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Spotlight on…The Green Ledger

“Like the internet forced enterprises to be tech companies, so will sustainability force enterprises to change their operations to be sustainable companies, “ says Jesper Schleimann, SAP’s Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer.

The Green Ledger is a brand-new solution that will make it easier for businesses to accurately account for the carbon they produce across their value chain. Given the fact that SAP handles 70% of the world’s business transactions, it will also – when it launches next year – be the largest solution of its kind available.

“To truly make progress and create a more sustainable world, it’s important that enterprises take action on the carbon they’re producing,” explains Jesper Schleimann, SAP’s Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer. “But the only way to do that is to have actual data so they can make business decisions.”

Couple the need for action with an increased need for transparency from investors, employees, regulatory bodies, and customers, enterprises are being pushed to make sustainability an integral part of their business blueprint.

“That’s why we’ve [SAP] taken the long stance,” adds Jesper. “Our mission is to enable what we call ‘carbon leveling: transaction-level carbon accounting’.”


The Green Ledger will become the fourth element in SAP’s growing series of cloud-based solutions developed by Jesper and his team and available within the RISE and GROW with SAP programmes.

Partners can educate their customers on the size of the challenge ahead and help them build a sustainable business with the aid of the solutions. They can start by deploying the Sustainability Control Tower. This helps businesses to know what their existing carbon impact is and therefore to adjust accordingly to comply with any existing regulations.

Next up is the Sustainability Footprint Management solution, which tracks what’s flowing in and out of the business, such as the actual footprint of a product, the materials used to produce it, the packaging, and the transportation. Footprint Management collects that data, maps it out, and gives an overview of what’s really driving impact at a much more granular level.

Step three in the journey is the soon-to-be-launched Sustainability Data Exchange, the ‘real visionary part’ says Jesper.

“The Control Tower gives you the impact overview, the Footprint gives you the detail, but you’re still using business averages to gauge how much carbon you’re producing,” he says. “We want partners to help their customers to move away from averages and start using actuals, to start getting sight of actual data from their suppliers, and their suppliers’ suppliers.”

It’s here that SAP really ‘begins to differentiate on a global level’. The Data Exchange will become a standard-setting engine that allows businesses to exchange data, securely, across value chains, thus unlocking ‘the carbon calculation of impact’.

By adding in the fourth element, the Green Ledger, businesses will be able to act on the insight they have in front of them.

“Of course, you can take action at any stage but the Green Ledger will help to make bigger, bolder, decisions that become integral to what a business does; embedded across the enterprise.”

Just as financial ledgers detail the value that moves across an enterprise – how much money has been made, where it should be invested – with the Green Ledger, businesses will know which activities are driving their carbon footprint so they can look at where and how they can reduce it and make better decisions.