How 50-year partners IBM and SAP are now turning sustainable visions into reality


The World Economic Forum publishes an annual Global Risks Report to warn businesses worldwide about climate change and their role and responsibility in the crisis. Proactive business leaders are listening and mobilizing, working with leading climate scientists, governments and international organizations to create a culture of sustainability and reduce their contribution to climate change and avoid lasting ecological damage.

The good news is that many business leaders are ready to tackle the challenge. In a joint survey of over 1,900 executives by IBM and Oxford Economics, 73% of executives said their organizations had set a net-zero carbon emissions goal. But even among organizations that see sustainability as a top priority, only half are effective in achieving those goals.

The need for businesses to address climate change and its associated inequities is now critical. But devising a strategy and implementing it effectively throughout a large organization is a challenge all its own. There are many factors to consider, such as updating legacy systems to align with evolving sustainability efforts, or training employees to adopt a new cultural mindset. The journey to sustainability doesn’t just take skills and know-how; it takes business creativity to solve issues that might be entrenched or immovable.

73% of executives said their organizations had set a net-zero carbon emissions goal. But even among organizations that see sustainability as a top priority, only half are effective in achieving those goals.

At IBM, we have a long track record of over 50 years of effective environmental stewardship, applied to our own operations and the services and solutions we provide to our clients. We recognize the urgency, so we are proactively enabling our customers to go green.

For years, IBM and SAP have helped clients turn their vision for sustainable businesses into action. For example, we are working in lockstep to focus on sustainable supply chains, where we typically find over 70% of the carbon footprint of an enterprise.

To help our clients achieve their sustainability goals and ambitions, we embrace the new solutions under the “SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprise” while also developing new use cases through the IBM Evolution Platform taking advantage of SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP IoT solutions.

For example, with our Responsible Sourcing solution, clients can select suppliers that demonstrate sustainable and ethical behaviors, then implement a sustainable sourcing model that enables supply chain risk management that prioritizes ethical suppliers and avoids unethical suppliers.

With our Responsible Planning solution, clients can reduce their GHG emissions by selecting a more sustainable mode of transport during supply chain planning in SAP IBP where the Supply Chain Planner runs normal S&OP plan and corresponding KPIs, including a “carbon impact” score.

With our Responsible Manufacturing solution, our clients can operate a sustainable asset management solution with real-time streaming data analytics for continuous monitoring via our Connected Asset Dashboard to reduce overall emissions across the manufacturing process.

With our Emissions Dashboard solution, we enable drilldown reporting for relevant sustainable development goals, and we streamline workflows with an automation-first approach to drive consistent analytics across the supply chain, using the IBM Green Compass framework as a useful guide for ESG reporting.

This way, we have tangible solutions that our clients can adopt as they take meaningful action to decarbonize the supply chain and to ultimately transform away from the classical linear supply chains into embracing the circular economy.

The partnership between IBM and SAP has resulted in a transparent and unified view of business processes for Volkswagen, enabled greater convenience for energy users in Lisbon through Galp and helped packing manufacturer Mondi get actionable insights from their data.

Volkswagen uses smarter finances to fine-tune sustainable manufacturing

Electric-powered vehicles herald a new environmentally conscious era for the automotive industry. To ensure that manufacturing is fully profitable and eco-friendly and bring “electric for all” to everyone, Volkswagen worked with IBM Consulting to deploy SAP S/4HANA®, helping Volkswagen standardize and streamline its financial processes and unlock greater insight into manufacturing costs and efficiency.

Moving from spreadsheets to SAP S/4HANA represented a whole new way of working and a significant cultural change for Volkswagen. With help from IBM Consulting, Volkswagen estimated that it could boost operational excellence and achieve a 20 percent improvement in financial accounting, procurement, and maintenance processes, helping make the vision of electric mobility a reality. By reducing general and administrative expenses, the company aims to realize significant savings and gain a competitive edge in profitability, liquidity and financial stability within the industry.

Read the full Volkswagen client story.

Galp unifies operations for sustainability success

Portuguese energy company Galp aims to build a competitive asset portfolio, shifting from product to customer-centered services and taking advantage of energy transition opportunities as they arise.

Over the years, the company’s SAP ERP systems had been heavily customized, making it difficult to respond with agility to the transformation initiative. With assistance from IBM Consulting, Galp started using SAP Fiori mobile apps connected to the SAP S/4HANA platform, empowering employees at gas stations and convenience stores by making it easier to order stock and raise maintenance tickets.

In the future, Galp plans on evolving to use real-time point-of-sale data to rapidly identify the optimal product mix for each store based on customer buying behavior. These capabilities help ensure customers can always find what they’re looking for and keep them returning repeatedly.

Read the full Galp client story.

Mondi Group steers global operations with data

For leading packaging manufacturer Mondi, protecting the environment and sustainability are top priorities, and the Mondi Action Plan 2030 (MAP2030) is vital to the company’s climate action response. To enhance the integration between its worldwide operations and unlock new decision-making insights for MAP2030, Mondi looked to its trusted SAP solutions and infrastructure experts from IBM.

“We appreciate sustainable partners who think in a similar way to us, and that is precisely the relationship we enjoy with IBM,” says Ranier Steffl, CIO of Mondi Group. “By moving our global business to SAP S/4HANA on IBM Power Systems and IBM FlashSystem storage, we gain the data-driven insights we need.”

By moving their global business to SAP S/4HANA on IBM Power Systems and IBM FlashSystem® storage, Mondi is quickly realizing their sustainability goals of getting real-time insights into warehouse inventory, more finely aligning production schedules, and delivering managers critical insights to enable efficient and proactive decision-making.

“We appreciate sustainable partners who think in a similar way to us, and that is precisely the relationship we enjoy with IBM,” says Ranier Steffl, CIO of Mondi Group. “By moving our global business to SAP S/4HANA on IBM Power Systems and IBM FlashSystem storage, we gain the data-driven insights we need.”

Read the full Mondi client story.

IBM and SAP have long been committed to protecting the environment by helping partners deliver meaningful results faster. We will continue to drive reductions in environmental impacts using open technologies and collaboration to open up new and creative business opportunities. In addition, we will continue to leverage our leading technology innovations and expertise to address global environmental challenges. IBM and SAP look forward to delivering new intelligent industry solutions to drive cost-effective transformation and sustainable growth.





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