Six Sentinels

It's About the People

About Six Sentinels

With over fifty years of experience in records and information management, Six Sentinels understands what it takes to manage the complex requirements associated with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues.

We also understand that while many organizations have a valuable library full of information, they lack the tools for interpretation, meaning that useful data that could dramatically increase ESG organizational knowledge lie dormant and untranslated. We want to help you change that in order to assist you in managing your ESG obligations and to help you build a compelling ESG narrative around non-financial information, which accurately conveys your story to investors - as well as to customers and regulators.

ESG Non-Financial Information - The Problem

The major problem is that in most cases investors are not receiving what they need in order to make informed decisions, primarily due to the inaccessibility of one important corporate commodity: relevant non-financial information. The LSE cautions that “investors [find] it difficult to access appropriate data and information; issuers [fail] to understand what information investors need.” Issuers are accustomed to thinking of important information in terms of financial data, so when investors demand non-financial information many issuers struggle to provide it.

“Whereas every large company has a sophisticated and robust IT infrastructure for generating financial reports,” observes Robert Eccles in a recent Harvard Business Review article, “few firms have reliable systems for measuring ESG performance. The result is untimely and poor-quality ESG data, which presents challenges not only to investors but to corporate managers themselves.” Indeed, “for many organizations…their ESG information is rarely available at the same time and in a comparable format as financial information.” The reason for this is not difficult to fathom. While organizations have had many years of experience managing systems for producing financial information, very few of them have the information management systems required to provide ready access to non-financial ESG data. Non-financial ESG reporting is in its infancy and requires a different set of skills from individuals who are accustomed to thinking laterally about gathering information from disparate sources in a complex array of formats (word processing documents, emails, text messages, etc.) and bringing it together in a coherent and compelling narrative.

People and Data and ESG: Knowledge Maps & Social Circles

“All of the great problems that face our world today have both technical and human content - the one intermingled inseparably with the other." Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize Winner – 1978

At Six Sentinels, we take a socio-technical approach to information, drawing together the human communication and interaction layer, along with the collaboration between documents and data.

We also examine your policies and use them in the analytical process, and we look at your people and how working relationships are structured in your organisation, both formally and informally. We model your organisation's 'Social Circles' – the network of employees responsible for the processes and duties to manage ESG obligations. With these Social Circles we can build Knowledge Maps that reveal significant insights into decision making in your organisation.

This provides a macro-level view of an organisation's resource network in terms of its employees, processes, and duties.

Our methods are grounded in the theory of interaction and networks. The structure of a network (people, data) can reveal a lot about its functionality. This directly translates into actionable insight, e.g. construct a network, and identify an isolated team or set of individuals. Then ask yourself, what does this tell you about the organisation/structure of the company and the people within it who possess valuable ESG knowledge. Who are these people? Where are they? And where is the data?

Tracing relevant data helps to build Knowledge Maps and the Social Circles that form around them, providing a visual representation of the organization's internal ESG policy experts, the go-to people who ensure that the organisation’s ESG narrative is both sound and evidence- based. The maps display the location of the people and their contact details, facilitating instant communication, no matter where the people are located – across the room or around the globe.Tapping into this rich resource provides management with a solid foundation of information and expertise on which to build its ESG strategy.

Double Materialiity

The European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Directive (CSRD) and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) are necessitating that organisations prepare themselves for the requirements of double materiality, adding the category of impacts to risks and opportunities. These requirements will place a concentrated emphasis on the ability of an organisation’s non-financial information management systems to access a large body of information for reporting purposes. The systems of UK companies operating in the EU will need to be equally comprehensive. In fact, the concept of double materiality appears to be gaining traction in the UK. The LSE, for example, has noted that: “While the TCFD recommendations emphasise single materiality (information which has an immediate financial impact and therefore should appear in financial filings), companies should also pay attention to double materiality, the impact a company’s actions have on society or the environment,” adding that it “can be of significant benefit for the future”. The LSE is signalling that performing impact analyses is going to be as important as undertaking risk analyses.

Six Sentinels benefits

In business, everything flows from strategy. Strategy requires that organisations prepare detailed assessments of their risks and opportunities, and then find the ways and means to achieve their business objectives in response to them. Today and for the foreseeable future, this will necessitate being able to identify and manage the impacts, risks and opportunities that arise from non-financial environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Six Sentinels can help issuers yoke together ESG information and strategy, so that, at the stage that they are formulating strategy, data regarding ESG is embedded in the process.

Over the years we have worked with organizations such as BT, Bank of America, HP, Clorox, Rio Tinto, Imperial Tobacco, BAE Systems, Shaklee, Taylor Woodrow, Clifford Chance, Ashursts, Deloitte, The Royal Household, the National Archives, the Kuwaiti government, and the US House of Representatives, to name just a few, on matters as diverse as shareholder suits, reinsurance claims, patents, trademarks, contract disputes, construction, complex litigation, FCPA issues, and general legal and regulatory compliance obligations. We are now dedicating our skills in records and information management to assisting organisations to develop a comprehensive system for managing non-financial information that will enable them to construct a compelling narrative, unleashing the organisation’s power to attract maximum investment. As the Head of UK Equities at Aviva Investors has stated: “ESG data influences how we invest. We therefore need companies to report on ESG with the same level of diligence, controls, and precision as they do for the data provided in their annual report and accounts”

The Team

Tim Bovy, CEO & Co-founder: Tim has over 30 years of experience in designing and implementing various types of information and risk management systems for major law firms such as Clifford Chance and Ashursts; and for major accountancy firms such as Deloitte. He has also developed solutions for organizations such as BT, Imperial Tobacco, Rio Tinto, the Kuwaiti government, The Royal Household, and the US House of Representatives. Tim holds a BA degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame, and MA and C.Phil degrees from the University of California.

Ian Hodges, COO & Co-Founder: Ian has worked in a variety of information management roles over a twenty year career. He has designed and implemented records and information management systems at a national scale, developing parts of the digital archive at The National Archives (UK). At a corporate level he's undertaken projects such as introducing a records retention tool at The Royal Household. Ian has also worked on a number of smaller scale solutions around better process design for a variety of organizations. Ian holds a BA degree from the University of Southern Queensland, a postgraduate diploma from Deakin University, Melbourne and an MA from Birkbeck, University of London.

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