Saving energy with SAP Carbon Impact (photo: SAP)

What do “sustainable” processes and “operating in the black” have in common? At first glance, not much. On closer inspection, however, a great deal. The bottom line is this: The more control a company has over its processes, the fewer resources it will waste. Reducing fuel consumption in company cars, curbing electricity usage, eliminating non-essential business trips, and streamlining supply chains all helps to cut CO2 emissions and – ultimately – costs. And that means higher operating profits. Expressed another way, the CO2 emissions generated by a business process are an indicator of how effective and efficient that process is. Software that enables a company to monitor its CO2 emissions end to end not only smoothes the transition to becoming a “sustainable” enterprise; it also continuously identifies potential for optimization and thus becomes a key success factor. The goal is to help companies increase their short- and long-term profitability by holistically managing economic, environmental, and societal risks and opportunities.


Sustainability as a success factor

“We can expect to see regulatory requirements become significantly more stringent in the coming years. Sustainability and CO2 reduction will comprehensively impact and alter business processes, particularly in developed markets such as North America and Europe.” explains Scott Bolick, VP Sustainability. “Businesses that start using IT to reduce their CO2 emissions now are investing in a much more than just complying with pending regulations. They are investing to gain competitive advantage. Our new emissions management software, SAP Carbon Impact, gives companies the ideal means to manage carbon and gain financial advantage during the transition to a lower carbon economy.”


This statement, by the way, applies just as much to companies that do not face the direct prospect of legal compliance. How? As part of a logistics networks, enterprises will likely be obliged to present CO2-related information. Leading supermarket chains already require carbon reporting. Additionally, consumer products companies are both setting overall carbon reduction goals and providing carbon labeling for products. The benefits are decreased costs through greater efficiency and increased brand reputation. Typical examples are businesses that supply supermarkets and large consumer goods companies.

The right solution at the right time

SAP Carbon Impact was originally developed by Clear Standards, an American software company specializing in solutions for cutting CO2 emissions, and has been part of the official SAP portfolio since the acquisition in June 2009. SAP Carbon Impact empowers businesses to identify, measure, and control their CO2 emissions. “This solution enables companies to constantly monitor and find ways to reduce their carbon impact, their water consumption, and their energy use,” says Richard Mendis, a Clear Standards co-founder, who is now responsible for the SAP Carbon Impact solution management team. The economic benefit: Companies will be able to translate carbon into financial impact, getting the chance to make project decisions based upon financial costs.


Open interfaces ensure flexibility

SAP Carbon Impact is also a highly practical choice, because it is an on-demand solution, and delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and therefore, does not entail any additional hardware requirements. But the Carbon Impact solution can also be linked up to non-SAP ERP software via open interfaces. The program simply extracts the data it requires for analyses and presents it in graphical form. “This gives the software enormous flexibility; it can be operated independently and is open to an array of data sources,” explains Bolick.

SAP plans to make a version of SAP Carbon Impact available in the future that connects directly to SAP Business Suite and master data management. “At the moment, our English-language software addresses the world’s top 2000 companies. But we’re also planning localized versions for the EMEA regions, South America, and Asia,” explains Mendis. With its holistic approach, SAP Carbon Impact aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout a company’s ecosystem, an objective that appealed, among others, to leading solar panel manufacturer Sunpower Corp. The company, based out of San José, California, now uses the solution to monitor its global CO2 emissions, including those from manufacturing facilities in Asia. Bolick predicts: “Ultimately, every single company will find itself asking similar questions: What legal stipulations lie ahead? How can we demonstrate compliance? How can our own processes benefit? What is the business impact?” SAP Carbon Impact can help answer these questions – sustainably.