Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it has long since become an important topic at management level. However, it is not just a matter of collecting sustainability data at the right place and in the right quality, but also of handling it in the right way. Only then can efficient sustainability reporting and holistic corporate management be ensured.
Until now, corporate management has been geared predominantly to purely financial indicators. However, climate change, supply chain problems and a shortage of skilled workers have led to non-financial indicators becoming increasingly important. It is just as obvious that regulation on the part of the legislator (keywords such as the German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains (LkSG), the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) or EU Tax Law) as well as the requirements of customers and capital providers is bound to increase. In other words, sustainability is here to stay.
To remain successful in the long term, companies must therefore integrate sustainability into their corporate management. Holistic management is required, from recording the first data point (record) to reporting sustainability performance (report) through to improving past performance (act).
Holistic corporate management
In order to know where the company stands, the relevant data must be collected and made available in sufficient quality. It is important, however, not to dismiss the record-to-report-to-act process as a mere IT or sustainability process. The business units must be viewed integratively as well as being integrated into the management of the company. This means that the areas of IT, sustainability and controlling must all be brought together in order to map efficient sustainability management. In this context, the corporate strategy must be seen as the starting point for the discussion and, building on this, the (statutory minimum) requirements must be met.
Record as a central starting point for holistic corporate management
The challenges in integrating sustainability measures into corporate management are not only the identification of the recording points for the data, but also the efficient implementation of measures using suitable tools. The existing IT architecture should be recycled as much as possible, and the delta from the sustainability requirements should be mapped natively. This means that many companies are planning to or have already switched to SAP S/4HANA. A first step here can therefore be to review the suitability of the existing SAP sustainability solutions. This approach is supported by existing BTP licenses at companies. Alternatively, systems can also be consolidated via integration platforms such as the Scheer PAS.
Report-to-act is the icing on the cake
The data is then prepared accordingly on the basis of the existing IT architecture and the data points for the sustainability indicators. The collected data can then be distributed to the appropriate stakeholder groups. These can be external stakeholders such as legislators, customers or investors, but also internal stakeholders such as top managers, employees and the respective managers. This brings us full circle to holistic management – because today's information is tomorrow's improvements.
We can therefore see that sustainability must be considered holistically in order to be integrated into corporate management. But we can also see that data is often already available in sufficient quantity and only needs to be appropriately consolidated.
At Scheer, we support you on your way: To this end, we offer you not only the various sustainability services, but also the right sustainability solutions. Together with you, we develop the concept that is right for you and help you start your journey towards integrated corporate management. Contact us for an initial consultation without obligation.
Author: Alexander Neske