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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
To wrap up the year 2022, I prepared another blog post to highlight the major new features and functions in SAP Product Footprint Management this quarter, and to also look back on our achievements in the past year. In this edition I will cover:


Product Updates

The biggest product update and highlight that we added into SAP Product Footprint Management in this quarter was the calculation of Freight Transport Footprints, providing value chain emissions related to GHG Protocol Scope 3.4 (upstream transportation) and Scope 3.9 (downstream transportation), as well as Scope 1 (Direct emissions related to company-owned vehicles). The Freight Transportation capabilities are integrated into SAP Product Footprint Management as additional stand-alone apps for calculating the transport emissions for all your inbound and outbound transports. The apps are delivered with preconfigured content, including network data like seaports, airports, rail barge terminals, as well vehicle data and emissions factors from the Global Logistics Emission Council (GLEC). Additionally, built-in analytics options enable visualizations of the calculated transports according to own-defined KPIs and provide insights on the resulting footprints of the vehicles and routes used. In the next days, we further plan to release visualizations on maps, showing all transport routes on a world map. For an overview on the new apps and deep dive into their features and benefits, have a look into my previous blog post Calculating Transport Footprints with SAP Product Footprint Management.

View Transport Data App

One of the new applications that was introduced together with the Freight Transport capabilities is the Manage Data App. This app doesn't only enable you to view and configure transport-related data but also displays data that was replicated from the connected SAP ERP source system for calculating the footprints for purchased and manufactured products.

Manage Data App

The entities that can be viewed include master data (such as plants and products), transactional data (such as physical goods movement and actual inventory), as well as cost estimate entities data. This functionality provides you additional transparency on the system data that is used for the footprint calculation, a further drill-down into its characteristics and date of its last import is possible as well. In the next weeks, we also plan to enable the upload of flat files directly into this app. This will complement the existing integration with SAP S/4HANA and Push APIs and will provide much more possibilities for leveraging business data for calculating footprints.

Manage Data App - Cost Estimates

To further enhance the usability of our solution we improved and simplified the calculation details section in the Monitor Footprints application. This section, visible when drilling down from the footprint results page, now combines and shows the inflows and outflows from/ to all sources/ targets as well as the previous inventory and current inventory in a single table. This change not only improves the user interface but further illustrates and clarifies how the overall footprint results are calculated and which data points were used.

Monitor Footprints App - Footprint Calculation Details


Recap: Looking Back on 2022

As we're wrapping up the year, I would like to use this opportunity to look back and reflect on where we are today with SAP Product Footprint Management and reflect on what we all achieved in 2022. For doing so, let me once again pull up our famous metro line picture, illustrating the product’s capabilities along the footprint journey:

SAP Product Footprint Management – Capabilities as of Dec-22 (Labs Preview – Subject to Change)

When it comes to Data Acquisition, one of SAP Product Footprint Management’s key benefits is leveraging master data and transactional data that is existing already in SAP’s business systems. Since the product launch, we're providing an out-of-the box integration with SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA (2021 or later). This year we also released Public APIs to replicate data from other business systems for enabling the footprint calculation. This way, for example older SAP S/4HANA releases or SAP ECC can be connected. An Integration Accelerator Package from our SAP Services colleagues is also available to speed up the implementation. Besides the material flow (physical goods movements) from Inventory Management, enabling the calculation of material acquisition/ purchased products footprints, the application can now also replicate Cost Estimate results from Product Costing, facilitating the calculation of manufactured products.

For evaluating the environmental impact of the collected business data, we're offering different capabilities of Emission Factors Management. Within the application, an MS Excel template is provided that can be maintained with emission factors of your choice: You can leverage existing own lifecycle assessments (LCA), datasets with industry averages from LCA content providers, or data that is coming from suppliers directly. Recently, we released great improvements in importing and mapping those emission factors, optimizing and simplifying this process. We further strengthened and extended the partnerships with our LCA content providers ecoinvent and CarbonMinds this year, which both are offering their extensive datasets in the required format via SAP Store.

After acquiring business data and importing emission factors the application can perform the Footprint Calculation, based on a template in which you can define the scope of the calculation. With the initial release we focused on the product dimension, calculating the product footprint along the entire lifecycle. We started with the material acquisition stage (GHG Scope 3.1), including the raw materials and products purchased from suppliers or internal sources. This year, we extended the calculation to Footprints for Manufactured Products. As mentioned above, the application is reusing costing results and extracting the quantity structure to receive the information on the materials used for manufacturing the respective product. Besides, we also started to expand the footprint calculation to Value Chain Footprints (GHG Scope 3). With the calculation of Freight Transport Footprints, we successfully delivered the first increment.

Next, we're providing Footprint Analytics capabilities delivering reports and insights on the calculation results. We published an ODATA API on API Business Hub that retrieves the footprints for integrating them in the analytical application of your choice. In SAP Analytics Cloud, we offer a content package for analyzing Purchased Products and Manufactured Products out-of-the-box, which comes with preconfigured dashboards, models, and stories.

The last but certainly not least capability of the product is Footprint Integration. We were always convinced to build a solution not only targeting sustainability experts within a central sustainability organization but providing transparency and insights on sustainability metrics to also all business users within a company, enabling them to take sustainability criteria into decision-making within their processes. That’s why with the initial release already the calculated footprints were integrated back into the connected S/4HANA and S/4HANA Cloud system. This year, we delivered the first integrations directly into existing S/4HANA applications and processes so that business users have direct access to this information in their daily job. Since S/4HANA Cloud 2202 the footprints are now integrated into the first Purchasing processes, starting with Purchase Requisitions. With the S/4HANA Cloud 2208 release, footprints are also integrated into Inventory Management (MM-IM), starting with the Stock – Multiple Materials app. Furthermore, we delivered the first Carbon Data Exchange use case leveraging the SAP Business Network, by integrating footprints into Logistic Business Network – Material Traceability (LBN-MT). Noteworthy in addition that already since 2021 carbon footprints are also integrated into the supply chain planning process within SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP).

Finally, besides all those features and functions that we added to our product, with certainty the biggest highlight for us this year was working together with many customers from many different industries from all over the world. They all have slightly different sustainability scopes and backgrounds, but they all share one common goal: Decarbonizing their products, processes, and value chains. I already shared some insights on our customer adoption in last quarter’s blog post. Another example I would like to highlight is our collaboration with German steelmaker Salzgitter AG. SAP is supporting Salzgitter’s digital transformation for a few years already, with SAP Product Footprint Management we're now intending to enable the calculation and management of the companywide carbon footprint, as well as the footprint for green steel products – climate-friendly steel, which then also helps Salzgitter’s customers in decarbonizing their value chains. You find more information in this nice little video: Changing our Planet and the Steel Industry. For the German-speaking audience, there's also a press release: SAP und Salzgitter AG: Vorreiter auf dem Weg zu grünem Stahl.


Outlook: Looking Forward to 2023

In the next year, we’re continuing to enhance and improve SAP Product Footprint Management and we are planning many great new features and functions. We’re delivering continuous innovations enabling our customers to calculate Value Chain and Product Footprints at scale by using available business data and logic, and as well providing transparency about the data provenance and auditability.

Near-term, our product road map focuses on GHG Scope 3 calculations and reporting, supporting our customers to get insights into the environmental performance of their business activities and to share that information with stakeholders and provide optimization potential. In Q1-23 we plan to deliver cradle-to-gate footprint calculation, including GHG scope 3 calculations for material acquisition and freight transport, as well as emissions related to facilities/ production activities. We also want to provide business scoping and different options for calculating footprints, like using plan or actual data. New built-in analytics features enable even more insights on the emission hotspots of your company and products. Next, in Q2-23 we plan to enhance the emission factor mapping, enabling customers to map their business activities automatically and transparent to sustainability factors. This comprises in-app editing of the mapping records with value help and a guided configuration with a mapping wizard and validation checks. We also plan to provide an API to connect external mapping service providers. This starting point for mapping automation will increase user experience and transparency in mass-enabled emission factor mapping. Further, we plan to enable the import of supplier-specific product footprints, first via APIs and later via networks directly. Publishing and receiving footprints as primary data along the value chain will support important industry standards like WBCSD Partnership for Carbon Transparency (PACT) and Together for Sustainability (TfS) and will improve the footprint data quality a lot. For more information on Carbon Data Exchange see this blog post I published earlier this year.

Midterm, the road map targets on enhancing the calculation scope towards downstream value chain footprint calculations and a seamless integration towards SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprises and SAP LoB Solutions. In the second half year of 2023 we plan to provide Climate Action integration: The integration of calculated product footprints and Scope 3 emissions into SAP Sustainability Control Tower enables holistic companywide reporting and steering. The integration with SAP Environment Health and Safety – Emission Management (EHS-EM) allows Product Footprint Management to reuse Scope 1 and 2 emission data existing in EHS-EM for the calculation of the product’s manufacturing stage. Further, we plan to enable the calculation of Scope 3 emissions for downstream processes, with the focus on product use and end-of-life treatment.

Those were just some of the key highlights that we’re planning. There’s much more to come, so stay tuned and follow my regular blog post to always receive the latest news and updates!


Free SAP Learning Journey

Already last year, we released two SAP Product Footprint Management eLearning courses on SAP Learning Hub, accessible for subscribed users. I’m very happy to announce that we refreshed and updated both trainings and that they’re now also available free of charge for everyone on the free SAP Learning platform! We created a new learning journey for you, which comprises the two courses: Take Action on Climate Change with SAP Product Footprint Management.

This learning journey gives you an understanding of the concept, capabilities, and architecture of SAP Product Footprint Management. Supported by demos and quizzes, you’ll discover how the solution is integrated into SAP’s system landscape and how it enables you to calculate, monitor, and analyze your product footprints at scale. You’ll also learn how it helps you to identify, disclose, and reduce carbon emissions along your value chain.

The training takes you approximately 2.5 hours to complete and consists of four units:

  1. Overview of SAP Product Footprint Management

  2. Calculating and Monitoring Footprints

  3. System Setup

  4. Emission Factors Management

The course content currently reflects the released features as of Q3-22 and will be updated regularly. It’s planned to add additional units covering new capabilities such as transportation beginning of next year. We then also want to add a record of achievement or certification so that you can also prove your product expertise.


Additional Information & Updates

As always, for an overview on all new features and functions that have been released in SAP Product Footprint Management, check the What’s New section in the SAP Help Portal that is updated with every new software release. Another improvement in the SAP Help is video tutorials that will help you setting up the solution. This is currently available for completing the Initial Setup steps in SAP BTP as well as for going through the steps for the Import Emission Factors app: Using the Import Emission Factors Application.

I also recommend you joining the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition 2302 Early Release Series, taking place on the SAP Learning Hub from January 16 to January 24, 2023. Register now and receive a special insider’s preview into the upcoming SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition 2302 release through 20 compelling live sessions, including the latest demos of new innovations and the possibility to ask your questions and get answers straight from the experts. Our sustainability solutions will have a dedicated slot on January 20. You find more information and details on the sign-up process in this blog post.

As this is my last blog post for this year, I would also like to use this opportunity to say a big Thank You to everyone who is following my blog posts here in the SAP Community. I really enjoy the interaction and exchange with you, and I'm very much appreciating all the feedback, questions, and comments that you're providing. I wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy and Healthy New Year – I'm already looking forward to continuing this engagement with you in 2023!

To stay up to date on SAP Product Footprint Management, follow me here in the SAP Community. In regular cadence I will publish blog posts giving you updates on all the product’s new features and functions as well as deep dives into the product capabilities. I’m also looking forward to engaging with you directly, feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section. For questions, see the Q&A here in the SAP for Sustainability Community. Of course, you can also reach out to me directly.