Tech-focused start-up eRevalue today announces Helle Bank Jorgensen as Chairman of the Board of Directors, marking the official launch of the company.
Jorgensen is a global board facilitator for the UN Global Compact Board Programme and the Head of the UN Global Compact in Canada. She is also the CEO of B.Accountability – a consultancy working on sustainability and climate change.
She joins CEO Marjella Alma, COO Jean-Philippe Lecourt, CBDO Anne Floor van Dalfsen and CTO Jérôme Basdevant to lead eRevalue’s mission to empower companies through technology, to make big data digestible and to distill essential knowledge.
“If you think about identifying the risk for a company in terms of what are the material issues, that’s where eRevalue plays a role,” explains Jorgensen. “By knowing what kind of material issues are out there, and what regulations you need to be in compliance with, you suddenly go from being in a blind spot to a bright spot. eRevalue is the first – and so far the only – place where companies can get this information in a very cost-effective and efficient way.”
You can listen to a recent interview with Helle on the eRevalue blog.
The concept behind eRevalue was born on a napkin during a brunch in Central Park, New York. Marjella Alma and Helle Bank Jorgensen discovered a mutual vision and following Jorgensen’s advice to “do it”, Alma started putting the wheels in motion. Alma has years of experience in the corporate social responsibility field, having previously been a Director at the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This in-depth knowledge of reporting revealed a gap in what companies can do, and eRevalue was born to help companies fill that gap.
“To me it’s a question about having the right team, and I believe that eRevalue has the right team,” added Jorgensen. “There’s some energy around it. I think it’s important that we help companies, and we can do that with the background and network and understanding of all the issues.”
Today eRevalue also launches its US operations – eRevalue Inc. Susanne Katus, also formerly at the Global Reporting Initiative, will work out of New York as eRevalue’s VP Business Development North America.
About the product
eRevalue is developing software that can crawl big data – information on thousands of reports, websites and social media – and pull together what’s relevant for a company. This will help them make smart business decisions, manage their sustainability practices and impacts, and navigate the ever-changing legislation landscape.
“Which ESG factors are material depends on where you’re headquartered, which markets you serve, where your suppliers are, what your industry is, your key stakeholders and senior management’s prioritization process,” explains eRevalue’s CEO Marjella Alma. “This is a lot of variables to consider, and with so much data out there it’s difficult to make good decisions without having to trawl through it all. That’s where we come in.”
eRevalue is developing the world’s first sustainability disclosure ontology. The software – called ESGrevolution™ – uses open source technologies. ESGrevolution™ has three elements: industry trend tracker, regulatory radar, and stakeholder identification tool. These three elements support companies around some tricky terrain. The three-level process supports materiality assessments in an unprecedented way – something that’s still a huge challenge for most companies. With this tool, companies are informed which new topics might constitute new forms of regulatory or reputational risk for them.
Compliance can be complex for companies because of the ever-changing regulatory landscape. eRevalue aims to give companies real-time updates on the regulation that affects them.
The bot – or ‘Datamaran™’ – sifts through big data for information on industry trends. The engine – named April by the eRevalue team (why not ask them why?) – conducts text and semantic analysis on a large scale, identifying for example the words most mentioned in 15,000 sustainability reports.
The tool can produce infographics on any number of different searches, which people can then use in their presentations and reports
. (See the infographic below for a tip of the iceberg!)
Finally, the tool also helps companies identify stakeholders, and business units can easily share information about identified stakeholders with each other, through its multi-user functionality. This stakeholder analysis combined with the final feasibility check by senior-management will automatically generate a materiality matrix for the company.
“Technology will be a game changer for business intelligence and sustainability,” said Alma. “Our software is forward-looking – it helps you get ready. It’s also real-time – with big data analytics the approach is dynamic and instantaneous, rather than static and backwards-looking like traditional reporting.”
“ESGrevolution™ can be used by the CSO, the CSR manager, legal teams, risk managers and basically anyone in charge of this process. For many companies this is actually an external consultant, so we’re building both a corporate and an advisory version to cater to their needs.”
eRevalue is currently developing the software with future customers and industry experts, and plans to launch the beta version in December 2014. ESGrevolution™ will be available commercially from March 2015.
The eRevalue team invites people who are interested to get involved in the pilot program for a behind-the-scenes look at the new technology, and to ensure that ESGrevolution™ meets everyone’s needs.