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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

Here is an interesting note from AccountingToday about a tech issue that may impact how your company manages climate data – or any ESG data for that matter – if you are using spreadsheets.

Earlier last month, Microsoft announced its plans to pull back on the decision to automatically block macros in Excel documents. Initially, the company said that Excel files that contained macros would be blocked if downloaded from the internet. Microsoft still plans to move forward with blocking Excel documents with macros, but not in the immediate future. (Source: Computer World

Why this is important for your firm and clients: Susan Bradley at Computerworld says that now is the time to review your spreadsheets that include macros. ‘If you’ve downloaded any online and do not know where they came from, stop,’ she writes. ‘You’ll want to check to ensure that they are not malicious by uploading the files to or to see what the file contains.’ Bradley says that ‘once you identify the Excel files with macros you want to use (but that you’ve haven’t personally developed), your next step is to ensure that each one of these Excel files do not have ‘mark of the web’ on them.’

Now to be totally honest, I am not an Excel whiz (as a matter of fact I am only tech-savvy enough to know how to turn my computer on and off), so I don’t completely understand this. However, given that many carbon emissions calculation/tracking methodologies (including the GHG Protocol) are spreadsheets that are downloadable from the internet, it seems that Microsoft’s eventual plan could be problematic for many companies. Even though this is isn’t something that is right around the corner, it would be wise to evaluate your company’s carbon/ESG data management plans and tools.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile