Putting Sustainability at the Heart of ERP

Feature by Sophia Mendelsohn
Jun 7, 2024 10:05 AM ET
A person in a room of blurred others.

Sustainability has evolved from a boardroom buzzword to a critical driver of business success and strategic differentiation. To thrive, companies are going to need to understand how to operate in a modern, low-carbon, circular economy. SAP solutions will support them by embedding sustainability into every aspect of their operations.

At our customer flagship event, SAP Sapphire, we’re discussing how we support customers with their biggest challenges, looking at future trends, and unveiling the latest product innovations.

This makes the event the perfect opportunity to highlight how we are redefining the way companies manage sustainability through our ERP-centric, cloud-based, AI-enabled approach.


For true business model transformation, sustainability needs to be at the core of how companies operate. At SAP, we integrate sustainability data into cloud ERP business processes, which helps companies connect financial and non-financial information and thus treat carbon like money. This makes all decisions financially and environmentally sound while enabling customers to record real impacts and report audit-ready environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics seamlessly.


Instant access to fast-evolving innovations is only possible through the cloud. Our modern cloud-based solutions ensure that businesses can quickly adopt new functionality and stay ahead in a rapidly changing environment.


Business AI is revolutionizing the way we approach sustainability. At SAP, AI takes complex sustainability tasks reliant on sustainability data and ERP data and makes them automated and auditable. It enables companies to improve operational efficiency, foster greater transparency around supply chain emissions, design and plan more effectively, and automate time-consuming tasks. SAP Business AI is built on the data and processes that run the business world, including sustainability related information from both inside and outside the company’s walls, making our solutions smarter, faster, and more effective.

With SAP Business AI, we support our customers’ efforts to optimize for sustainable impact. This year at SAP Sapphire, we are thrilled to announce two new AI-driven sustainability use cases:

  • Emission Factor Mapping with AI: Available in SAP Sustainability Footprint Management, this feature enhances the accuracy and speed of carbon footprint calculations through automated, intelligent suggestions. By reducing the manual effort involved in mapping emission factors, businesses can achieve more precise measurements and make informed decisions faster.
  • ESG Report Generation with AI: This capability allows for the automatic generation of ESG reports based on the data within SAP Sustainability Control Tower. This not only streamlines the reporting process but also helps ensure that the data is reliable and actionable, providing a clear picture of a company’s sustainability performance.

Our comprehensive approach to carbon management is becoming a reality as we introduce new sustainability tracking, monitoring, and reporting features within the SAP cloud ERP portfolio as well as a new solution that will help customers manage sustainability commitments and comply with global regulations.

  • Advanced Carbon Calculator Engine: This powerful tool featured in SAP Sustainability Control Tower and SAP Sustainability Footprint Management integrates ERP data from SAP S/4HANA Cloud and other sources and embeds results back into business processes for informed decision-making. As such, it allows customers to meet Greenhouse Gas Protocol reporting standards, offering advanced, granular calculations of both product and corporate carbon footprints.
  • SAP Green Ledger will be released at the end of 2024. The solution will help customers connect their emissions data and financial data, allowing customers to easily understand the correlation between emissions and finances, model sustainable business scenarios, and then act with decisions that are both financially and environmentally.

At SAP, we believe that the future of business is inextricably linked to sustainability. This is why sustainability is a key pillar of our growth strategy. Businesses must recognize that sustainable practices are not just ethical choices, but strategic financial decisions that drive innovation, reduce costs, and mitigate risks.

Moreover, sustainable transformation opens up significant economic opportunities. By transforming their operations around sustainability, businesses can create a modern, low-carbon, circular economy that benefits both the environment and their bottom line, enhancing overall resilience.

This transformation aligns business success with global sustainability goals, paving the way for a more sustainable, valuable, and prosperous future.

Sophia Mendelsohn is chief sustainability and commercial officer at SAP.

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