Footprint versus Handprint in ESG Regulation

Illustration of a plan for sustainability and a icon for footprint and handprint in the middle of the picture

In recent years, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors have become increasingly significant in shaping business practices worldwide, necessitating navigation and understanding of key concepts. We explain the difference between footprint and handprint.

Within the European Union (EU), this emphasis is particularly evident, with strict regulations and standards aimed at promoting sustainability and responsible corporate behavior. For Eye-share AS, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company operating in the EU, navigating through these regulations requires a comprehensive understanding of key concepts such as footprint and handprint.

In this article, we explain the difference between footprint and handprint in ESG regulation, and what could be more natural than starting with the definitions of the two terms.

Footprint vs. Handprint: Defining the Terms

The footprint represents the negative impact a company has on the environment or society through its operations. In the context of a SaaS company, this may include factors such as energy consumption, carbon emissions, waste generation, and water usage associated with data centers, offices, and infrastructure.

Regulations within the EU often require companies to measure, disclose, and reduce their environmental footprint, aligning with broader goals of mitigating climate change and promoting sustainability.

In contrast to footprint, handprint refers to the positive impact a company generates through its actions and products, contributing to environmental or social improvement. For a SaaS company, handprint can manifest through the benefits its software offers in terms of efficiency, resource optimization, and facilitating sustainable practices among its users. Handprint initiatives may involve developing tools for carbon footprint tracking, promoting remote work to reduce commuting emissions, or enabling efficient resource management through cloud-based solutions.

Eye-share’s goal is to reduce our footprint and increase our handprint 🌿

Torhill Falnes, CEO Eye-share

Compliance and Reporting Requirements

EU regulations, such as the EU Green Deal and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), mandate companies to disclose their environmental and social impacts, including both footprint and handprint.

SaaS companies are expected to integrate ESG considerations into their business strategies, governance frameworks, and reporting practices.

Compliance may involve conducting environmental impact assessments, implementing sustainability initiatives, and transparently communicating progress through ESG reports and disclosures.

Strategies for Managing Footprint and Maximizing Handprint

  • Implementing energy-efficient technologies and practices within data centers and office operations to reduce carbon emissions and resource consumption
  • Investing in renewable energy sources to power data centers and infrastructure, thereby lowering the carbon footprint.
  • Offering software solutions that enable clients to monitor and optimize their own environmental performance, such as energy management systems or sustainable supply chain platforms.
  • Engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, such as volunteering programs, community partnerships, and diversity and inclusion efforts, to enhance social handprint.
  • Collaborating with stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, and regulators, to identify and address ESG priorities effectively.

Learn more about our sustainability pledge through our parent company, Tietoevry.