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What is COP26? Is it a quantum computing related new open source project? A new cryptocurrency? A programming model based on machine learning? Ok, I will stop here listing random technology buzzwords, because COP26 is not a technical topic. Still, it’s extremely relevant for SAP solutions, mostly S/4HANA. In this blog I will explore what it means for SAP solutions and even more importantly, for all of us.


COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will be held in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021. More than 190 world leaders are expected in Scotland. It will be a huge, 12 days long international summit of government representatives, business leaders, tens of thousands of negotiators and citizens. The goal is to bring countries, civil society, companies and people together to agree on actions towards managing the global warming (based on the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change).

Well, that’s a big task, because it’s not going well. Almost 200 countries agreed in the Paris Agreement (at COP21) to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels. Since the latest IPCC report, which came out in August, we now know that the world is not on track at all to reach this goal. This means COP26 will be very challenging and important for our global future.

Look at this picture to see the goals of COP26:


Turning the greatest risk into opportunity

While global warming is humanity’s current greatest risk, many businesses see market opportunities and develop sustainable business models, product and services. They don’t do it just out of responsibility, but real business opportunity. And they are right for 5 reasons:

  • Around 70% of the world economy is now covered by net zero targets, which indicates the growing regulatory

  • There is an increasing consumer demand for transparency on environmental footprint.

  • Employees prefer to work for organizations which are purposeful in being a responsible actor in the economy and society.

  • Investors pay attention to reduction efforts of businesses.

  • Gartner predicted that the circular economy would get realized by 2029.

This means that the discussions at COP26 are not only about how we can avoid a global disaster, but also about sustainable innovations coming from the private sector.

Business transformation supported by SAP solutions

Since there is a big business opportunity in this topic, no surprise that SAP has made big plans to create solutions to support customers in their journey to become more sustainable and drive the business transformation.


SAP translated its strategic plans into the following concrete portfolio of products. The green items are dedicated sustainability offerings, while the black ones are supporting solutions. The ones marked by * are planned for later this year.


RISE with SAP is called Business Transformation as a Service. In my experience, most discussion around RISE (actually including my intro video and simple guide) go about the primary components of RISE such as going to S/4HANA, adopting cloud technology and benefiting from business networks. On the other hand, business transformations should consider the business opportunities in joining the circular economy.

The upcoming COP26 will underline the need for change and SAP solutions will play a big role in supporting companies to become successful not only to operate in a socially responsible way, but also to benefit from new opportunities in the circular economy.