Companies can calculate the carbon footprints for all their products through their entire product life cycle using SAP Product Footprint Management, the latest in SAP’s expanding portfolio of sustainability solutions.
SAP Product Footprint Management enables companies to lower their carbon emissions, make their products more sustainable, and disclose their products’ environmental footprints to regulators. The product launch underpins SAP’s sustainability strategy to deliver products and services that address the sustainability challenges and opportunities of its customers.
Thomas Saueressig, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, responsible for Product Engineering, explained the urgency for applications like SAP Product Footprint Management: ‘Customers want it, the world needs it. There is no time to waste for businesses to act more responsibly and sustainably. Sustainability goals are increasingly as important to business success as financial goals.’
By integrating emissions data across all solutions that govern production processes with master data from business applications such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP Product Footprint Management can calculate the environmental impact of various production scenarios.
‘When companies embed emissions data into underlying business processes, leaders can drive real change by making conscious decisions across the entire value chain,’ Saueressig said, noting that SAP is uniquely positioned to drive this change throughout collaborative, intelligent, and sustainable business networks.
SAP’s Commitment to Sustainability
SAP has been leading by example in sustainable business practices for more than a decade. In addition to being named the software industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for 14 consecutive years, SAP’s membership in the Value Balancing Alliance and use of the annual SAP Integrated Report illustrates our commitment to integrating economic, environmental, and social performance to drive business decisions.
‘SAP has long had a strong, dedicated focus on its own sustainability operations,’ said Marta Muñoz, senior research director and lead, Technology & Sustainability Practice, IDC EME. ‘The launch of the SAP Product Footprint Management solution, combined with the WBCSD’s Pathfinder Project, represents a unique opportunity to bring together companies to jointly drive decarbonization across value chains and industries.’
Interview with Gunther Rothermel and Anita Varshney
Gunther Rothermel is senior vice president and head of Sustainability for SAP S/4HANA. Anita Varshney is global vice president of Strategy for Sustainability for SAP S/4HANA and oversees the product strategy and global partner ecosystem across SAP’s sustainability portfolio.
Q: What’s the significance of this product launch for SAP?
Rothermel: All of us can see climate change impacting not only our customer’s operations, but also our own personal lives. SAP Product Footprint Management is an incredibly important milestone along our path to help customers systematically monitor and control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across their end-end business processes. To support their decarbonization journey, the solution delivers data transparency on their environmental footprint and enables them to make more informed decisions in real time.
The potential impact cannot be overstated. Boston Consulting Group analyzed the emissions across the eight major supply chains and found that around 40% of GHG can be eliminated with measures that bring cost savings or are at costs of less than €10 per ton of CO2 equivalent. Just imagine what we and our customers can achieve together.
Competition for sustainability management software is heating up. How is SAP differentiating itself?
Varshney: A number of new technologies are emerging to facilitate the identification, tracking, trade and offset of GHG emissions, and established players and as well as newer, small vendors are coming out with innovative solutions applying leading technology to solve complex problems. As long as we stay focused on our core business capabilities and deliver innovations on top of SAP Business Technology (SAP BTP) platform, we can position ourselves as a front runner in solving environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues at scale. We can differentiate ourselves from the competition in three ways:
- Differentiated impact of our product offerings: With our portfolio, we will enable organizations to assess and reduce their carbon footprint, increase resource productivity through circular processes, and run safer, sustainable business processes while providing industry-specific insights that combine operational and financial data across value chains.
- Deep process integration: By embedding sustainability data into end-end business processes across value chains, we can help our customers adapt their key business processes to be more sustainable.
- Co-innovation with ecosystem partners: In close collaboration with our partners, customers, market makers, and standard bodies, we will jointly shape and accelerate innovations for the future sustainability landscape, which enables and drives new redefined business process models.
What’s the role of SAP BTP? How can our customers use these cloud services?
Rothermel: SAP BTP plays a very important enabling role for us. We are building our new sustainability solutions along cloud engineering principles, based on open, flexible architecture on top of SAP BTP. We are also making full use of key additional platform capabilities.
For instance, we are closely working with the SAP BTP team to build SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud content for our upcoming solution SAP Sustainability Control Tower. We are also following an ‘API-first’ approach for our new services, helping our partners more easily adapt and integrate their own solutions on top of the foundation that we deliver from SAP. This enables us to jointly address most critical use cases in different industries, enabling our customer to manage their environmental, societal, and planetary impact.
What’s our future road map and our vision to support our customers as they transition to become sustainable enterprises?
Varshney: During their life cycle, products move from material acquisition and pre-processing to production and storage, and finally, downstream to distribution, delivery, use, and end-of-life. SAP Product Footprint Management enables transparency regarding environmental footprints across this full product life cycle. For this, we are taking a holistic approach and are now also embedding emissions data into our other products like SAP Integrated Business Planning, SAP Ariba and others.
Two more products will be announced soon: SAP Responsible Design and Production and SAP Sustainability Control Tower. With SAP Responsible Design and Production, we empower businesses to eliminate waste and support compliance to extended producer responsibility schemes. This will allow them to manage their limited resources productively throughout their life cycle. With SAP Sustainability Control Tower, we enable our customers to improve performance and long-term valuation by embedding sustainability metrics and insights into core business processes.
What was the most challenging aspect of the project?
Rothermel: There is a lot of time pressure given the urgency the topic has for SAP, the industry, and society overall. I am extremely proud of what my team has accomplished in a very short time window. Although the team was only set-up in the fourth quarter of last year, we delivered on our promised innovations on time despite the restraints of COVID-19. With the sustainability management program, colleagues came together and each has played a significant role in shaping this product, the first significant innovation focused on the vision of a sustainable intelligent enterprise for our customers.