Enterprise Resource Planning and Sustainability


The topic of sustainability has risen in popularity over the years to where it seems everybody is talking about it. Regardless of your personal thoughts on the matter, your business is accountable to your customers — so if your organization is not talking about sustainability, it’s probably time to start the conversation.

SAP, NetSuite, Sage, Acumatica, Infor, and Unit4 are among the many ERP providers who have spoken out about sustainability in recent months. Some vendors are choosing to focus on educating their clients on what it means to be a sustainable company, while others are implementing procedures aimed at carbon neutrality or net-zero carbon emissions.

Each approach has its own unique set of solutions and suggestions. One common theme among ERP software providers stood out: sustainability and cloud-based services go hand-in-hand.

SAP Goes Green

In March of this year SAP announced a sustainability service package that provides guidance on how best to attain sustainability as a business. As SAP’s head of Services Sustainability Solutions said about their new offering, “The world is changing. We want to offer holistic solutions that support businesses wherever they are along their journey to sustainable business.”

SAP hosted a Sustainability Summit in April of 2021 discussing how businesspeople can advocate for an environmentally healthy future for the world. At the summit, attendees were encouraged to develop sustainable practices and goals for their businesses to work toward and implement.

As for the company’s internal efforts, SAP has sought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of eventually reaching carbon neutrality.

NetSuite’s Sustainable Approach

NetSuite’s approach to sustainability focuses on empowering customers to set and reach their own sustainability goals with cloud-based solutions that allow for reduced energy costs and consumption through eliminating on-prem servers and server rooms.

NetSuite cites saving nearly 600 million kilowatt-hours each year, or the yearly electricity use of 56,000 homes. Along with this, NetSuite reduces carbon dioxide production by 423,000 metric tons annually.

In May, NetSuite published an article about supply chain sustainability in hopes of educating customers on the importance of social responsibility. In this article, NetSuite offered up practical advice for businesspeople to put into place at their own organizations.

NetSuite references Forrester Research’s instruction regarding supply chain sustainability, stating that companies ought to procure sustainable materials for use in their products, to reduce the number of resources their products require, and to design products that can be reused and/or recycled.

Sage: Knocking Down Barriers

Sage has created an all-encompassing mission to “Knock Down Barriers” in an effort to challenge economic inequality and pursue net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

This includes committing itself to the Science-Based Target Initiative, which supports efforts to drastically reduce carbon emissions in hopes of meeting net-zero targets. Sage is also participating in the UN Climate Change Race to Zero, a campaign that is intended to rally enthusiasm from businesses around the world to band together in efforts to prevent climate threats and increase sustainable growth.

Their concern for sustainability has also led Sage to leverage its Sage Advice platform to advise small businesses around the world on limiting their environmental impact.

Acumatica and MeetGreen

Acumatica’s journey to become more sustainable has recently grown as they have decided to partner with MeetGreen, a sustainable company aimed at developing policy that reduces the carbon footprint of events.

MeetGreen has assisted Acumatica in developing their sustainability plan which highlights their desire to assist customers in reaching their sustainability goals as well as reducing the environmental impact of Acumatica’s operations. Acumatica’s hope is that they will be able to run their cloud solely on sustainable energy.

The company itself is now climate neutral certified as of July 2021.

Infor Encourages “Going Green”

In December of 2020, Infor began a program called "Going Green" designed to assist clients in the implementation of sustainable programs through ERP. This program's launch was education-heavy, providing many different resources for clients to use in their learning process.

Infor’s senior director of solutions marketing explained Infor’s hope in this process is to simultaneously help customers “meet sustainability objectives and drive a return-on-investment.”

Unit 4’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program

Unit4 announced their Corporate Social Responsibility Program in late 2020. The program reflects the UN Sustainable Development Goals and aspires to create positive environmental impact.

Is Sustainability the Future of ERP?

With all of the different approaches to this hot issue, each of these companies contend that cloud services are more sustainable than on-prem software. Accenture did a study on the sustainability of the cloud which revealed that “migrations to the cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year which equates to taking 22 million cars off the road.”

The pursuit of a greener future is an international priority, making it absolutely necessary that you and your business consider your role in the movement toward sustainability.

We here at ERP Advisors Group would be happy to assist you in your next sustainable ERP journey. Contact us today to learn more.

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