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Author's profile photo Nico Wottke

Product Deep Dive: Emission Factors Management in SAP Product Footprint Management

As outlined in my initial blog post Welcome to Product Footprint Management from SAP, I will in regular cadence provide deep dives into the product capabilities of SAP Product Footprint Management. After our successful SAP Community Call in August (Recording) and the product release in September (Press Release) we received many requests from customers and partners who are interested in the product and want to learn more. One of the focus areas of interest is the import and management of emission factors. Therefore, I will provide more details around that product capability in this blog post.

Import Emission Factors

SAP Product Footprint Management is using emission factors to evaluate the environmental impact of the goods movements that are collected from SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud and to calculate product footprints at scale. The solution’s emission factors management enables you to reuse results from existing product lifecycle assessment (LCA) initiatives without starting from scratch. In the Import Emission Factors app datasets from own product LCA as well as from external LCA content providers can be imported. LCA content providers offer scientifically based lifecycle inventory (LCI) datasets with evaluations about the environmental impact of thousands of products and materials, see Greenhouse Gas Protocol for more information regarding those databases. In SAP Product Footprint Management, we expect customers to follow the requirements of GHG Protocol Product Standard (chapter 11.2, p.85): “Companies shall apply a 100 year global warming potential (GWP) factor to GHG emissions […]”. The emission data needs to be stored in the SAP LCA format, and you can download the respective template as a Microsoft Excel file in the right format directly in the application.

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Import Emission Factors App

The dataset file consists of the following data sheets:

  • Emission Dataset: A unique ID and information such as unit of measure, country/ region codes, and validity are assigned
  • Emission Factors: The impact category (greenhouse gases), footprint indicator (global warming potential 100 years), and the respective emission factor value for each product is assigned
  • Dataset Classifications: Classification codes, such as Harmonized System (HS) and Central Product Classification (CPC), are assigned
  • Dataset Attributes: Additional attributes to further describe the datasets can be assigned
  • Dataset Qualities: A quality indicator can be assigned to evaluate the data for precision or reliability

For example, you can enter data for your raw material cocoa beans that you are sourcing from a supplier in Ghana from own calculations and add an emission factor of 13 kg CO2 equivalents. This value refers to 1kg of cocoa beans from Ghana. The environmental evaluation method is the IPCC 2013 GWP 100a. This value is then taken as input for the calculation and is matched to the business data via the mapping templates. To learn more about the footprint calculation and the mapping of emission factors and business data please see this blog post from my colleague Nisheeth Agarwal, illustrating this capability with a simple, everyday example.

We also plan to deliver the possibility to import actual emission data provided by your suppliers directly in one of the next releases of SAP Product Footprint Management.

Partnership with ecoinvent

For ease of use we are offering partnerships with LCA content providers, the first one being established with ecoinvent. This not-for-profit association is dedicated to promoting and supporting the availability of environmental data worldwide and builds on more than 20 years of experience in LCA methodology development and LCI data. The ecoinvent database is a lifecycle inventory database including transparent, consistent, and traceable data with global coverage. It consists of around 19,000 emission factors datasets in various industrial sectors, such as energy supply, agriculture, biofuels and biomaterials, specialty chemicals, construction materials, packaging materials, basic and precious metals, metals processing, ICT and electronics, dairy, and wood.

Ecoinvent’s product-related emission factor datasets are provided in the SAP LCA format already so you can import the data into SAP Product Footprint Management easily. To facilitate the mapping of business data and emission factors the Harmonized System (HS) classification of the products from your SAP S/4HANA system can be matched to the ecoinvent datasets with the Central Product Classification (CPC), see United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) for details on the classification schemes.

The ecoinvent dataset is going to be available in the SAP Store in the next days (the direct link will be added here), a trial version will be available there as well. By using this dataset you will benefit from leveraging results from existing high quality product lifecycle assessment studies based on the most widely used standards, as well as simplified and vendor agnostic emission factors that can be imported in SAP Product Footprint Management with business user friendly MS Excel file format.

Additional Information and Updates

For more details on the import and management of emission factors please have a look into the SAP Help Portal. In separate articles you will find instructions on how to prepare the data for the template and how to import the emission factors into the application.

I also recommend you joining our SAP Sustainability Day on October 28th! This free-of-charge virtual event is a follow-up to the very successful first SAP Sustainability Summit that took place in April 2021. On this day we will showcase our sustainability innovations and provide deep dives into our portfolio and its products and their capabilities. All information on the event, the agenda as well as the registration you will find on the event webpage. The recordings of all sessions will be stored there as well soon after the event.

To stay up to date on SAP Product Footprint Management please follow me here in the SAP Community. In regular cadence I will publish further blog posts giving you updates on all the product’s new features and functions as well as deep dives into the product capabilities. For questions, please see the Q&A here in the SAP for Sustainability Community. For sure you can also reach out to me directly, feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section below.

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