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Author's profile photo Christian Butzlaff

Calculating Carbon Footprints Accurately

The carbon footprint of purchased products and services is a critical factor in carbon reporting and a vital component of a corporation’s carbon footprint reduction strategy. Understanding the footprint of purchased material on an actual basis, meaning by the supplier and purchased quantity, is a prerequisite to calculating an accurate, periodic carbon footprint of a corporation’s own manufactured products. But it does not stop there. The energy consumed by each production step as well as direct emissions resulting from manufacturing activities provide additional contributions to the carbon footprint, both, on an organizational level and also on a finished goods level. This applies whether we produce a tennis shoe, a chemical, or a car.

An accurate calculation and active reduction strategy of the carbon footprint does save cost, for example by avoiding Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) payments, like the European carbon border tax.

The SAP Sustainable Footprint Management (SFM) tool allows companies to compute accurate, real-time value chain and finished product carbon footprint numbers from cradle to gate. It provides a scalable and accurate solution for this business requirement. How does this calculation work?

We used the generic example of strawberry fruitcake production. We created a set of videos to explain step by step, how the raw material as well as energy consumption footprints are getting calculated by using SFM. We do this for each production step and facility infrastructure component and finally determine the carbon footprint equivalent of the final product. This provides accurate, real-time, and monthly data, allowing companies to engage in active carbon reduction strategies, compare against targets, report actual and monthly numbers, save costs by reducing tax obligations, and ultimately gain market share.


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      Author's profile photo Michael Censurato
      Michael Censurato

      Christian, you mention the ability to engage in carbon reduction strategies and compare against targets for SFM. Can you differentiate between what is there for SFM compared to Sustainability Control Tower for that?

      Author's profile photo Christian Butzlaff
      Christian Butzlaff
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for the comment, Mike. SFM is primarily used for calculating an accurate and actual carbon footprint cradle to gate. It provides analytical capabilities to drill down, compare, and identify the different contributions to a product's or organizational carbon footprint. It is therefore the basis for any reduction target setting and monitoring, which can be done in the Sustainability Control Tower.