Published on July 01, 2021 – Dr. Oliver Blau, Managing Director at Westernacher
Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. As a consulting company committed to our slogan of “nonstop innovation” we want to be part of the solution. Westernacher is committed to reducing its environmental impact as much as possible. We believe that “less bad” isn’t good enough. Only net zero or better will do. Thinking it would be difficult and take years, we were in for a surprise.
When we looked into improving our environmental and climate footprint some months ago, we knew that we were producing too much CO2 but couldn’t say exactly how much. We wanted a master plan to lead us to carbon neutrality – thinking it would be a long and arduous journey.
The CO2 Monitor.
From the beginning it was clear that we needed to have an IT solution in place that was easy to build, cost effective and would support us in the decision-making process by answering questions like:
Luckily, our SAP ERP system was recently converted to S/4HANA and contains most of the relevant, basic information needed to answer our questions. In customer projects over the past years, we have had much success with SAP Analytics Cloud as a tool to create dashboards and visualize information in a fast and easy way. Therefore, we were sure to be able to build the Westernacher CO2 Monitor in a short time within the budget: A solid tool to answer our questions and discuss with the internal stakeholders.
As a consulting company in the services industry, we have different sources of emissions, mostly related to the equipment we use, our offices and the travel to our customers. The related receipts and cost are available in our SAP S/4HANA system but in order to come to a CO2 emission count, we needed to design a model that assigns a CO2 emission value to each single business activity. Only some limited changes were made in the way we book our receipts into the S/4HANA system. This was needed to measure our activities more precisely as CO2 emissions from, say, various travel modes are very different: taxi vs public transportation for example.
Having identified all sources and weighed the business activities with emission factors, we connected the sources from SAP S/4HANA with the SAP Analytics Cloud. All factors are fully customizable in case a later independent certification recommends using different factors.
The fun part was of course visualizing the data in a nice and meaningful way by our Analytics team, using the in-built functionality of SAC to answer our key questions. They built aggregated views with options to filter and drill-down.
Our CO2 Monitor shows several effects – e.g., for our biggest legal entity which was our pilot to test this:
Based on these findings the measures to be taken are somehow evident:
Becoming carbon neutral – (almost) immediately.
With our CO2 Monitor we now have a tool at hand that allows us to monitor how our emissions develop. That way we can permanently see if the taken measures are within our expectations and what the cost level is that we need to invest in order to offset the remaining emissions. In any event, we have seen that becoming a carbon neutral company doesn’t need to be an onerous task. It is solvable with modern IT and business acumen.
By seeing the facts and getting transparency, we at Westernacher have been able to become carbon neutral, not in 2030 or 2025, but today, retroactively for the year 2021.
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