Enterprise software heavyweight SAP embeds ‘green ledger’ into core apps

SAP, one of the world’s largest enterprise software companies, is pushing aggressively into carbon accounting and supply chain traceability with new offerings unfurled this week at its annual customer and partner conference.

The German company, which claims more than 280 million users worldwide for its cloud-hosted services, is counting on its deep roots in the back offices of large corporations to help establish a dominant position in the burgeoning ESG management software category — also being cultivated by the likes of rivals Microsoft and Salesforce.  

Some of SAP’s capabilities are being made possible through new offerings, such as GreenToken by SAP for tracing raw materials, already being used by customers including Unilever, which uses it to monitor palm oil. SAP is also updating SAP Sustainability Footprint Management, which supports life cycle assessments, and it is aiming squarely at Scope 3 management and reporting challenges with the launch of SAP Sustainability Data Exchange, meant to help companies swap information with partners and suppliers. (More details on the products can be found here.)

Support for carbon accounting is also finding its way into SAP’s core products. Chief among them is a "green ledger" that will use real-time corporate transaction information to calculate carbon data alongside traditional financial metrics. That feature is being embedded into Rise with SAP and Grow with SAP, two of the company’s cloud-based applications.

Jim Sullivan, head of product management for SAP Sustainability, said the company’s customers are clamoring for systems of record to help them manage a range of tasks — from accounting for greenhouse gas emissions across Scope 1, 2 and 3, to verifying the source of agricultural commodities and other materials, to reporting on taxes related to extended producer responsibility regulations.

"It’s not an exaggeration to say that 100 out of 100 customers wants to do something around sustainability with us," Sullivan told me.

What differentiates SAP’s offerings from other products is its deep integration with other enterprise operational systems, essentially using existing systems of record to drive additional insights. "This is not a side car," he said.

Market research firm IDC recently predicted that approximately 30 percent of companies will use

Read More