SAP and Accenture Joining Forces to Help Organizations Embed Sustainability Along Their Value Chains

As we covered previously, Accenture and SAP are focused on helping companies embed sustainability in their core business, as well as collect and analyze the data they need to optimize their sustainability performance right across the value chain.

With COP26, as organizations gear up to take on their sustainability ambitions more seriously than ever, this collaboration becomes critical to effectively support our customers. Here, we’ll bring you up to date on progress across a number of key initiatives driven jointly by our organizations.

SAP and Accenture Embed Sustainability
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Key Pillars for Our Partnership

This graphic highlights the pillars where we are concentrating our efforts. In each of these areas, we are developing targeted solutions to empower companies’ sustainability performance.

Crucially, all our work together aims to provide relevant support for specific industries, as companies in different sectors need to meet the needs of customers, regulators, and other stakeholders. As customers increasingly demand real progress, we are helping companies deliver on the promises they’re making.

UN Global Compact Partnership on SDG Ambition

We are continuing to accelerate our collaboration with the United Nations (UN) Global Compact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Ambition. The momentum of the SDG Ambition Accelerator program continues to grow, with more and more companies now mobilized to accelerate both their adoption of ambitious corporate targets and integration of the 17 UN SDGs into core business management.

By embedding SDG-aligned practices deep into their business operations and across their value chains, these companies can make more rapid progress toward achieving the goals of the 2030 agenda.

The first round of the program successfully concluded in June, with over 600 companies across more than 65 countries participating and more than 1,200 company leaders taking part in accelerator workshops. The results were overwhelmingly positive, with 89% of participants satisfied with the program and 88% agreeing that the accelerator helped them identify new ways for their company to contribute to the SDGs. Additionally, we are about to launch a second round of the program, with an enhanced curriculum and multiple additional local tracks, including in Australia, Korea, Kenya, Argentina, and Canada. So far, more than 700 companies from over 80 countries have signed up.

Accenture shares SAP’s vision of zero emissions, zero waste, and zero inequality. To achieve a sustainable world, organizations have to transform into intelligent enterprises, and intelligent enterprises have to form a network of intelligent enterprises.

In addition to the accepted top line and bottom line, a new “green line” covering the environmental, social, and governance aspects needs to be established as another dimension of success across business processes and along value chains. This way, organizations achieve transparency and influence that span beyond even company borders.

Accenture and SAP together want to help organizations to become sustainable intelligent enterprises. To enable this, SAP is developing new solutions and embedding sustainability into existing solutions along the dimensions climate action, the circular economy, and social responsibility, as well as holistic steering and reporting. Accenture is helping organizations to design and implement strategies for achieving ambitious sustainability goals by leveraging the growing portfolio of sustainability management solutions from SAP.

Climate Action: Enabling Our Customers to Move to Low-Carbon Business Models

SAP and Accenture work together to help organizations design and deliver carbon intelligence strategies that are powered by SAP solutions and technologies and address both direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We help our clients to define their decarbonization strategies and road maps. These go beyond simply achieving a target but are also intended to help sustain and monitor future ways of working. Our objective is to empower organizations to move beyond a compliance and reporting mindset, and instead harness emission-related intelligence in their businesses as a lever for growth and strategic transformation.

With the SAP solutions coming out of its Climate 21 initiative, we’re helping companies to accelerate their journeys to net zero, to kick-start the decarbonization of their end-to-end processes, and to integrate carbon emissions management into their business decision-making. All this is possible through SAP Environment, Health, and Safety Management (emissions management), whih allows tracking and managing environmental footprints on a corporate level, and the recent release of SAP Product Footprint Management, which allows calculating environmental footprints on product level at scale.

In addition, numerous SAP solutions — including SAP Ariba Procurement, SAP Concur, and SAP E-Mobility — will provide additional levers in the future for reducing scope 3 emissions.

Circular Economy: Joint Product Development

We have co-developed a new solution that SAP intends to make generally available this month, SAP Responsible Design and Production. The solution aims to address two critical challenges: managing complex extended producer responsibility regulations, which vary from country to country, and enabling every organization to reduce their use of plastic, thereby contributing to sustainable and profitable growth through less plastic, fewer fines, and lower cost.

Because SAP Responsible Design and Production directly leverages data from core enterprise resource planning (ERP) processes, it enables determining waste compositions and calculating EPR fees across numerous product lines as well as adhering to a growing number of different extended producer responsibility declaration schemes. To date, we have four clients testing the beta version of the new solution, released at the end of August, and they will be closely involved in assessing new releases.

Expanding SAP.iO Sustainability Cohorts

We have already seen 13 startups selected and moving ahead through the Sustainable Future program (see the demo session here). We continue to build on that momentum together, jointly mobilizing additional cohorts through SAP.iO Foundries locations in New York, San Francisco, Paris, and Singapore, where we identify, select, and mentor new startups that will bring new ideas to help solve our customers’ sustainability challenges in energy and natural resources, retail, and consumer goods.

Enabling Better ESG Reporting and Steering

Together, we are helping our customers achieve greater transparency in how they report on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. This includes addressing the data capture and integration challenge so they can successfully build an ESG capability and choosing the most appropriate reporting framework for their organization. Our objective is to help them achieve integrated reporting that captures both financial and non-financial metrics, keep up with fast-evolving regulatory demands, and create differentiated ESG value propositions for stakeholders across the various frameworks, including GRI, SASB, TCFD, and others.

The World Economic Forum Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics promotes the adoption of universal and common standards and disclosures, unlocking long-term value through greater transparency, accountability, and business transformation. Based on these metrics, SAP is developing the SAP Sustainability Control Tower solution, which leverages SAP’s leading data integration, data management, and analytics solutions. SAP intends to make the solution generally available in December 2021.

Ready to Deliver Together

Our joint teams are ready to deliver. We are helping our clients to define their road maps, identify priorities, and accelerate their journeys through the selection and implementation of relevant SAP S/4HANA capabilities and new SAP solutions.

As we look ahead, we’re all focused on COP26 and the recommendations that emerge from it. To join us, register for the virtual sessions:

  • Unlocking Promise of Sustainability in Asia-Pacific
    November 3, 2021, 9:00-10:15 a.m. GMT
  • Business and Nature: Businesses Role in Realizing a Nature-Positive Economy
    November 8, 2021, 10:00-11:00 a.m. GMT

Learn more about our collaboration on sustainability here. Do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss how we can help you accelerate your transformation into a truly sustainable organization.

We look forward to sharing further progress soon.


Gunther Rothermel is senior vice president and head of Sustainability for SAP S/4HANA at SAP.
Stephanie Guimbellot is managing director at Accenture and global lead for SAP Sustainability and Innovation.