International leaders from across the globe gathered in Dubai for the 28th annual U.N. Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP28). The focus of COP28 was on global stocktake of limiting the global temperature rise, climate finance on setting up a loss and damage fund, mitigation on fossil fuels phase-out, and increasing clean energy capacity.
In a world where the impact of climate change can be seen in our daily lives, the time to act is now. As the conference concludes, the real work begins. With sustainability at the heart of what we do, we will continue to support our enterprise clients in integrating sustainability into business and corporate net zero strategy, using an integrated implementation approach rather than just bolting on isolated initiatives.
Sandeep Chandna, Chief Sustainability Officer at Tech Mahindra participated in a closed-door roundtable discussion at COP28, organized by The Economist Impact on ‘From burden to benefit: keeping data sustainable as the world heats up’ moderated by Robert Willock, Director MENA and Regional General Manager at The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network.
To Create a Sustainable Impact, Act Now
The time scale to achieve a sustainable future is sinking. A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, temperatures will reach a threshold that will accelerate the worst effects of global warming in just six years.
We must keep global warming limited to 1.5°C, which requires us to be net zero by 2035, not 2050.
Last month, one of the consumer product giants revealed their company's plan to re-focus on short-term and more tangible sustainability goals. Many companies have committed to 2040 or 2050 goals without sufficient accountability regarding what happens between now and then. Companies should aim to get a few things right and balance short-term versus long-term commitments.
Navigating Challenges with an Integrated Approach to Implementation
Many businesses need help establishing enterprise-wide sustainability strategies up the commercial agenda, but rising inflation, macroeconomic headwinds, and short-term budget pressures prevent leaders to implement sustainability.
Deep dive with Tech Mahindra's Chief Sustainability Officer, Sandeep Chandna, as he shares more on "Smart Cities, AI, Blockchain for a Net Zero Future" in a fireside chat moderated by Rana Tabbara from CNN Business Arabic. During the session, Sandeep made a presentation highlighting the concept of smart cities, its impact on businesses and lives, and how technology can deliver the change required. He also spoke about the work underway in the Middle East.
There are many challenges that organizations face in the sustainability transformation journey, which requires an integrated approach across business functions for implementation:
- The transition from old (still profitable) to new products by managing operations and profitability and challenging existing business models that can still deliver results today.
- Incremental systematic step-by-step adaptation and balance operations/revenue together.
- Different geo-setups and natural designs require moving manufacturing to a new local or regional location or adding specific product lines to existing sites. It requires management of the sourcing network with contract management, supplier quality by finding local, regional, or global suppliers with adequate agility in supply and cost.
- R&D and product design for sustainable products require re-tooling and re-engineering manufacturing lines, re-purchasing new material, and changing the size or shape of the packaging design and grades.
- Sustainable products as a service operating model requires new business ownership models. At the operational level, product usage data must be available to support outcome-based or pay-per-use business models for billing customers and ensure timely service, repair.
Sustainability requires a company to translate sustainable operating models into specific functional goals. Accountability and collective responsibility are imperative for defining and achieving sustainability goals across all lines of businesses and c-suite stakeholders that need to be involved.
You can find more information on this topic here.
Integrating Sustainability into ERP Transformation Programs
Many organizations are initiating ERP-driven business transformation to meet emerging business requirements. It is an appropriate time to initiate discussions on changing business models to support sustainability and digital transformation roadmap.
At Tech Mahindra, we have developed a sustainability framework, where sustainable operation is one of the key pillars. During the existing SAP ECC system scan process, we bring our tools and accelerators to assess the digital maturity of as-is process through processes and transaction coverage.
We identify sustainability process hotspots, where we can embed sustainability KPIs to improve with record, report, and act upon with our decarbonization services in the supply chain from SAP applications in the end-to-end value chain across business processes.
We use our process governance and modelling tools' capability to capture the sustainability-driven process steps and KPIs in the process flow diagram. Our organization’s change impact assessment tool supports the Organization with cultural training to track and support a conscious decision-making process.
We have been supporting our clients with diverse and sprawling supply chains in integrating sustainability into the S/4HANA implementation journey. We work with our clients to finalize the SAP bill of material from the SAP sustainability cloud portfolio of products.
We first prioritize the readiness of the organization by embedding sustainability into the existing processes to improve the decision-making process with sustainability data. Implementing SAP Sustainability solution components will be introduced in the transformation journey in multiple releases at appropriate times across the long-term transformation journey.
Our ESG reporting tool, i.Sustain, built on SAP intelligent cloud, has been designed to cover the reporting of sustainability matrices. We provide real-time ESG reporting to compare performance and initiate actions to reduce material consumption and emission management.
A few examples of our sustainability solutions
- The purchasing data from immediate suppliers to start looking beyond Tier 1 and identify carbon intensity exposure in entire supplier network.
- Decarbonization through scenarios modelling solutions.
- Sustainable supplier evaluation and collaboration, emissions-based material selection, inbound and outbound shipping emissions reduction.
- Prioritize spend hotspots categories and corresponding emissions, identify decarbonization levers.
- Life cycle assessment and hotspots analysis to replace virgin material with recycled material, reduce power usage and more.
Find out more about Tech Mahindras sustainability offering
SAP Green Ledger Enables a New Set of Sustainability KPIs
Carbon footprint recording is essential to enable decisions on supply chain network design, selection of modes of transportation, product mix, inventory control, suppliers' selection, and more.
We need to treat emissions like transactions entering and leaving the systems so that the emissions can lead to journal entries, so-called green ledger entries. Carbon accounting, like financial accounting, will provide business critical input such as operating expenses vs. GHG emission and impact on the operating margin with increased production of low emission or new green products.
Through SAP's advances in sustainability solutions, such as the Green Ledger and Tech Mahindra’s focus on embedding sustainability as a value driver in every facet of business transformation.
You can find more information on this topic here.
Accelerating Your Sustainability Journey
Organizations have started collaborating around system-based business-critical sustainability concerns to find a better way to address common industry problems. Collaboration is critical in moving the entire economy to a cleaner net zero economy.
Sustainability needs a digital business foundation supported by digital technologies. Tech Mahindra's thought leadership in generative AI promises to accelerate innovation across industries, improve climate models, optimize supply chains and reduce carbon emissions using green technology.
Tech Mahindra's sustainability framework and our solutions have been built on the four key pillars to enable sustainability-driven business models and embed them into enterprise business strategy and operations.
By setting and meeting our sustainability targets, Tech Mahindra is leading by example to inspire an actionable path forward for other organizations. We have simplified and sharpened our commitments toward sustainable digital transformation in the new world order. We Rise for a more equal world, to be future-ready, and to create value.
There is no one-way approach to integrating sustainability into business and corporate strategy. However, the winner will be the one who can embed sustainability throughout their during the digital transformation journey.
About the Author
SAP Practice Head, Tech Mahindra
Avanish has over 28 years of experience in the Industry and SAP domain. Avanish is passionate about working in sustainability to enable business value-driven S/4HANA sustainable transformation for clients. He has extensive experience developing sustainability solutions for different industries using SAP technologies and digital platforms.
He is a certified sustainable supply chain professional and a regular blogger on sustainability, supply chain, and SAP. Avanish has a bachelor’s in engineering from IIT, Roorkee, and a diploma in sustainable business strategy from Harvard Business School.