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SAP Responsible Design and Production

SAP has announced the release of SAP Responsible Design and Production: a new solution for sustainably designing products and moving to a circular economy.

Over the last twelve months IgniteSAP has explored the concept of how ERP systems such as those provided by SAP can be used to support sustainable business practices. We have discussed how specific SAP products can be used to achieve particular aims and also how a new area of the IT consultancy industry is emerging: IT Consulting for Sustainability.

This new solution has been timed to coincide with COP26, and adds to a growing selection of SAP products designed to ease the transition of corporations to sustainable operations.

COP26 and Corporate Environmental Responsibility

It is no longer just a question of corporate ethics. Regulations governing how businesses must change their use of materials like plastics and other areas of sustainability are steadily increasing. Over the next months the outcome of agreements made at COP26 between nations will set off a global chain reaction in sustainability legislation.

In order to anticipate this change in the legal requirements of companies, SAP has been steadily augmenting its sustainability solutions portfolio.

The newest addition, SAP Responsible Design and Production, allows companies to have more transparency in order to understand material flows through business processes. This enables compliance with changing regulations on plastics and packaging.

Responsible Design and Production is Good for Business

In an article published in Forbes in April of this year entitled “The Circular Economy And Why It’s Good For Business” the circular economy was defined as a “global shift in every aspect of our lives that seeks to eliminate waste and extend resources”.

This attitude is entirely in agreement with the principles of efficiency that inform business process management.

Andrew Morlett, the CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has described the circular economy in this way:

“The circular economy is based on three principles, driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature. Digital solutions play an important role in the transition to a circular economy. They enable businesses to embed circular practices across their operations, from designing products to reduce waste from the outset, to tracking the lifecycle of the materials they use.”

Designing for Reuse and Recycling

Responsible Design and Production by SAP embeds principles of circularity into core processes in order to eliminate waste and makes it easier to design sustainable products right from the start.

If a business has visibility into the entire product lifecycle, including EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) obligations and the taxes on plastic in different markets, design changes can be made to reduce waste and lower the cost of recycling and reuse downstream.

Commenting on the release of SAP Responsible Design and Production, Scott Russell, a member of the Executive Board and SAP’s head of Customer Success said:

“Every year, we use almost twice the amount of resources than the planet can regenerate. Business can play a crucial role in keeping value in our systems for longer through smart, responsible product design that reuses resources rather than disposing of them. There is inherent complexity in designing products that eliminate waste and use responsible materials, but SAP Responsible Design and Production tackles that complexity and offers a ‘gold-standard’ solution to our customers, helping to deliver circular products and achieve a regenerative economy.”

The Changing Culture of Business

SAP Responsible Design and Production has been co-developed with Accenture on SAP’s Business Technology Platform as part of a much wider collaboration to transform industry in a sustainable way.

In their press release SAP is keen to highlight their green credentials: that they have been the software industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for fourteen years, that each year the company presents the SAP Integrated Report: a full-year financial, social and environmental report on their performance and progress, and also that they are a member of the Value Balancing Alliance: a multi-partner alliance created to “Shift the priority from maximising profit to optimising value creation”.

These are just a few examples of SAP’s genuine commitment to changing the way business and industry operate. In articles over the last twelve months IgniteSAP has previously gone into some depth investigating the wide variety of SAP innovations for carbon neutrality and sustainability.

IT Professionals can Implement Sustainability

Cop26 is currently focussing minds in government and industry on sustainability. The bottom line is if we don’t make root and branch changes at every level of every large organisation and institution then we will be on course for irreversible climate change, and ultimately the human race could render the planet uninhabitable.

So it is hard to overstate the case for why information technology needs to take the lead in revolutionising business and industrial processes. With this in mind it is some reassurance that business is finally beginning take the initiative.

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We can expect corporations like SAP to talk the talk, but it appears that they are genuinely balancing profit with other values. Given that legislation for sustainable practice in business is fast catching up with the necessity in the real world for change, we can expect companies that utilise SAP to quickly follow suite and take up the challenge, along with SAP professionals, using the tools that are now available.

Read More: How To Reach COP26 Targets With IT Infrastructure