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Sustainability: The New Business Imperative – Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series

In this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast, Interview Series, I’m joined by Amanda Mountain, Global Vice President of SAP Digital Commerce for a conversation on Earth Day 2022 about all things sustainability and, most importantly, how we believe that sustainability is actually the new business imperative.

For starters, it’s safe to say that sustainability and sustainable technology has increasingly become a major theme for many organizations. Younger consumers are pushing for more sustainable options in everything from packaging of products to the technologies we use every day. They are over the greenwashing that has been prevalent in the last few years and ready for real action. So what do companies need to do and how can they learn from other examples?
And that’s exactly what Amanda and I are exploring here.

Our conversation touched on the following:

  • An overview of changing consumer demands and what that entails
  • A dive into some research on consumer attitudes toward plastic, sustainability, and climate change and what that shows us regarding the path forward
  • The leadership role brands are taking in offering sustainable alternatives to traditional packaging, etc.
  • What consumers think about who should take responsibility for sustainable products and shopping options
  • What the responsibility for implementing sustainability measures is and both government regulations and brands are doing on that front
  • How organizations can think about sustainability initiatives and specific actions they can take as they are putting together their corporate sustainability initiatives.

We know that sustainability, and ESG efforts as a whole, are on the radar screens of today’s corporate leaders, and with good reason. Share prices and business performance are directly impacted by a company’s ESG efforts, and that’s why sustainable practices are such an important part of business operations. Amanda walked us through SAP’s commitment to sustainability and how they measure Environmental Performance in their annual Integrated Report, and also shared some internal sustainability goals and the progress the company is making on that front.

Last but not least, we explored few sustainable solutions people can find on SAP Store, which includes solutions from both SAP and partners designed to help customers manage their environmental impact using tools, sensors, and calculators; improve their supply chain efficiency; and monitor and control their carbon emissions.

You’ll find the full episode here:

Or stream the show by way of your favorite podcast streaming platform here:

If you’d like to explore some sustainability focused solutions on SAP store, here are some of the ones we mentioned in our conversation:

SAP solutions:

Unique solutions from partners that build on or extend SAP technology include:

  • EcoVadis Supplier Sustainability Ratings: Manage the sustainability performance of large global supply chains end-to-end
  • Unused Inventory Onboarding and Sales Integration by Queen of Raw: Easily sell and buy unused inventory with a global network to generate revenue and savings that support your sustainability commitments
  • Flexinergy by Evolution Energie: Monitor metering and emissions data from multiple assets at a local and global scale
  • Digital Shoe Size Consultant by Footprint Technologies: Minimize size-related returns in your online shop, subsequently reducing packaging waste and carbon emissions
  • Clarifruit: Maximize profitability and reduce waste by digitizing fresh produce Quality Control

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Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.


Shelly Kramer: Hello and welcome to the Futurum Tech Webcast. I’m your host, Shelly Kramer. I’m a founding partner and principle analyst here at Futurum Research. And today we’re going to be talking about something that is near and dear to my heart. And that is all things sustainability, which of course makes sense on this Earth Day. And so my guest today is someone that I’m tremendously excited about largely because she is as passionate about sustainability as I am. And she is Amanda Mountain, who is the Global VP of SAP Digital Commerce.

Amanda, welcome. It’s great to have you.

Amanda Mountain: It’s great to be here Shelly and I’m very happy to be celebrating Earth Day with you. So thanks for having me.

Shelly Kramer: I can’t think of better company, the two of us, we got it. So before we get started, sustainability and sustainable technology have increasingly become a major theme for many companies. Younger consumers are pushing for more sustainable options, older consumers like me, I can promise you are pushing for more sustainable options in everything from the products we use, the packaging we use, the technologies we use. We are over collectively things like greenwashing and companies say they’re doing one thing and not really doing another thing. As a matter of fact here at Futurum, I don’t even know that you know this Amanda. At Futurum, we just launched, we soft launched a new media property that’s focused on all things ESG and DEI initiatives. And so we are really taking a deep dive into sustainability. Our clients are very, very interested in those things. I know that your customers are interested in those things as well, Amanda, so this is a really timely discussion and one that I’m so excited to have.

So let’s kick this off and talk about consumer demands. As I said, when I started this conversation, we know that we’re seeing more eco-conscious shoppers, we’re seeing changes in consumer demands. I know that you have seen some research, I’ve kind of just took a deep dive into the research myself on some recent studies that have come out on, one is a study done by Footprint, which is a global material science company. And their researched focused on holding the plastic and new research examining consumer attitude toward plastics, sustainability and climate change. So let’s talk about that a little bit.

Amanda Mountain: Yeah, I liked that one. What I found interesting wasn’t so much the kind of the predictable thing that consumers think that single use plastic is a bad thing that’s contributing to climate change. But it was more the level of accountability that consumers are now placing into the hands of business and brands to do better, as well as the extent to which they’re willing to change their buying behaviors based on that. So it’s not just looking for a brand whose values resonate with you, and maybe you’re going to choose the more sustainable option over the less sustainable option.

But it appears from that research that consumers will actively stop using something that’s not sustainable and switch, and that they will choose their stores, their restaurants, et cetera, based on the use of sustainable packaging. So it’s not surprising that consumers understand the impact that plastic has. It’s not surprising that consumers expect brands to do better, but what seems to have changed in the last couple years because I think it is a more recent change is the amount of action that consumers are willing to take to back up their beliefs. And so I found that study striking, yes.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, I did as well. And a little more information on that study. So Footprint surveyed 5,000 individuals in the US, the UK, France, Germany and The Netherlands. So it was a global study and 5,000 is no small respondent group, speaking as someone who does research all the time. So that’s a nice study group. And to your point, 72% of survey respondents in this Footprint research said that, 72% dissatisfied with the amount of plastic food package and waste they end up with at home. 80% said take away restaurants need to get their acts together and use better, more sustainable packaging and utensils. 86% said grocery stores should do more to reduce the amount of plastic packaging being sold. So to your point about accountability, consumers are saying restaurants, grocery stores, we want you to do more. The onus shouldn’t be just on us as consumers. And I thought that was really interesting.

Another one of the suggestions I saw was that grocery store should perhaps consider having reduced packaging aisles for people who are interested, like do all your shopping in this aisle. But I think that those are changes that we’re seeing. And I think that we have a lot more of those changes to come. And I think what I walked away with from this study was that there’s a huge opportunity for brands here. And brands who can take, who will take a leadership role in offering sustainable alternatives, who use technology that allows them to capture and report more efficiently and more effectively. And to walk the walk and talk the talk, I think that’s what consumers are looking for. We are paying attention in ways that we never did before to what it is that the brands that we work with, that we buy from, that we champion or not. We’re paying a lot of attention to what they do. And I think that for me, that’s a huge opportunity to establish a competitive edge in the market.

Amanda Mountain: Yeah. And I think consumers are starting to look at history as well. So is a brand a me too? Did they just jump into this sustainability trend? Or is it something that a brand has got a track record of how having programs around where also where brands have it built in? If sustainability is part of a company’s strategy, is it going to show up everywhere? It’s not going to be greenwashing and overlay marketing program, that’s kind of isolated or this kind of bolt on thing. I think consumers are savvy enough at this point to really be researching as to whether or not the brand is walking the talk and living it. Are they reporting on their carbon footprint? Do they have sustainability goals of their own that they’re reporting against? Do they, as you said, the data, are they building this data into their products, into their processes, into their supply chains so that they can truly understand the impact that they’re having on the environment and then possibly take steps to mitigate it as well? So I do think that consumers are looking for a lot more meat behind the programs.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. On that front, there was another bit of research and by the way, I will link the things that we talk about in this conversation into the show notes. So if you want to deeper dive into this research, it’ll be available for you, but there was another report about consumers demand sustainable products and shopping formats. And this report was produced by First Insight And Baker Retailing Center of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. And what I liked about this report was that this was a follow on report to a first report that was done a couple of years ago. And this report showed that Gen Z and Gen X prefer to shop sustainable brands. What this report, the recent report showed is that these preferences have increased at an exponential rate. By nearly 25% and consumers willingness to pay more for sustainable products increased by 42%.

And I think that when we talk about sustainability, I think sometimes we say that this is a Gen Z thing, or this is a Millennial thing or whatever, but I’m here to say that I’m a Gen Xer and I have kids ranging from 40 year old daughters to 16 year old twins. And I’m the sustainability freak in our household. And I’ve got a compost bin, and I’m constantly digging things out of the garbage and putting them in the recycling. And I’m always saying to my 16 year olds, “Don’t roll your eyes at me, I’m going to be gone. I’m trying to make sure you have an Earth upon which to live.” So I think that this spans multi-generations, and that consumers of all different age groups are passionate about sustainability and really expecting brands to step up and do good things. So I think that’s really interesting.

Amanda Mountain: Yeah. That one struck me as well. Again, it spans the ages. It’s not limited to one group, although repeatedly in all the studies that I’ve seen, Gen Z really does stand out, usually as being even more adamant about these things. But what I noticed within that study was they believed that Gen Z has actually been influencing their parents and their grandparents. And I had a little chuckle about that because as a Gen X as well, this made me reminisce a little bit about my first Earth Day, at least the first one that I can remember, which is about like 1989 and a friend of mine in Girl Scouts, like for her, for her Gold Award Project for Girl Scouts started the first environmental club in our school. And she was the founder.

And I was the first member, but thinking back to that Earth Day is just funny because you think that the energy of the youth, the interest of the youth. My parents wanted nothing to do with my environmental desire and passions. So the Boomers ignored me. However, as you see it play out in family dynamics now, I have a 13 year old and while my mother still will not pay any attention to me, she will recycle when her granddaughter tells her to.

Shelly Kramer: That’s awesome. I love it.

Amanda Mountain: It was one of those kind of amusing things where I’m like, oh yeah, yeah, that’s true. That younger generation seems to somehow be able to get people to listen in a way that I wasn’t able to, when I was younger. The other thing that struck me on that one was not only are consumers much more willing to pay more for a sustainable product, but they also surveyed retailers and found that the retailers don’t think that the consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. So there’s a real disconnect there. And my advice to all the retailers and the consumer goods brands out there is please listen to your customers.

Shelly Kramer: Pay attention.

Amanda Mountain: Pay attention because they are willing to pay more, probably much more than you think. That premium is not a premium to them. It’s an investment in their future. And I think brands are really missing out on the opportunity to kind of survey and listen to your customer.

Shelly Kramer: Well, and that’s the thing, Amanda. I mean, all you have to do is ask. And I think that that we’ve done a ton of research before. Most recently we published a report on the future of customer experience and we surveyed 2,000 brand side representatives and 2,000 consumers on the topic of customer experience. And my point here is that there’s very often a divergence between what brands think to be true and what consumers say they think or feel or whatever, and kind of bridging that gap is really important. And again there are many, many ways to listen. There are research surveys you can do of your own. And you’re communicating, you have the ability to communicate with your customers on a regular basis through email, through social channels, through TikTok videos, whatever. Do that, listen to what they say. I mean, if that information is right there, if only you care to look, and I think that’s really important.

The last thing about this study that I thought was particularly interesting is that in today’s report that we’re talking about showed an increase by nearly 25% of consumers’ willingness to pay more for products. Actually it was 25%, and now it’s increased by 42%. Okay, that’s a lot. And the other thing that, to the point that I made earlier, is that all consumers across all generations from Boomers to Gen Z say they are willing to pay more for sustainable products. That was 2 years ago, that was only 58%. So now it’s all of them say, everyone surveyed and this research said, I’ll pay more. So I think that’s consumers with this cry, pay attention to us, help us. So I think that’s super important. So now, we’ve talked a lot about shifting consumer demands. Let’s talk about sustainability measures. Who’s responsible for that? Is it the government? Is it brands? Is it consumers? Let’s talk about that. What do you think?

Amanda Mountain: Well, I mean, let’s be real for a second. We have a climate crisis.

Shelly Kramer: We do.

Amanda Mountain: Facing us. The challenge is way too big to be approached from just one direction. So private sector, public sector, governments, educational institutions, individual consumers, everybody needs to implement sustainability measures in order to have an effect. No single effort can fully succeed without the others, is just not going to work. Now, government leadership, I think can provide a clear path for everyone’s contributions, can help provide some guide rails, some direction. But again, I think it’s far too big for just one kind of sector, one industry, one person, or one anything to fix it.

Shelly Kramer: I agree.

Amanda Mountain: So, yeah. So I think there are some interesting things out there now, like the current infrastructure plan in the US that just went into law, or signed into law in November, 2021. Because there, you see commitment, you see billions of dollars going to things like carbon capture infrastructure, electric vehicle infrastructure grid, alternative energy sources. And so that kind of thing can help provide momentum and some guidance. But I think there’s a role for every company, for every individual, for every country to play.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, I agree. And I think that when we think here at Futurum about ESG initiatives, one of the things that we believe that we’ve all been beating the digital transformation drum now for a very long time. And getting people to understand why digital transformation is so important, to embrace transformation initiatives, to understand that your journey on digital transformation is never done, that it’s something that is an ongoing process. So we’ve all been talking about that for a long time and what the people process and technology solutions are that make that transformation possible. When it comes to ESG initiatives, we think that those are as important and will continue to be as important organizations moving forward as digital transformation initiatives. And a lot of that is because what we’re seeing over the course of the last few years is companies planting flags.

We’re going to be carbon neutral by 2030, or we’re going to do this by 2040, or making these claims about commitments to sustainability. And now what we’re seeing happen. So the process of making these claims is not necessarily new. It’s been happening over the course of the last couple of years, but now what we’re seeing is organizations going, okay, what do we do now? We made this commitment. We made this promise. Now we have to figure out how do we track this? How do we manage this? How do we report this? What technology solutions do we need to help us? How are we going to report on this? And I think that that’s really what we’re seeing in terms of one of the moving parts of sustainable business initiatives. And I know that you’ve got some thoughts on that. And I know that we’ve talked before about sort of key areas of business that sustainability initiatives should cover. But weigh in on that for me, if you would.

Amanda Mountain: So there is some really good information actually on the SAP website, on sustainability that goes into this in a lot more detail. But if I were to summarize kind of my thoughts on it and sort of informed by being in the enterprise software, in tech industry. Supply chains are a key driver for sustainability best practices, but also sustainability risk. So you need to look at them very carefully and there’s a lot that your supply chain can give you in terms of sustainability benefits. And there’s a lot that they can put at risk. So I would say supply chains are key and kind of a key business action that you need to look at. And that’s everything from sourcing materials ethically, with humanitarian practices and knowing where things are coming from before you get to the finished good, sustainable manufacturing. And of course you can’t discount at the very beginning. Sustainability plays a key, key role in the design and manufacturer of your product. So supply chain is probably number one.

Number two would be kind of carbon neutrality. And again, you’ve mentioned these flags, people saying, going to be carbon neutral. I hope that nobody puts a flag in the ground when they haven’t already figured out how to measure their carbon footprint. But there …

Shelly Kramer: I think you’ll be surprised.

Amanda Mountain: There is the need. And again, that’s data and reporting. And it’s also in your financial reporting. SAP has an integrated annual report and we have for years. We don’t just report on the financial data. We report on sustainability data, everything from diversity and inclusion to our carbon footprint and our efforts to become carbon neutral. And again, you can’t change what you don’t measure. And so you do need to have that set up and then just the kind of the common principles of the circular economy. So avoid, reduce, reuse, reclaim. That can really go a long way, but those need to be kind of foundational planning and strategic principles. Again, I’m big on this, you don’t come in after the fact and overlay something. You’ve got to start from the beginning with it.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. Well, I’m a strategist, so I will never argue with you or anyone about the importance of you have to start with a strategy. And we’re talking here about foundational business change. You don’t just wing that. You don’t just throw darts at a dart board. You have a strategy, you have a group of people, generally speaking involved. We’re seeing more and more chief sustainability officers, positions within organizations and that sort of thing, but all of this goes back to starting with a strategy. And by the way, strategies can change, they should change, change and evolve. And my favorite strategy is always to launch, measure, tweak, adjust, and go off and measure again. And so I believe a strategy is kind of a living breathing thing, but absolutely it makes perfect sense that paying attention to supply chain, to carbon neutrality and to the circular economy.

And I also have to beat one of those people who can’t stand to throw anything away. I literally, whenever I have something, whether it’s a device or whatever. It’s like, okay, where can the best use of this be? So I think I drive my family crazy and I don’t really care. It’s my role. It’s my job. So let’s talk a little bit … I know that SAP has really embraced sustainability. You mentioned the reporting that’s been happening and the measurement that’s been happening for a long time now. So let’s talk a little bit about what SAP is doing to improve sustainability efforts.

Amanda Mountain: So, like I mentioned, and for me, it’s an important factor, that integrated report, because everything gets written down and you see the longevity, you see the history of the efforts, the improvements that get made as we go along. And it’s a way to hold … The company is held accountable through that. So it’s not just a nice to have, I think that is a must have. You measure the things that are important. And from there, it’s environmental, it’s social and it’s governance. So ESG, you’ve got to do it all.

Shelly Kramer: Got to do it all.

Amanda Mountain: Yep. And it’s baked into the mission. To help the world run better and improve people’s lives. So we have had some really impressive, I think, gains in that area in terms of the carbon footprint. And it was aided somewhat by …

Shelly Kramer: Pandemic? Pandemic silver lining.

Amanda Mountain: Yep. And the way that more flexible working models contributed to that. But our total carbon emissions decreased 18.5% year over year. So between 2020 and 2021, even as the workforce increased. So it wasn’t just the pandemic. It wasn’t just the flexible working models because the size of the workforce actually increased by nearly 5% while you’ve got those carbon emissions decreasing by nearly 19%. And that’s just due to just constant effort to get closer to carbon neutrality. And we are looking to do that by 2023. So this is not a five year thing.

Shelly Kramer: As in next year?

Amanda Mountain: Yeah.

Shelly Kramer: That’s a big deal.

Amanda Mountain: Yeah. And then net zero, though, across our entire value chain by 2030. So we already have the next milestone in place. We know what that is. And of course, the data and the reporting, the metrics are there, they’re baked in, so that we hold ourselves accountable to these goals.

Shelly Kramer: I know that you also had some interesting recent announcements and partnerships. You want to tell us about those?

Amanda Mountain: Well, I think the announcement closest to my heart is actually the program we have for SAP Store. So that’s where we plant a tree for each online purchase on SAP Store. And that contributes to the company’s goal of planting 5 million trees by 2025. And you’ll remember, I talk about things not being add on programs, not being done in isolation. Because honestly, if I were just going around telling everybody, hey, I have a tree planting program. That could smack of greenwashing, but we are contributing to the company’s overall goal of planting 5 million trees. And here’s the thing. With the tree planting, that’s not the real sustainability lever. It’s the strategic choice of either the individual business owner, or sometimes the whole procurement organization to go digital and to do business online, to go paperless. So our tree planting is more like a gift that recognizes and reinforces the sustainability commitment that that company, or that team, that procurement org has already made. It’s not why someone would choose to buy from SAP Store, but it’s an appropriate acknowledgement of the strategic, sustainable choice that they’ve made.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. I think that’s really awesome. I’m a fan of planning trees. That’s for sure. So I know that there are a lot of solutions on the SAP Store for both SAP and partners that can help customers manage their environmental impact, there’s tools, there’s sensors, there’s calculators, there are all different kinds of things. Talk with us a little bit, if you would, share with me some of the solutions that come immediately to mind that you’re seeing the most interest in.

Amanda Mountain: All right. Well, it’s hard. It’s hard to narrow it down. If you type sustainability into the main search bar on SAP Store, I think something like 86 solutions show up.

Shelly Kramer: That’s great.

Amanda Mountain: These are from both SAP and our partners, but in terms of what to highlight, maybe I’ll do a big one and a little one, for both SAP and for partners. And why don’t we start with the partners? So on the big side, on the kind of end to end sustainability, we’ve got EcoVadis supplier sustainability ratings. So there, they’ve got sustainability ratings on over 75,000 companies. So if you want to really look at your global supply chain, end to end, and its performance in terms of sustainability, both sustainability performance and sustainability risk, this is something that lets you do that. That’s why I describe it as one of the big ones. It’s very kind of comprehensive, global, kind of end to end sustainable view of your supply chain.

Shelly Kramer: I’ll mention here real quickly that I was lucky enough to do an interview. I’ve done interviews with lots of SAP partners, but I was lucky enough to do an interview with the EcoVadis team about their solution. I will link that in the show notes to this show because their solution is mind blowing and it is, why try to figure out how to reinvent the wheel on a very complicated topic when you can work with this amazing company and their solution. So really, really interesting, what they do. So I’m glad that they are on your list of partners to talk about.

Amanda Mountain: Yeah. It’s sort of like when you’re at a dinner party and you realize two people have already met, that’s so much fun. Like yah. And then on the smaller side, there’s a digital shoe size consultant that is sold through one of our partners, is Footprint Technologies. I don’t think the same Footprint from the research, but we should figure that out.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, we should.

Amanda Mountain: But it lets you minimize size related returns in your online shops. So if you think about out the packaging and this was one of the things that consumers have complained about, just the sheer amount of packaging that they get. If you don’t have to ship something, if you don’t have to ship it back, think about, that cuts your packaging way and your carbon emissions right in half. And so, this is one of those kind of laser focused, pretty specific types of solutions. But in the right industry, for the right customer, this can have a huge impact on their waste reduction.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. I’m that customer by the way. I mean, you have a teenager, I have teenagers times two, and they wear one size in Nikes and another size in Adidas or another size in this. And so when I order shoes online or anything, I have to order multiple sizes and it kills me to do that. But I have to order multiple sizes. And then sometimes they reject things because they don’t think I have good taste and they’re dumb, and it kills me to have to return all those things. If there was a solution that I could go that would help me figure, navigate that sizing issue, I would be so happy not to have to order multiple sizes and then send things back. So when you multiply that times … I’m one person, but when you multiply a solution times like that to a retailer and all the customers that they serve, I mean, that’s an incredible savings, in terms of packaging and ship.

And it’s not just the packaging, Amanda, it’s the fact …

Amanda Mountain: Time.

Shelly Kramer: That I have to package it up and I have to drive to the UPS store and I have to drop it off and I have to drive home. And then it has to get put on a truck and maybe go on a plane. You know what I’m saying? Like the return industry alone is huge. So solutions like this make a lot of sense. And I know that the return industry, I mean, that it’s probably not been a pandemic silver lining in the sense that it’s great that we’ve seen the rise in e-commerce. But then we have this huge return issue that’s on the back end of that, that we have to deal with and find eco friendly ways to do that. So I really love that solution. I think it’s awesome.

Amanda Mountain: Yeah. And then on the SAP side, I’ll start with a small one again, one that’s kind of purpose built for a specific type of sustainability use case and that’s SAP E-mobility. And there, it helps companies optimize and simplify electric vehicle charging, both the infrastructure as well as the related business processes. So getting it into your finance and accounting, accounting for that by vehicle, by user, et cetera. So it’s pretty cool, but that’s specifically for companies, associations who already have an EV strategy for their fleet or for their employees. So it’s a specific use case. But it’s pretty elegant.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, I like it. One thing I’m interested in, and I don’t know enough about is that I did not realize until we were having this conversation, that SAP has this sustainability advisory service. And what I like about that, and I’m going to have you tell me about it, but I’m thinking that, I think conversations like this can be overwhelming to brands trying to make their own plans and develop their own strategies. But when you have a resource that you can work with, somebody who’s solving problems for customers on a global basis like SAP is, and you can take advantage of advisory services. To me, that kind of seems like a no brainer. So talk with me a little bit. Admittedly I went into this not knowing a lot about the advisory service offering. So tell me a little bit about how that works.

Amanda Mountain: So it’s a fixed scope, kind of stated outcome, what I would call a package service. So, we have experts in sustainability. They come from all industries, both public and private sector, and they will sit down and kind of workshop with a company, work on your business case, work on, understanding the data, what exists and what does not. Where do you need to put measurements in place? Where are the opportunities and the risks? And what technologies are available to assist companies with this? Because it’s not always an easy task, but there is plenty of technology now available to really help people. And also, especially so that you are not starting from scratch and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for each company. So, yeah, sustainability advisory services are cool, they’re also available on SAP Store.

Shelly Kramer: I think that’s awesome.

Amanda Mountain: And that can go for my big one, when I was talking about both a little and a big. Although the other one that I like for big is actually SAP Landscape Management Cloud. So that lets you optimize kind of system uptime as well as carbon footprint when you’re operating your SAP systems in a kind of infrastructure as a service mode. So that’s pretty cool too. A lot of customers might look at that as a way to minimize costs, but hand in hand with minimizing costs is also minimizing your carbon footprint. And I think that that’s something that it’s okay to say that’s important too. We talk about sustainability and sometimes it seems like we’re talking about it with kind of rose colored glasses. But I think as business professionals, it’s okay to say that one of the benefits of sustainability is also financial. Businesses are able to do well and run better when they’re more sustainable. And it’s okay that this has a positive impact down your bottom line.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think that that is something, to me that’s a key takeaway here is that one, there’s help. There’s a advisory services, smart partnerships and we kind of beat this drum here at Futurum all the time in that the path forward for businesses of every size, whether it comes to digital transformation, or ESG and sustainability efforts, and all that sort of thing is smart partnerships, forging smart partnerships with trusted vendor partners, and not reinventing the wheel, and looking at all of the different pieces of the equation. Your processes, the technology solutions you’re using, the technology solutions you’re using to measure what your strategy looks like, all of those things. And it’s a big thing. It’s a big initiative to undergo whether you’re just starting or whether you have kicked off your sustainability initiative. So I think that knowing that the resources and the help that are out there is really important and that there’s no shame. I mean, it’s the smart people that forge those partnerships. We can’t do this on our own.

Amanda Mountain: Absolutely.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. So, okay. So we’re going to wrap up this conversation. I’m going to ask you one last question. For organizations who are looking to improve sustainability, what’s your number one tip for where they should start?

Amanda Mountain: Well, I might sound like a broken record, but I’m going to say that it needs to be central to your overall business strategy, with all corporate functions contributing. It needs to be baked into everything, measure your progress and report.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, that makes sense. And I think I’ll add there that know that your reporting will get better over time. You know what I’m saying? I mean, like don’t expect to move mountains. Oh, pun intended. Don’t expect to move mountains when you just get started. You’ll get better over time. And that’s the reality of how this works. I think that’s a great tip on which to leave us on this Earth Day 2022. Amanda Mountain from SAP, thank you so much for joining us today. Always love our conversations and we’ll have to revisit this one again soon.

Amanda Mountain: Thank you, Shelly. Great talking today.

Author Information

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”


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