Sapphire 2023: Unleashing the Power of Sustainable Procurement and Digital Integration for Buyers and Suppliers

July 5, 2023 Daniel Perry

Suppliers can showcase sustainability accomplishments to thousands of buyers with new SAP Business Network integration; Supply chain finance brings added mutual value

Digital integration and sustainability were strong themes at the 2023 SAP Sapphire conference in Orlando, Florida, which showcased the powerful new ways customers drive sustainable procurement with EcoVadis and SAP tools.

EcoVadis’ Head of Global Alliances, Daniel Perry, attended the event in Orlando to support our expanded partnership with SAP, and the new integration - which is the first of its kind - between EcoVadis business sustainability ratings and the Trading Partner Profile of SAP Business Network.

Sustainability Insights at Buyers’ Fingertips

Sustainability was a theme in many of the keynote and breakout sessions. During the keynotes, Schneider Electric, Pfizer and Unilever all spoke of supply chain sustainability challenges.

During the day-1 morning keynote, Unilever demonstrated how EcoVadis data can be integrated with SAP solutions to solve complex supply-chain resilience challenges. Speaking from the showroom floor, Aaron Rajan, Global Vice President of Customer Experience Technology at Unilever, spoke about how the company works with SAP to address the growing demands for sustainable vanilla ice cream.

“Thanks to the integration across SAP Ariba, SAP Business Network, and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we can see a full view of the supplier’s performance metrics — including cost, reliability, and sustainability — making an informed decision not only on supply chain fit, but also on carbon impact,” Rajan said. 

In case of a supply disruption, Rajan demonstrated how Unilever would reach out through the SAP Business Network to find a substitute vanilla supplier, while ensuring the supplier meets Unilever’s lofty sustainability standards.

“Globally we have about 50,000 [Trading] Partners on our network. We use [SAP] Ariba to manage those partners and that would include the vanilla suppliers and distributors… ‘Making sustainable living commonplace’ is our company philosophy…” -- 

The demo showed how users can incorporate sustainability scores (a feature powered by SAP Ariba Risk and EcoVadis) when comparing alternate suppliers.

Unlocking Incentives for Supplier Sustainability Engagement

In multiple breakout sessions throughout the event, Nilesh Mhatre, CIO at Henkel for Americas and IMEA, described how they benefit from integrating EcoVadis sustainability ratings with Taulia’s supply-chain finance solutions.

The Supply Chain Finance program, which Henkel and Taulia (an SAP company) have been running since 2015, now provides flexible financing options and preferential rates to Henkel’s suppliers, depending on their suppliers’ EcoVadis ratings. By improving their EcoVadis rating, suppliers can further reduce financing costs in the supply chain. This program enables Henkel’s goal to achieve 100 million tons of CO2 reductions together with customers, consumers, and suppliers between 2016 and 2025.

Visibility for Suppliers’ Sustainability Performance 

The biggest highlight of the SAP-EcoVadis partnership happened during the afternoon keynote on day one. Thomas Saueressig, head of SAP Product Engineering, took the main stage and presented the new exciting integration -- which is the first such integration in the SAP Network, that reaches over 5 million trading partners. Suppliers can now monetize their sustainability credentials by linking their EcoVadis Rating status to their Trading Partner Profile on SAP Business Network, showcasing their performance across SAP’s leading B2B network. 

In a demo that covered the complexities of real-time logistics tracking and multi-tier supply chain transparency, Saueressig’s team showed how simple it is for trading partners on the SAP Business Network to easily share their EcoVadis rating accurately and securely through the one-click integration. Learn more about how suppliers can add their sustainability rating on their SAP Business Network supplier profile in this article on SAP Community.

How EcoVadis Helps Drive Sustainable Procurement Via Digital Integration

EcoVadis digitally integrates sustainability and other ESG initiatives into procurement processes and software, which can be a powerful accelerator for driving sustainable supply chain success -- from managing risks to enhancing business relationships to positively impacting its bottom line. 

With the right API integration to quantified sustainability indicators, such as EcoVadis Ratings, procurement teams can assess their suppliers’ sustainability as a factor at each part of the source-to-pay workflow (below):

Integration creates numerous benefits and accelerators for programs including:  

  • Accelerating decision-making

  • Enhancing buyer adoption by putting key ESG and procurement data at their fingertips

  • Aligning to and enriching procurement digital transformation initiatives

  • Facilitating the aggregation of supplier sustainability insights and use with other functions

  • These functions include: corporate reporting, product development, finance, risk and compliance, sales and marketing, and external stakeholders.

View the listing in the SAP store here, or to learn more about the new EcoVadis-SAP integration, Contact us. 

About the Author

Daniel Perry

Daniel Perry is the Head of Global Alliances at EcoVadis, which operates the first collaborative supply chain sustainability rating platform, where his main focus is developing alliances with the world's leading software developers. Daniel has over 20 years experience in the business development of innovative solutions for procurement organizations and has been a guest speaker at events hosted by thought leaders, such as the Institute for Supply Management, Nasdaq Innovation Lab, the Sustainable Procurement Leadership Council and the United Nations. Daniel originally hails from New Zealand, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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