Extending beyond environmental conservation, sustainability is also about economic and social development—and, as ASUG’s first Sustainability Solution Overview for 2023 will detail later this week, it’s about finding a balance between key areas of importance while remaining focused on the big picture.

In discussing the SAP approach to sustainability, Japen Hollist, Head of Sustainability, GTM – North America at SAP, will address the “State of the Union” and Sustainability Vision from SAP in an upcoming hour-long webcast (March 30 from 12 p.m.–1 p.m. ET/11 a.m.–12 p.m. CT; register here). Hollist previewed the webcast during a recent conversation with ASUG, reflecting on the growing importance of sustainability to corporate strategy.

“Sustainability is a megatrend that’s moving markets, much like demographic shifts or the advent of the internet,” said Hollist. “Business was never the same after the internet. It dramatically changed how we work, how we buy, how we do everything.”

Similarly, “Sustainability will change how we work, what we buy, how it’s built, how it’s manufactured, how we think about it, how our children think about it—and it will dramatically change our entire view of business processes,” Hollist said.

Hollist plans to address the vision from SAP as it relates to core sustainability offerings, including SAP Sustainability Control Tower, SAP Product Footprint Management, and SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprises, as well as sustainability-specific solutions, like SAP E-Mobility and SAP Ariba Supplier Risk. Looking ahead, Hollist will discuss the roadmap for SAP sustainability solutions, including those intended to evolve carbon accounting and better prepare businesses for future carbon pricing or carbon taxes.

The recently expanded SAP partnership with EcoVadis to add sustainability ratings to SAP Business Network will be another topic of discussion, as will other SAP offerings with sustainability use cases, such as the capacity of SAP SuccessFactors solutions to support diversity, equity, and inclusion goals or the role the SAP suite of strategic sourcing solutions can play in establishing responsible sourcing criteria.

“You can ask for diverse suppliers, ones with high sustainability ratings, suppliers that will commit to a supplier code of conduct before they can even compete in your request for proposal (RFP),” said Hollist. “You can begin that responsible sourcing activity and judge suppliers based on whether they are committed to the same environmental goals that your company has. You can hold your suppliers and future suppliers accountable to the standards by which both the street and your shareholders or stakeholders judge you because suppliers are an extension of your corporation.”

During the webcast, Hollist will touch upon the business need to consider “compelling” global events related to sustainability, from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s plans to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures for investors to the E.U.’s new taxonomy regulation and its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, legislated as part of the European Green Deal.

With environmental, social, and governance (ESG) regulations pending, proposed, or already enacted around the globe, all impacting how companies operate, Hollist believes being sustainable isn’t just about supporting a greater good. It’s also about getting ahead.

“Those companies that really understand the legislation, that follow it and are trying to get their house in order first in terms of sustainability, I think they’re going to have a competitive advantage, perhaps enough to pull into the pole position and lead for a while,” he said. “And the longer you can lead your industry, the greater chance you have of winning customers away from others.”

Open to ASUG members as well as nonmembers, the free “Sustainability Solutions Overview #1: ‘State of the Union’ – What is SAP’s Sustainability Vision?” webcast will be held online on March 30 from 12 p.m.–1 p.m. ET/11 a.m.–12 p.m. CT. You can register to attend here.

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