Business software giant SAP hopes to roll out its cloud-based carbon management software to 12 Brazilian companies this year, after making its first sale to supermarket giant Pão de Açúcar.
Luis Cedar Verdi, SAP Brazil president, told reporters in Sao Paulo yesterday that it is stepping up its efforts to cater to the growing number of Latin American firms seeking to curb their environmental impact.
“Brazil is kind of leading this trend in Latin America,” he said. “Sustainability is a big topic for Brazilian executives and we’re seeing a growing interest in sustainability projects. More and more companies are worrying about their impact on the environment and this is the driving force behind the adoption of our carbon management software.”
He predicted SAP would sell its cloud-based CI Carbon Impact (CI) OnDemand Software to 12 Brazilian companies by the end of the year, many of which are likely to be existing SAP customers seeking to upgrade to dedicated carbon management programmes.
Pão de Açúcar, the largest retailer in South America announced in January that it would add CI to existing SAP software it already runs. Earlier this week, Brazilian petrochemical firm Braskem also revealed it was in negotions with SAP to adopt the CI system before 2013.
“We have a group of companies also considering using it as part of their technology landscape so I do expect that by the end of this year we will have a dozen,” said Verdi, before adding that he did not expect to see widespread uptake of the technology for some time. “This is still mainly a concern for big companies so it’s not got massive adoption so far. Globally, midsized companies are not there yet, unfortunately.”
Hugo Bethlem, vice president of Pão de Açúcar, also confirmed the company is planning to set carbon reduction targets next month, after running CI for six months to measure the carbon emissions and energy consumption of its 1,832 stores across Latin America, including its 35 dedicated “green stores”.
Responding to questions from BusinessGreen, Bethlem said he expected to gain a return on investment from CI in less than a year through energy and waste savings.
“This software is very inexpensive compared to other software that SAP has sold us,” he said. “We also had to hire two other companies to help us implement this but the total cost was very low – the equivalent of £100,000.”
Bethlem revealed he is seeking to replicate the success of Marks and Spencer’s Plan A and has met with Sir Stuart Rose, former executive chairman of M&S, for advice on how to deliver an effective sustainability programme.
“Last year in the World Retail Congress we won the prize for the best emerging market business retailer, but I lost another one that I was nomitated for which was the most sustainable retailer,” he said. “I got pissed off. I don’t like to lose, especially if there’s someone doing better. Marks and Spencer had won… so I contacted Sir Stuart Rose, asking him to be our adviser, to ask for help to understand how he successfully implemented Plan A.
“There’s a long way to get there but I think we’ve already taken the first step.”
Bethlem said much of the company’s sustainability strategy is focused on waste reduction, as well as employee engagement with its 170,000 strong workforce.
“The main reason we do this is because its economic. Nobody gets better if we don’t measure,” he added. “One of the most sensible organs of human beings is the pocket.”