Deep Dive: Emission Factors Management in SAP Sustainability Footprint Management
This blog post continues my blog series on the main product capabilities of SAP Sustainability Footprint Management. This edition describes how you can combine the imported business data with emission factors for calculating sustainability footprints at scale. I’m covering:
If you are not yet familiar with the application, I recommend you start reading my blog post Introducing Carbon Accounting with SAP Sustainability Footprint Management here in the SAP Community first.
Importing Emission Factors
For evaluating the environmental impact of the acquired business data and calculating footprints at scale, SAP Sustainability Footprint Management offers the capability to import and manage emission factors. With the current release, the application is focusing on the climate change impact, representing the Global Warming Potential (GWP) measured in CO2-equivalents (CO2e). In the future we plan to extend to other impact categories, such as water and land use. The emission factors are imported into the application via Excel-file upload and can be collected from different sources: Preferably you’re using primary, actual footprint data that you’ve received from your suppliers directly. As suppliers are often not yet able to provide this data, companies nowadays mostly rely on secondary emission factors, representing industry averages, from lifecycle assessment (LCA) databases. 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 Sustainability 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 […]”.
SAP has partnerships with LCA content providers ecoinvent and Carbon Minds, via the SAP Store their databases can be licensed. You’ll receive those in the required format for simply importing into SAP Sustainability Footprint Management, providing you access to several thousand datasets.
Other options are leveraging custom data that was collected during own operations or calculated by using LCA software tools, as well as leveraging estimated proxies for the respective material or activity. With those various options, we’re providing a hybrid approach to support you moving from average to actual emission data over time. More information can be found in the application help: Using the Manage Sustainability Factors Application.
Mapping Emission Factors
After importing the required emission factors, you need to map those to your purchased products, replicated from your ERP business data. For this purpose, we’re providing a functionality to configure all your mappings at various levels of granularity, such as suppliers, product groups, or commodity codes.
The mapping template is auto generated by the system, based on your imported ERP master data and prefilled with the respective information, such as products, commodity codes, and suppliers. With in-app editing you can edit, add, or remove entries, and you can associate the emission factor for every line item. Via the value help you can filter and search all your imported emission factor databases for the most appropriate match. Alternatively, you can also maintain the mappings in a csv-file and upload it to the application. For more information on the mapping, see Using the Manage Mappings Application.
Freight Transport Emissions
For calculating freight transport footprints in the most accurate way, we’re providing a content package with certain emission factors preconfigured in the application already. This data is provided by the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) and comprises 142 different emission factors, covering the most common means of transport, as well as latest ones like Hydrogen or Power to X (PtX) energy types. Add-on packages are available to enhance the content of this starter package. For sure, also own emission factors can be maintained. More information can be found in SAP Help: Transport Emission Factors.
For accelerating the move from average to actual footprint calculation, we plan to implement an API to receive footprints directly from suppliers. This includes an inbound data quality management, focusing on improving and streamlining the process of handling supplier-specific product footprints. We’re planning to provide a staging area to review incoming footprints with approve-reject workflows, and further capabilities for benchmarking and comparison with emission factors from LCA databases, leading to a mass-enabled, rule-based approval process for supplier product footprints. We further also plan to integrate with SAP Sustainability Data Exchange to leverage its carbon sharing capabilities. Those new functionalities will give you direct access to supplier footprints and therefore improve your data quality and increase transparency by using primary data. It’ll also reduce the mapping effort and simplify this process.
As actual and primary data won’t be available for all products in the short term, we are also investing in the existing functionalities of mapping business data to LCA databases. In a first step, we plan productivity enhancements, providing built-in, automated mapping recommendations and a mapping wizard with early warnings and validation checks. Those enhancements will improve the user experience and increase automation. The goal is to achieve an intelligent emission factor mapping, enabling sustainability experts to map business activities automatically and transparently to sustainability factors leveraging AI technology.
For an overview of all planned innovations and their benefit for you and your company, have a look into SAP Road Map Explorer.