Food company Danone and enterprise software supplier SAP are working together to analyse the carbon footprint of Danone’s products. It’s part of the food company’s goal of a 30% reduction in its global carbon footprint by 2012, including factories, packaging, end-of-cycle disposal, transportation and storage.
The new solution is fully integrated with Danone's SAP infrastructure: 80% of the product life cycle data is automatically collected. The SAP solution was tested out initially on two Danone companies in Spain, followed by two other dairy businesses in Belgium and by Stonyfield Farms in the United States. By the end of 2012 it will be in 40 of Danone's business units, covering around 70% of its revenues and over 35,000 products. The plan is to roll out the solution to all of the company’s businesses globally.
The aim is that the software will provide operations managers with actionable information so they can analyse options and take the more sustainable action, whether it relates to product development, ingredient selection, sourcing and transportation options or even investments.
"Existing solutions do not allow carbon footprint measurements to be integrated within IT operations systems across the whole product life cycle, for each and every product," said Jean-Marc Lagoutte, CIO, IT Systems, Danone. "Danone has designed a unique carbon footprint measurement model and deployed a dedicated SAP platform globally”.
Danone and SAP have agreed to make the results of the project more widely available, so SAP plans to offer the solution to new customers.
SAP has come a long way since I first spoke to the company five years ago about its plans for incorporating sustainability in its solutions. Back then it seemed to me that the company was ideally placed to take on a carbon counting role for its enterprise customers but was reluctant to get involved, adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude.
But with this solution SAP seems to be getting closer to realising its destiny. There’s no one better placed to count corporate carbon emissions than the company who’s solutions track pretty much every other aspect of the business.
As it happens, SAP released its 2011 sustainability report on Monday, which wasn’t all good news. In terms of carbon emissions, three years of absolute reductions came to an end with an 8% rise, although SAP says that at 490 kTons it’s still below the year’s target of 501 kTons. Emissions per employee were also up more than 3%, although related to € revenue they were down more than 5%. Despite the figures, SAP says it’s still on course to achieve its target of reducing emissions to year 2000 levels by 2020.