Making sense of data is something that Majid Hasan and Jiale Tan,
co-founders of ESGnie, specialise in. Their mission is to bring highly
intelligent and accurate automation to complex and fragmented data
processes in sustainability.
Sustainability data is complex because data often lies in
unstructured format (PDFs, HTML, Excel, Powerpoints). The unstandardised
way that people communicate for various metrics, and the
informationally demanding nature of data requires considerable reading
of sustainability materials to be aware of various sustainability
frameworks, risks, and opportunities. Enter the genie to create its
magic – where ESGnie works with external and internal organisational
data – to clean up the mess and present data in valuable formats.
When ESGnie was started in 2021, the technology underpinning the
company had already been in the making by tech guru, Hasan, for 4 years.
It has since received keen attention from global tech leaders. In 2022,
it won seven industry innovation accolades and was recently invited to
participate in Singapore MICE Forum’s
(SMF) inaugural MICE Sustainability Innovation Marketplace, organised
by the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers
& Suppliers (SACEOS).
The company which has made its foray into the financial world and a
large UN-linked entity, is also part of Accenture’s Fintech Innovation
Lap 2023. The Lab is a highly competitive programme that helps early to
growth-stage enterprise technology companies refine and test their value
proposition with the help of top financial service firms.
ESGnie is now a confident advocate of supporting faster, critical
decision-making with data-driven information that helps organisations
boost their data workflow productivity by 100 to 1,000 times. The
platform helps companies build valuable knowledge-bases of
sustainability information that can be used to improve sustainability
planning, strategies, and decision-making.
Sorting out external and internal data
The platform aids companies which are looking to external sources of
information to gather market intelligence, either to do benchmarking
against other companies’ sustainability practices, to research
sustainability-related trends, or to extract key data information for
Said Tan: “This is useful in situations where you want to gather
intelligence either to prospect new customers that are aligned with your
sustainability theme/focus, or in some M&A considerations where
sustainability factors are impacting valuations.
“With external data, our customers can choose their criteria of
information (eg companies, and metrics or topics of choice), and ESGnie,
through intelligent automation, would execute this for them, providing
them with a dataset ready of their choosing where they can generate
analysis easily with natural language queries (eg free form text query
to ask specific business questions or to correlate sustainability data
with financial data).”
The platform also sorts out internal organisation data such as
operational, utility, bills, and supplier data where the information is
Feedback from hotels
Said Tan: “This is the case for one large hotelier's head of
sustainability, who shared that they had over 100 branches for their
hotels. In order to begin any useful analysis of their sustainability
data to combine with external intelligence, consolidating data across
these individual branches of hotels was a huge challenge.
“The two challenges were that data lies in unstructured PDF format
and does not fit into a specific uniform format and this issue is
magnified 100 times across 100 different branches. The head of
sustainability shared that our intelligent automation will solve these
two problems - whereby he can gather data across all 100 plus branches
in its existing format and leverage our machine learning, Natural
Language Processing methods (to extract and organise the data in a
comparable format), also allowing ease of any downstream analysis for
the business, and reporting needs seamlessly,” said Tan.
By providing intelligent automation to resolve this, it allows
organisations to ingest data in different formats, and convert them into
a much more standardised form for analyses. Once the data is
standardised in a central place, in the next step, ESGnie can synthesise
internal business information with external sustainability frameworks,
sustainability targets of peers, and best practices in the industry, to
help meeting planners identify material sustainability issues, and
devise effective sustainability and de-carbonisation roadmaps.
Our mission is to simplify and streamline the complexity around this process; and we recognise that every organisation has different considerations and needs, therefore our solution is built for flexibility, allowing our customers to choose or customise the taxonomy of interest.
ESGnie’s Jiale Tan
Helping planners with ESG reporting frameworks
Regulation for sustainability considerations is dependent on factors
such as geography, industry, and investor expectations, and because it
is also dynamic and evolving, AI will be crucial to help companies to
keep track of changing regulatory and disclosure requirements, said Tan.
“Our mission is to simplify and streamline the complexity around this
process; and we recognise that every organisation has different
considerations and needs, therefore our solution is built for
flexibility, allowing our customers to choose or customise the taxonomy
“We have built a knowledge base of all major ESG taxonomies,
including SFDR, SASB, CDP, TCFD, with more taxonomies being added
continuously. Customers can use these taxonomies to pull out the
relevant information from their messy and unstructured documents, and
tag it to the ESG taxonomies of their choice. This tagged information
can then be used to generate sustainability reports using our generative
AI models that can convert structured sustainability data into
“We are currently part of Singapore Tourism Accelerator and are
speaking to companies in the MICE industry. We plan to continue our
efforts via industry partners and events such as the SMF,” said Tan.