The Potential of a Network-Centric Solution for Sustainability in Business Processes

  • Hans Thies
  • Ali Dada
  • Katarina Stanoevska-Slabeva


Due to an increasing pressure from international regulation, customers and other stakeholders, companies are increasingly experiencing the need to incorporate sustainability considerations in their core business processes and daily operations. For this purpose they require software solutions that simplify the collection, analysis, and incorporation of sustainability indicators at the right processes across their operations. However, prevailing systems are enterprise-centric in the sense that they are owned and used by one focal company collecting the data from different sources and using it for its internal decision making. This paper will describe three example use cases in which sustainability plays a key role and will provide an overview of major problems with the current state of the art. In the second part of the paper, a new approach for sharing sustainability indicators is introduced that enables many providers and consumers of environmental data to connect to and leverage a common platform. Finally, the paper analyzes the potential risks and benefits of introducing such a network platform, using the three business use cases to illustrate the opportunities resulting from it.


Supply Chain Life Cycle Assessment Cloud Computing Global Reporting Initiative Environmental Reporting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the industry participants for their input on the use cases (names omitted to preserve confidentiality), in addition to SAP Sustainability solution management for a fruitful collaboration. This work was partially funded by the European research project OEPI (Solutions for Managing Organizations’ Environmental Performance Indicators, 748735).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Thies
    • 1
  • Ali Dada
    • 2
  • Katarina Stanoevska-Slabeva
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.SAP Research & MCM InstituteSt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.SAP Research, SAP (Schweiz) AGSt. GallenSwitzerland
  3. 3.University of NeuchatelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  4. 4.University of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland

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