The “virtual” Chief Sustainability Officer is coming to town

SAP promises to develop new software to integrate carbon counting, energy efficiency, environmental monitoring and social responsibility reporting.

SAP has recently pledged to provide asoon  single software platform to manage all tasks currently taken care for by an enterprise’s Chief Sustainability Officer: carbon emission reductions certification, energy monitoring and savings, use of all natural resources – water, air, soil – and all social responsibility tasks, like keeping up good relations with employees and communities.

The SAP Sustainability Performance Management – that’s the name of the new software – application ties into SAP’s Carbon Impact software to track energy use and carbon emissions, as well as SAP’s environmental health and safety management and enterprise resource planning applications. The new platform will also integrate applications from other companies.

SAP – with a global client base representing one-sixth of the world’s carbon emissions – is looking for ways to dominate the market. SAP has signed on customers including Nestle and Lexmark for the integrated sustainability management product, and its carbon counting software clients include SunPower, Intuit and Autodesk.

The new application will turn today’s corporate sustainability mess – phone calls, emails, spreadsheets and draft reports from data in differing formats – into a window of insight for strategic business planning.

SAP’s plan have not left competitors unresponsive, of course. CA is rolling out software for carbon, energy and sustainability accounting, with clients such as the United Kingdom’s supermarket giant Tesco (see CA’s EcoSoftware Lands Tesco as First Client). IBM helps companies track supply chain carbon emission impacts and manage energy and water use (see IBM’s Green Sigma Adds Coalition of Heavyweights). Microsoft and Oracle have made some moves with stand-alone products as well.

As for the task of actually monitoring and compiling energy and emissions data, market leaders include SAP – which got there by buying startup Clear Standards this summer – as well as established players such as Johnson Controls and Enviance, which have incumbent positions in energy management and environmental health and safety reporting, respectively.

Startups in the space include CarbonFlow, Planet Metrics, Carbonetworks, CSRWare and Hara – the latter notable for its $20 million in VC backing and list of corporate clients that matches those of SAP and CA.


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