NEW YORK CITY – New environmental regulations coming into favour in the United States, Europe and soon in Canada as well will require many companies to be able to measure the environmental impact and carbon emissions contributed by their business and their products. That will require technology, and SAP AG sees opportunity for the IT industry and the channel in measuring sustainability.
Europe is much further ahead on accountability and sustainability, with new product labeling regulations requiring companies to disclose the carbon impact of products on their labels. And the U.S. is catching up. New regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency will require companies in certain industries, such as utilities, oil and gas and factory farming, to report to the EPA on their carbon impact beginning Jan. 1, 2010. Canada is further behind, but at the provincial level, the push by several provinces to establish cap-and-trade and a carbon market will require companies to measure their carbon output.
As an enterprise business intelligence vendor, SAP feels it is well-positioned to provide businesses with tools to both measure their carbon impact and profile possible investments to mitigate environmental impact, said Peter Graf, SAP’s chief sustainability officer.
“When you have regulations coming up, and carbon labeling, you need to make sure your information is correct and that’s what SAP has been doing for a long time, providing audit trails,” said Graf. “We can now do that for sustainability and carbon impact.”
Through its acquisition of Clear Standard, SAP has acquired and developed Carbon Impact, an on-demand carbon measurement that connects with businesses’ SAP back-end systems to leverage that data to provide end-to-end measurement and dashboarding of a company’s carbon impact.
There are three customer camps, said Graf: those moved only by regulation, those that look at sustainability opportunistically to drive business value, and those that look at is strategically as part of sustaining their business model for the long-term.
“There is definitely a sense of urgency,” said Graf. “Not every industry is going to be regulated, but we’re concerned most of the organizations impacted aren’t even aware or haven’t tools in place to measure what their carbon impact is.”
It’s also about getting the data out of spreadsheets and into software, where it can be shared and leveraged. One challenge companies face today, said Graf, is trying to move budget from travel to IT to address videoconferencing, when those budgets are controlled by different people. Sustainability tools can help make the case for the move to the CFO from a green perspective.