The Environmental Imperative: Using Digital Technologies to Pave The Way for Green Business Practices

Today, alongside maximising shareholder value and profitability, the need to be sustainable and environmentally compliant is at the top of the priorities for business leaders across industries. Companies must seek innovative ways to reduce their ecological footprint, be compliant and address a much broader spectrum of stakeholder concerns. 

Imagine a scenario where such needs of businesses are intuitively catered to, allowing decision-makers to be empathetic and focus on things that matter the most. It is precisely what the powerful digital trio of Cloud ERP, Intelligent Automation and Process Mining promises – working harmoniously to supercharge digital transformation and drive sustainable practices. Interestingly, the World Economic Forum estimated that digital technologies can help carbon-intensive sectors to reduce their emission by 20% by 2050 and contribute meaningfully towards the aspirations of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

The following article will explore how these technologies contribute to environmental sustainability while igniting a positive business impact.

Cloud ERP 

From streamlining processes, optimising consumptions, reducing waste, and managing emissions, the emergence of cloud-native enterprise management platforms created a paradigm shift in how businesses operate and view their accountability towards the planet. Such systems have brought real-time visibility, robust controls, and seamless collaboration to the fingertips of business leaders from an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) perspective. For instance, SAP Sustainability Control Tower has simplified visibility and tracking of a company’s Environmental performance by monitoring a series of sustainability metrics in runtime and establishing strong ESG reporting practices. 

Such capabilities translate into better bottom-line performance and enable companies to make informed decisions that positively impact the environment. Some of its impacts can be accounted as: 

Resource Optimisation: Intelligent Cloud ERP solutions empower businesses to track and manage their resources along their lifecycle and continuously estimate their environmental costs. By leveraging real-time data insights, organisations can manage inventory levels with agility, reduce waste, and prevent overproduction. This streamlined approach minimises the consumption of raw materials and energy, leading to a significantly lower carbon footprint, directly impacting UN Sustainable Development Goals 7,12 and 13 and indirectly impacting several others.

Supply Chain Efficiency: Cloud ERP platforms provide end-to-end visibility into the key supply chain operational metrics, allowing businesses to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies and grey areas that directly conflict with ecological interests. Armed with this knowledge, organisations can reimagine transportation routes, reduce fuel consumption, and curtail greenhouse gas emissions, thus sizing down the overall ecological footprint of their supply chains. Furthermore, improved supply chain management facilitates the sourcing of eco-friendly suppliers, fostering a more sustainable procurement process and living up to the expectations of a customer base that is climate conscious. 

Intelligent Automation (IA)

Operational toil is inversely proportional to positive environmental outcomes for a business. Here, the marriage of Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) empowers companies to automate repetitive tasks, redefine workflows and extract more productivity per unit of the resource consumed, ensuring that their operations have a minimum impact on the plant and its resources. Notably, as per recent research, AI and cognitive technologies can reduce up to 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this decade. This transformative spectrum of technologies can play a pivotal role in reducing environmental by facilitating the following:

Energy Efficiency: IA enables the automation of energy-consuming processes, such as data centre management, lighting systems, and other infrastructure maintenance areas. For instance, data centres can cut 80% of their energy budget by migrating to the cloud and automating processes. By harnessing the power of AI algorithms, businesses can rationalise their energy usage, reduce carbon emissions, and minimise overall energy consumption. It leads to cost savings and demonstrates a commitment to sustainability.

Paperless Operations: The World Wildlife Fund comments that the global pulp and paper industry has an unacceptably sizeable ecological footprint on the planet. In fact, this research suggests that 14% of deforestation worldwide is targeted to meet the demand for paper goods worldwide. Here, digital workflows eliminate excessive paper usage by automating document processing, eliminating the need for physical copies. This breakthrough saves costs and mitigates deforestation and environmental degradation caused by paper production. Additionally, it enables seamless collaboration and file sharing, significantly reducing the need for physical transportation and associated carbon emissions.

Process Mining 

Process Mining plays a critical role at this crucial juncture when sustainability is a dominant theme for businesses across sectors. As a comparatively recent addition to the Digital Block, Process Mining has allowed firms to review their business practices in perspective and act on facts rather than assumptions. Besides bolstering business functions, Process Mining has exceptional implications for making business systems greener, safer, and more sustainable. 

It helps extract insights from the event logs residing in a company’s enterprise management systems and reveals the complete picture with high fidelity indicating inefficiencies and environmentally unsound practices. By directing corrective actions into these areas, companies can unlock significant environmental dividends like: 

Waste Reduction: Process Mining unveils process inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and unnecessary steps contributing to waste generation. Organisations can minimise waste generation by streamlining processes, eliminating non-value-added activities, and reducing rework, leading to a more environmentally responsible approach.

Continuous Improvement: Process Mining fosters a culture of continuous improvement through constant analysis of the as-is processes. Organisations can constantly monitor and refine their operations, seeking ways to reduce energy consumption, optimise resource utilisation, and improve the overall environmental posturing of the business. This iterative approach ensures businesses remain agile and adaptive in an ever-changing climate regulatory landscape. 

Digital Transformation with Cloud ERP, IA, and Process Mining technologies hold tremendous potential for businesses to enhance their environmental sustainability. By harnessing the power of these cutting-edge tools, organisations can streamline operations, optimise resource usage, reduce waste generation, and minimise carbon emissions. By embracing these innovative technologies, companies not only stand to improve return on business investments and reach a higher state of operational efficiency but also demonstrate their unwavering commitment to a greener future.

At Percipere, we specialise in helping business to drive sustainable growth through Digital Transformation. As an SAP Gold Partner and a UiPath Global Silver Partner, we are committed to guiding businesses on this transformative path. With expert advice and implementation support, we empower organisations to leverage the best in Digital for driving positive business impact while fostering adherence to environmental norms.

If Environment is one of your business priorities this year, we can help. We invite you to contact us at [email protected] or by filling out this short form. One of our subject matter experts will be happy to help you discover how your business can be at the digital frontline of growth and positive environmental outcomes.

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