Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is critical to the success of mining and oil & gas companies however, ESG reporting is hindered by the proliferation of multiple ESG rating schemes and the amount and complexity of ESG data. ONYEN Corporation, a recent technology start-up, has created a software solution to simplify all this.
ONYEN's founder and CEO, Laurie Clark, got the idea for ONYEN when a friend of hers, the CEO of an exploration company, expressed frustration with how complicated, time-consuming and costly ESG reporting had become. This company's lawyer offered to do the reporting but would charge between C$50,000 and C$100,000 for the support.
Clark, an experienced financial and technology entrepreneur, researched the market and confirmed that resource companies collect data from geographically dispersed operations and collate it with reference to a plethora of standards bodies; GRI; ICMM; ISS; the UN Global Compact; MSCI; and the Carbon Disclosure Project. Stakeholders, such as private and institutional investors, increasingly request that they be kept informed.
While many large resource companies have budgets to create in-house solutions (for ESG reporting), smaller companies do not. As a consequence, ONYEN was targeted explicitly towards nano-, micro-, small-cap and mid-cap companies with annual subscription prices starting at US $7,500. Now in full operation, ONYEN appears to incorporate a winning combination of features according to the comments of some of the platform's early adopters:
"When it came to [ESG] reporting, we found the landscape overwhelming considering we are a small company at the exploration and development stage. ONYEN has examined different reporting standards, identified the overlap and packaged the reporting into a simple, easy to use platform. The onboarding process has been highly productive. In a short time, we have been able to complete all the required information and now are in the position to generate a 2020 report that addresses numerous ESG reporting standards," said Catherine Stretch, VP corporate affairs at Troilus Gold.
"This technology advancement is good for the industry because it's available at the touch of your fingertips. It provides ease of use and provides pre-made questions suitable for mining companies," said Dr. Andrew Ramcharan, EVP corporate development and investor relations at Roscan Gold.
"ESG reporting remains a wide-scope goal that includes multiple rating agencies. The ONYEN platform solves the challenge of reviewing and consolidating all of that information into one fulsome document. It's simple for teams to review, gather data and complete the report, which should increase reporting and allow the industry as a whole to showcase its achievements," said Pelangio Exploration CEO Ingrid Hibbard.
Ani Markova, CEO, Investor View Advisory agrees. "Often, sustainability work and positive environmental and social achievements are poorly disclosed, which leads to a perception gap in the capital markets reflected in valuation discounts. Reputational risk has a real impact to the availability and cost of capital and can be severely jeopardized if corporate behaviours are not aligned with stakeholders' interests. With more than $100 trillion of asset owners seeking appropriate ESG stewardship, closing the perception gap can only bring new investments in the mining industry," said Markova.
"After 30+ years of CSR reporting, we have achieved ease of data gathering and report creation. This platform is simple and allows the entire team to provide the data. We don't do taxes using spreadsheets, so why should we struggle with CSR data. ONYEN is the new standard," said Mark Thorpe, VP of corporate responsibility at INV Metals.
"Capturing the nebulous non-financial aspects of a mining company is challenging, but ONYEN has come up with a unique way of collecting, collating and aggregating the data," said Sabrina Dias, founder and CEO of SOOP Strategies.
ONYEN uploads ESG reporting history to support trend analysis. Pre-defined targets are present so that progress towards corporate goals in areas such as emission controls can be monitored. It also automates tasks to remove the potential for error. For example, the system automatically calculates carbon equivalency and displays it as the percentage of emission limits in each relevant country. With ONYEN, the CSR team compiles data that may originate in many parts of the world, from different departments and in various data formats. The CSR team uses a consistent reporting tool that automates this complex and mostly manual multi-site function with a roll-up to a single executive-level dashboard display. Thus, the CEO can get a quick snapshot and peel back layers of supporting data to get a full picture of ESG at the company, including areas that present risk and require greater attention or resources.
ONYEN supports corporate governance at the board level through its alignment with the rating agencies, ensuring scores are in line with company goals and performance measurements. Rating agencies benefit from obtaining insight and using company and sector data sets for comparative benchmarking.
The benefits go beyond satisfying the needs of these stakeholders. ESG reporting is a gateway to the financial markets since banks and investors are increasingly making investment decisions based on ESG criteria. Stock market regulators are beginning to look at ESG ratings before giving their blessing to publicly traded resource companies' mergers and acquisitions. "ESG Reporting ultimately leads to investment dollars, and banks and other institutions have made it pretty clear that if resource companies don't report, they will not be taken seriously or included in funding channels" says Clark. In 2020, more than 70% of institutional funds had a structured way of assessing ESG factors versus 30% two years ago, according to Ernst & Young.
For Clark, customers and champions, Onyen is a needed innovation that fills a gap in the resource sector. And with ESG reporting becoming ever more necessary ONYEN provides a one-stop-shop for companies to compile their ESG data for the benefit of all key stakeholders.
ONYEN - at a glance:
ESG criteria is a critical way for investors to evaluate companies in which they want to invest.
ONYEN offers resource companies an innovative software solution to: efficiently complete their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting obligations; heighten their ESG profile; and be included in institutional funding channels and alternative sources of capital.