with Nasdaq’s vast expertise and resources in the corporate landscape, we will be able to accelerate our growth roadmap and continue to simplify sustainability stakeholder engagement for businesses across the world. As a whole, our goal remains the same as it has for more than a decade now, to ensure a more sustainable future for our “pale blue dot” of a home. Now and going forward, we have more great people on our team to help achieve that goal by empowering more businesses with the right tools.
Spokesperson: Nasdaq, Inc.
SOURCE: Nasdaq, Inc.