Emerging Technologies

Redefining corporate valuation: How integrating AI and data can drive growth and sustainability

 Five wind turbines surrounded by grass: Incorporating data into corporate valuation enables companies can make environmental, social and governance initiatives commercially viable.

Incorporating data into corporate valuation enables companies can make environmental, social and governance initiatives commercially viable. Image: Unsplash/Appolinary Kalashnikova

Jeff Schumacher
Founder & CEO, NAX Group
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  • Traditional financial metrics are no longer sufficient. Incorporating data and artificial intelligence into corporate valuation can help companies drive financial innovation and make environmental, social and governance initiatives commercially viable.
  • AI and advanced analytics can reveal complex patterns and insights within the financial services sector, helping companies navigate regulatory changes, innovate and address global challenges such as climate change and social inequality more effectively.
  • Transitioning to sustainable practices in sectors such as agriculture requires comprehensive data analysis across the entire value chain.

Traditional financial metrics have long been the standard for evaluating company performance and potential for growth. However, the business landscape has significantly evolved since these methods were introduced during the post-World War II economic boom, nearly a century ago.

Today, companies face mounting pressure to harness the expanding potential of artificial intelligence (AI), prioritize environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, and adapt to evolving consumer behaviour, all while sustaining growth. Data has become indispensable in addressing these challenges but traditional metrics often overlook this critical asset, leaving many companies undervalued.

This paradigm shift demands a new approach to corporate valuation, including the value that data brings alongside the company’s financial performance. By doing so, companies will have a motive to optimize their resources, uncover new growth opportunities and catalyze financial innovation essential for making ESG commercially viable. As environmental stewardship increasingly underpins economic success, this approach aligns with evolving market demands and positions companies to lead the charge towards a more sustainable future.

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Data-driven innovations in financial services

The financial services sector, with its trillions of daily transactions, exemplifies the pivotal role of data in driving sustainability. By applying AI algorithms to their data sets, financial services companies can uncover hidden patterns, correlations and insights that were previously inaccessible or too complex for traditional analytical methods. This new information enables them to navigate regulatory changes and drive financial innovation, traditionally led by fintechs and address pressing global challenges, such as climate change and social inequality, more effectively.

Scope 3 emissions, for example, encompass indirect greenhouse gas emissions throughout an organization’s value chain and can account for up to 95% of a company’s carbon footprint. Recent data underscores the scale of this challenge, with Scope 3 emissions averaging 26 times higher than those from direct operations. Conventional approaches to carbon reduction, such as offsetting, have shown limited efficacy. In fact, research has indicated that, in some cases, carbon offsets could potentially be damaging to the climate.

To tackle these issues head-on, NAX partnered with a global insurance leader to create Klerra. This platform utilizes AI and advanced analytics to systematically pinpoint emission hotspots within supply chains. Klerra provides targeted, actionable insights for reduction in specific impact areas, thereby enhancing efficiency in reduction efforts and cultivating a culture of sustainability and innovation within organizations.

Efficient resource use in agriculture

Another notable example is the transition to sustainable agriculture, a complex issue driven by diverse economic, social and environmental factors involving multiple stakeholders. Making this transition is essential for achieving global net zero emissions and ensuring long-term food security by conserving biodiversity and combating deforestation.

It also promotes economic viability for farmers through efficient resource use and reduced costs while enhancing social well-being and community health. However, achieving these goals is no small task, requiring the agriculture sector to take comprehensive action across the entire value chain.

NAX and the same global insurance company developed an innovative agricultural business-to-business SaaS solution to facilitate this transition. The solution streamlines operational assessments, claims processing and impact measurement, empowering farmers to achieve higher yields while promoting practices that combat deforestation and enhance biodiversity. Leveraging advanced analytics, it aggregates and analyzes comprehensive data from the value chain, providing actionable insights that optimize regenerative farming practices and ensure production processes align with sustainability objectives.

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New era of financial valuation and sustainability

These real-world examples underscore the transformative potential of data-driven innovation within the financial services sector. By leveraging their data and AI, financial institutions can effectively navigate regulatory complexities, drive cutting-edge financial innovation and tackle climate change, social inequality and the other big issues facing the world.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, our approach to valuation must evolve with it. In this new era, data can no longer be viewed as merely a byproduct of doing business; with AI’s rapid advancement, it can now be transformed into valuable assets.

Integrating data onto the balance sheet is essential for enhancing these efforts, allowing businesses to showcase their comprehensive value to stakeholders and investors, thereby aligning economic success with positive societal impact.

This integrated approach holds the potential to unlock the true value of enterprises, driving financial innovation that champions the commercialization of ESG principles.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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Emerging TechnologiesEconomic Growth
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