SAP unveils sustainability platform for companies using plastic

The program is already being piloted by leading global brands and will be generally available to all customers on Monday.

SAP announced the release of the Responsible Design and Production solution, a tool designed to help companies create goods sustainably. 

SAP said the platform assists enterprises in navigating the maze of sustainable business regulations in different states or countries while also creating new avenues for businesses to gain a better understanding of the product packaging and plastics within their supply chain. 

"Every year, we use almost twice the amount of resources than the planet can regenerate. Business can play a crucial role in keeping value in our systems for longer through smart, responsible product design that reuses resources rather than disposing of them," said Scott Russell, executive board member and head of customer success at SAP. 

"There is inherent complexity in designing products that eliminate waste and use responsible materials, but SAP Responsible Design and Production tackles that complexity and offers a 'gold-standard' solution to our customers, helping to deliver circular products and achieve a regenerative economy."

SAP becomes the latest technology giant to release a platform centered around providing customers with tools to track sustainability practices and carbon footprints. Both Google and Microsoft unveiled similar platforms in recent weeks, giving businesses concrete data and information about how their supply chains affect the environment. 

An SAP spokesperson told ZDNet that the target audience for the platform is companies in the consumer packaged goods space, most notable those that use plastic packaging. 

The program is already being piloted by leading global brands and is being made generally available to all customers on Monday. 

"With a long-standing commitment to protect our environment and build regenerative business in a circular economy, SAP set out to create a solution that provides businesses with visibility into packaging material design, production processes and the location of goods being sold," the spokesperson said in an interview.  

"SAP created the Responsible Design and Production solution to calculate plastic tax obligations in 2022 and adhere to business and government regulations that pertain to plastics. SAP's Responsible Design and Product solution embeds circularity principles into core business processes and helps businesses optimize design. For example, a shampoo brand manager has visibility into the full product lifecycle including their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) obligations and plastic taxes. This visibility enables the brand manager to make design choices that minimize waste and business decisions to reduce the costs of the downstream waste system."

The cloud-native tool was built with the help of Accenture through SAP's Business Technology Platform. 

Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said the circular economy is based on three principles: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature. 

"Digital solutions play an important role in the transition to a circular economy," Morlet said. "They enable businesses to embed circular practices across their operations, from designing products to reduce waste from the outset, to tracking the lifecycle of the materials they use."