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SAP Adds Sustainability Reporting to BusinessObjects Software Suite

Business software giant SAP AG last week unveiled its latest effort in helping apply the power of IT to corporate environmental goals.

The company's Sustainability Performance Management addition to its BusinessObjects BI (business intelligence) software line aims to integrate the collection and measurement of environmental data into the already-commonplace data gathering methods companies have adopted.

By folding the green elements into existing practices, SAP's new software suite will help companies make the transition from green practices as a nice-to-do element of operations to one that is table stakes in any industry.

"Sustainability is increasingly mission-critical across the corporate world," Stephen Stokes, vice president of Sustainability and Green Technologies at AMR Research, said in a statement. "Managing and reporting an organization's sustainable performance via transparent and high quality data collation, analysis, optimization and modeling is a new basis for defining and communicating operational excellence."
The new software makes it easier for companies to set their sustainability goals, measure progress toward their goals, and communicate their successes, while cutting costs and avoiding the learning curve of adding a new data-gathering operation to the mix.

SAP's incorporation of green elements into its standard BI tools has been in the works for some time; GreenerComputing Executive Editor Preston Gralla blogged about the news as part of the advent of "green IT 2.0" earlier this year, while around the same time the Carbon Disclosure Project announced that it was working with SAP and other software firms to upgrade its carbon-emissions reporting system. The move is a natural result of SAP's acquisition earlier this year of Clear Standards, a carbon-accounting firm.

But bringing environmental data management to as large a company as SAP suggests that sustainability reporting has truly turned a corner to widespread acceptance.

"To truly be seen as sustainability leaders, businesses need to look beyond carbon footprinting and start proactively managing the full spectrum of sustainability opportunities, including economic, social and environmental obligations," said Peter Graf, chief sustainability officer and executive vice president of Sustainability Solutions at SAP, in a statement. "The new SAP BusinessObjects Sustainability Performance Management application is the first off-the-shelf system that supports a holistic view of sustainability."

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