South Pole Case Study

How this climate consultancy leverages Manifest Climate to simplify disclosures and drive action

May 22, 2024

If you work in corporate sustainability then you’re all too familiar with the problem of too many disclosure requirements, and not enough time. South Pole, a global climate change consultancy, experiences this on a regular basis with their work helping clients with climate disclosures, risk assessments, and net-zero strategies.

Here’s how they turned this common climate challenge into a competitive advantage for their consultancy and clients.

Turning climate challenges into opportunities for action 

When companies are subject to multiple climate disclosure regulations, a simple compliance job can become extremely complicated, very quickly. “The pain point is making sense of all those regulations,” says Harman Gill, Senior Managing Consultant and Climate Risk Lead for South Pole in North America. “Although they drive towards similar themes, they become quite idiosyncratic across different regions.” 

Yet within this challenge lies an even greater opportunity. “The more disclosures there are, the more opportunities exist to drive action,” explains Gill. Manifest Climate helps teams like South Pole turn what is often seen as a problem (multiple disclosure requirements) into the starting point for real corporate climate action. 

“Manifest Climate helps us as consultants easily demonstrate disclosure gaps and help our clients seize opportunities for climate action.” Leveraging Manifest Climate helps South Pole simplify cross-jurisdictional disclosure compliance and clearly makes a case for why their clients must take immediate action on climate disclosures. 

The key to climate action – stakeholder alignment 

The key to getting clients to the ‘action’ stage of their climate journey is getting all relevant stakeholders on the same page — and that’s where Manifest has been instrumental. “Manifest Climate is really the linchpin that helps consultants, sustainability teams, and policymakers get on the same page,” says Gill, “which is a critical first step in driving action.”

South Pole leverages Manifest Climate as a ‘starting point’ for client engagements 

As the climate disclosure landscape evolves, South Pole relies on Manifest to identify new legislation and understand its implications. “It helps us understand how one legislation differs from another, and how clients’ timelines for disclosure and compliance change,” says Gill.

South Pole uses Manifest as their starting point, and then engages their team members to dig deeper, helping to articulate the next steps needed for senior managers and executive boards, translate reporting legislation into actionable steps, and clarify what is required and when, based on the client’s size and regulatory implications.

South Pole especially appreciates the ability to “zoom in and zoom out” using Manifest Climate. “You’re constantly zooming out to look at your compliance journey for the next one, two or even five years,” says Gill. Yet at the same time, it’s important to ‘zoom in’ and ask more detailed questions — “what exactly is required of this line item? Which one of my team members needs to get involved? What results are we disclosing, and where?” From there, the team can easily zoom out to assess how this fits together with the client’s overall strategy, risk management, or business planning.

By giving the South Pole team both high-level perspective and deep, line-level insights, Manifest Climate is the ultimate companion for helping clients progress through their climate journeys.

Peer benchmarking 

Most climate targets are relative — they’re informed by the targets that other organizations within an industry are making. This means that the ability to compare climate performance with other organizations is a critical asset in any corporate climate journey. 

“The core driver behind clients on a sustainability journey is often what their peers are doing,” says Gill. “Manifest Climate’s peer tracker is especially useful for that. Throughout our journey with clients, it’s especially useful to say, ‘Hey, this is where your peers are.’”

Tracking progress and ensuring continuity 

“Manifest Climate plays a very important role in terms of tracking progress and establishing a process,” says Gill. Where traditionally, the team may have used spreadsheets or PowerPoint slides for assessments and action plans, this would make revisiting and tracking progress very difficult in subsequent years — particularly as a company’s sustainability team changes due to expansion and staff turnover. 

Technology such as Manifest Climate plays an important role in keeping a central record of climate data and progress, ensuring institutional continuity over the long term. “Manifest Climate helps us establish a process — a ‘home base’,” says Gill. “It’s a record of all the steps taken, and the progress to date.” The corporate sustainability journey is a long one. “There are a lot of disclosures and requirements along the way,” Gill explains. “Companies need to revisit their risk assessments every few years and establish new risk management processes, so it’s not a ‘one and done’ exercise.”

Improving efficiency and accelerating client results 

Putting Manifest Climate at the center of their client work has created significant efficiency gains for the team at South Pole. “One efficiency gain is how quickly we can synthesize a client’s baseline,” says Gill. Manifest Climate allows the team to instantly assess disclosure gaps and peer comparisons, rapidly accelerating the early stages of client engagement. 

After initial assessments, Manifest Climate helps the team understand exactly where their client sits in the sea of climate disclosures, how well they’re complying, and the next best steps they can take. 

The final part of the equation comes when clients are ready for disclosure. “The Climate Profile helps us prepare a draft disclosure on behalf of clients,” says Gill. “Something that, at first, seems like a mountain to climb, can be easily broken down into smaller, less time-consuming steps.”

Manifest Climate boosts South Pole’s specialized competitive advantage 

“At South Pole, we possess extensive expertise in guiding clients through complex aspects of their climate journey, encompassing risk assessments, GHG accounting, target setting, and decarbonization,” explains Gill. “We’re eager to help clients understand why disclosures are important and how to implement them effectively.” Manifest Climate helps South Pole take these competitive advantages to new heights, by accelerating the disclosure assessment and compliance process, and providing detailed, AI-driven analyses based on thousands of data points that help clients understand where they sit relative to peers and disclosure expectations. “Manifest really aligns with our competitive strengths and enhances our efficiency in delivering value-added services,” says Gill. 

South Pole’s team is tracking their use of the software closely, and will periodically assess KPIs such as: 

  • How much Manifest Climate improved speed and quality in client porting and disclosure 
  • How the software has allowed the team to engage more deeply with stakeholders on disclosures and required steps for compliance

The team compares these KPIs against scenarios without Manifest Climate in order to quantify the speed, efficiency, and quality of stakeholder engagement that Manifest brings. 

Why the team behind the Manifest Climate product matters to South Pole 

It wasn’t just Manifest’s friendly UI and powerful AI that drew the South Pole team to the software. Manifest’s history as a specialized climate consulting firm gave the South Pole team confidence that the software they were investing in was built by experts with the same domain knowledge and daily challenges, and not just by ‘software people’. “The legacy of Manifest’s work before AI was a positive signal to us,” says Gill. “It shows they’ve been in this field for a long time and understand it deeply.” 

Ultimately, the usefulness of an AI model comes down not to the algorithms behind it but rather the data it is trained on. Without the right ‘climate minds’ to train our models correctly, Manifest Climate would not help South Pole capitalize on its highly niche competitive advantage. The humans behind the Manifest Climate solution make all the difference. 

South Pole also appreciates how easy it is to work with the team at Manifest. “They’re very easy to work with, responsive, and quick with turnarounds,” says Gill. “They’re really curious about your pain points and eager to make changes based on feedback. It’s a cohesive experience, from the technology to the personnel.”

Give your consulting firm a competitive edge with Manifest Climate 

Manifest Climate is the leading Climate Intelligence Software that provides decision-makers with climate-related insights and recommendations to inform decisions, seize opportunities and mitigate risk. 

Manifest Climate uses industry-leading AI models to create comparability from qualitative climate information faster, more accurately and more consistently than humans. 

Issuers, service providers and financial institutions choose Manifest Climate for ease of use, in-house climate expertise, and depth of qualitative climate data. 

With Manifest Climate, teams reduce time spent on manual research by 99%, improving precision and consistency as a result.