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Author's profile photo Kathryn Zwack

Sustainability: It Takes a Village—of Partners

If you have ever been a member of a sports team, orchestra, or chorus, you know that working together is much more fun than going alone. As part of team in your organization, you are likely aware that ‘many hands make light work.’ Similarly, when you are seeking opportunities to meet your sustainability objectives, you can’t possibly do that alone. Your organization needs to collaborate with all your trading partners across the supply chain, especially since Scope 3 emissions can make up to 70% of your carbon footprint. You need information from your trading partners about their sustainability initiatives to ensure that, collectively, you are meeting your objectives.

Gathering this information can be especially hard for complex businesses such as global manufacturing companies. Collecting sustainability data, such as carbon footprints, material and energy use, and emissions due to transport, is not an easy task and requires strong supplier collaboration. ​

By increasing collaboration across your supply chain, coupled with smarter product and packaging design, the introduction of circular economy principles into a manufacturing business can, in the long run, increase profitability and enable new business models. ​However, manufacturing companies must initiate their sustainability transformation now to ensure they are complying with an ever-increasing number of regulations​, embedding sustainability principles into processes and business models, and driving sustainability across their operations and supply chain for greater stakeholder trust​.

To assist, SAP recently unveiled the following innovations at Hannover Messe:

Transforming to Net Zero

Company-specific sustainable package guidelines are now supported in SAP Responsible Design and Production so customers can monitor, measure, and act to eliminate waste during packaging design. Enhanced capabilities support the legal requirements of Spanish, Italian and UK customers to identify  trade-offs and simplify product portfolio decisions. The solution enables manufacturers to track the global regulatory landscape and maintain reporting on producer responsibility, voluntary commitments, and taxes on materials, such as plastics. Using the solution, they can combine and manage data on material properties and logistics across silos and feed insights into material impacts and circularity back into their ERP and supply chain systems.

Selecting Sustainable Suppliers

SAP Business Network is simplifying the process of researching and monitoring suppliers’ environmental, social, and ethical performance.  SAP has extended its integration with EcoVadis within the Trading Partner Profile (TPP), enabling suppliers on SAP Business Network to showcase their EcoVadis sustainability rating status to differentiate themselves in search results and attract more customers. By promoting their sustainability performance across SAP Business Network, suppliers are helping buyers identify opportunities to drive toward compliance with emerging ESG due diligence and reporting legislation, as well as giving buyers the ability to select new suppliers who can help them reach ambitious corporate and value chain sustainability commitments.

Suppliers receive a multitude of assessment requests from their Buyers, typically asking the same or very similar questions, relating to human rights, carbon footprint, security, etc. With the latest human rights due diligence legislation in countries like Germany and The Netherlands, suppliers can expect these assessment requests to multiply. Our new self-assessment innovation on SAP Business Network allows suppliers to better position themselves to new and existing business partners by automating and reducing the overall number and the redundancy of assessment requests. If a supplier receives a request they have already completed, they can simply click to share the assessment from the network back to that buyer to action.

These are just a few of the sustainability innovations that SAP has underway. Please provide us with some feedback about what you and your company are doing to promote sustainability and what challenges you are facing in the process. Stop by for a tour of our booth or a demo of our sustainability solutions at Hannover Messe. In the meantime, take a look at our sustainability solutions and subscribe to our newsletter.

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