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5 steps to green Business Processes – Part 2

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Rapid climate change is driving companies to become more environmentally friendly. Sustainability already starts in internal processes and must therefore be rethought. In the first part of our blog we already presented you the first two steps. Here are the next 3 steps for greener business processes.

3. Creating transparency – in one central location.

After this preparatory work, it’s time to start collecting data. The challenge: At many companies, the necessary information is located on isolated solutions with “endemic” types of data. In addition, it is often difficult for non-specialists to assess what data actually goes into the carbon footprint of, for example, a product or a particular service. When a package is delivered it is not only the route chosen and the corresponding fuel consumption that have an impact. In the background, IT systems are also running on servers (including cooling) that enable customers to track their packages. In addition, the human resources managers of the parcel driver may meet to redesign shift schedules …

Thus, to obtain robust data on how much carbon dioxide a particular process emits in all its dimensions, X number of responsible parties would need to be interviewed and the relevant data compiled. A modern Business Process Management (BPM) tool helps to reduce this complexity and to make all information usable in a central system. iGrafx has already stored all questions of the German Sustainability Index (DNK) – as well as those of the relevant standards such as EMAS – ready for use in the system for this purpose. At the same time, the BPM software offers companies the flexibility they need to develop their individual sustainability standard based on the prioritized sustainability goals, successively link it to the business processes and underpin it with suitable KPIs. Once set up, the sustainability manager can then, for example, start a workflow at the click of a mouse that automatically collects all the required key figures on the CO2 footprint in a specific process and transfers them in consolidated form to a dashboard.

4. Define and implement measures.

Now you have the key data you need to manage your sustainability goals and implement improvements in a verifiable manner – if required, also as part of an audit. In addition, you can store possible individual measures in the BPM tool – such as the purchase of CO2 certificates or tree planting by a project partner to compensate for CO2. If, for example, a bank defines the goal of reducing its total CO2 emissions by 10 percent in the current year, the sustainability manager will, firstly, check all relevant processes for savings opportunities and optimize them accordingly together with the individual departments. Here, too, the BPM software provides the necessary assistance and transparency. For what cannot be saved right away through process improvements, the sustainability manager will also make a selection from the specified alternative measures for compensation.

5. Involve employees – live sustainability.

Once the organizational basis has been established through management guidelines, processes and suitable KPIs, it remains to anchor the idea of sustainability in the minds of the employees and to show that even small but constant improvements can lead to the goal. Experienced consulting partners such as Cofinpro accompany companies through this change and show ways in which sustainability management can be continuously developed. An important factor here is the role model function of upper and middle management. Why should an employee decide to take the train to the trade fair if his superior only drives to his business partners in a company car? If everyone pulls together and sustainability is exemplified by the top management, this also sharpens the eye for optimization potential at the grass roots. Then, in the future, the suggestions as to where, for example, printouts can be saved along the processes for granting loans will no longer come from the sustainability manager, but from the relevant clerks. A flexible BPM tool can make a targeted contribution to this awareness. This is because it can not only make the CO2 consumption of a process comprehensible, but also provide supplementary information: Can working hours be adhered to? Are there alternative decisions – for example, can I create an audit-proof electronic document and dispense with the printout?

Anchoring the understanding deeply in the company that sustainability is not a fad but will be the general business standard in the future is not only an investment in the future. Systematic sustainability management that is explicitly supported by management often also makes employees want to track down sustainability potential, develop ideas and experiment a little. What experiences have you had on the way to more sustainability in your company? What challenges do you face in this context? Contact us to share your suggestions and questions with us.

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