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News from Copenhagen – SAP University Alliances Announces BPM for Sustainability Initiatives

Professor Mark von Rosing and myself are here live at the Copenhagen arena for the UN Climate Change Conference.  We would like to share some of the amazing things that we are hearing about.  The importance of this conference is shown in the numbers on the participants here in Copenhagen: the Danish Government had provided 15,000 spaces for the event Sunday and instead 34,000 people asked to attend the meeting –more than double the capacity of the Bella Center. Over 60,000 policemen, almost half of the country’s total, have been employed by the Danish government to ensure security during the conference in Copenhagen.


While the eyes of the world focus for 2 weeks on Copenhagen and how 192 countries negotiate to forge an agreement that ensures the world escapes the disastrous effects of climate change, we are seeing hopefull elements of a successful outcome: the new positions of the United States with Obama, and especially China and India for control of emissions of greenhouse gases.

All countries must engage in the objectives of lowering CO2 emissions.  A good example comes from South Africa which will host the next World Cup. South Africa has a 10 year commitment to reduce emissions by 34 percent to 42 percent 2025.

Obama and over 100 heads of state will attend the last days and this makes the congress in Copenhagen between the most important. De Boer acknowledges that over the past 17 years had never encountered so many heads of state to try to take climate agreement. And the hopes of a deal are there. Obama promised a cut of 17 percent.

This shows clearly that green and sustainability incentives are not only a matter of politicians, but a responsibility that we all have and start to understand more clearly. Global warming finally seems to be in everyone’s awareness. Movie stars are now driving hybrid cars to look “green”. Various business magazines write about “green” businesses. Our recent global study with more than 1000 CEOs reveals that for the first time green and sustainability incentives have become one of the top priorities for CEOs along with building shareholder value, improve competitiveness, lower risk and increase operational efficiency. For with the public’s growing environmental awareness, consumers are actively preferring “greener” options. Regulators and legislators are changing the landscape for environmental reporting, compliance, and transparency. Shareholders and investors have made environmental and social performance a top consideration. This shows that the pressures from customers, employees, governments and shareholders are finally paying off and companies are making sustainable changes to protect their brand, manage risk, look for improved returns, and do business with other businesses that are sustainable, are finally developing, communicating and implementing in some ways green and sustainability incentives programs and strategies.

In the past weeks and months have we seen the following initiatives around green and sustainability incentives:

  • 1. June, 2009 – SAP AG announced and initiated their green initiative call for Sustainability, which is a program driving a sustainability initiative inside SAP and supporting customers to achieve sustainability goals. After acquiring an on-demand solution for the pressing needs of Carbon management (SAP Carbon Impact), now in Q4 2009 around the UN Climate Change Conference SAP launches a solution to support Sustainability performance management. It leverages existing products from SAP and non-SAP systems and couples it with a new sustainability analytical application to provide a complete solution for customers.
  • 2. July, 2009 – IBM announced and initiated their GREENER PLANET initiative
  • 3. August 2009 – Novell and Thunderhead have received Energy and Environment validation for their software solutions.
  • 4. September 2009 – IBM and Cisco integrated IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management and Cisco EnergyWise energy management solution. The new combined solution broadens the range of power consumption information and energy optimization policies that can be managed by the Energy Management solutions to help organizations discover, optimize, and report energy usage within their data center and business infrastructure.
  • 5. October 2009, Honeywell integrate Monitoring for Energy Management with Honeywell’s EBI and Tridium offerings.
  • 6. And many more

As IBM’s vice president Henrik Scheel from Copenhagen sums it up nicely: “As we all work toward creating a greener, smarter and cleaner planet, it is way that none of us can get there alone. Nobody, can win, without us all winning. There must be initiative that change the fundamental thinking of companies and the end user”. But how do companies move from the maze of reporting frameworks to communicate their green and sustainability incentives actions in a measurable, meaningful way? For think about your office. How much paper do you trash or recycle from printers and copiers because of rework and waste? How much printer ink, toner cartridges, and other consumables are wasted? How many trees, plants and animals could we save by reducing this pollution?

In a hospital, how many supplies and patients could you save without the mistakes and errors?

In a factory, how much scrap could you prevent and rework could you save?

In a printing shop, how much paper, ink and toner could you save if you got every job right the first time?

In your business, how much waste could you save if you got everything right the first time?

The sustainability imperative is growing, but along with it comes the recognition that improving sustainability is more difficult than some companies hoped – and many environmentalists would admit. For in a practical way, reduction in waste will reduce consumption which will reduce the energy required to produce the stuff in the first place. Less energy use means less warming. Less waste means a greener planet. However green and sustainability incentives, mean that companies need to understand the processes that govern energy and water usage, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions across their business operations and make changes to these processes improve efficiency, reduce consumption and waste, and lower environmental impact.


To help companies build and revamp their business processes to provide measurable sustainability, SAP University Alliances and its worldwide University affiliates announced that they will develop a Green and Sustainability Business Process Management method and road map that will help companies boost economic and environmental performance while they move down the path to sustainability.  This effort is lead by Professor Mark von Rosing and myself. Environmental costs are often hidden and, therefore, not always addressed because they typically fall into the realm of allocated overhead costs. While raw materials and labor expenses are often linked directly to products or processes, costs for electricity, real estate, HVAC, water, and paper – among other environmental expenses – accumulate in overhead accounts. Green BPM tools, such as Business Modelling Management Business Value Management  and Performance Indicator Management can help identify these hidden costs by illuminating the waste in a process. Green BPM projects, in turn, can help reduce waste and deliver both environmental and financial benefits that might not have been captured or, if captured as part of another project, might not have been recognized.

All to build a better future for ourselves and for those to come.

I’m looking forward to hear your expertise comments, ideas, experience and initiatives in this great movement.

Another way to get involved with the Hopenhagen initiative and to make your voice heard is to sign an online petition at There you will learn more ways on how to get involved and how to get a Hopenhagen passport!

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