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ABB on sustainability: Just get started!

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ABB and Celonis are co-developing sustainability tracking, dashboards and processes to reach a net-zero emissions goal by 2030.

Heymen Jansen, group vice president and head of advanced process analytics at ABB, recently outlined the project with Celonis. The project is focusing on outbound logistics for customer shipments and calculating emissions across modes of transport.

ABB has four businesses: Electrification, Process Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation. ABB is also one of Celonis' first customers. "I've had the pleasure of being the guinea pig to start something new with Celonis as a co-developer," said Jansen.

Celonis has stepped up its sustainability software efforts and recently held a hackathon for proof-of-concept projects with customers. Customers are starting to use the Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) to connect systems to track and improve sustainability metrics such as carbon emissions across business operations.

Jansen noted that sustainability and efficiency go together and are instilled in ABB's culture. In its 2021 Sustainability Report, ABB said that it has cut its scope 1 & 2 emissions 39% from 2019. ABB also estimates that it will reduce customer emissions in 2022 by 11.5 megatons of Co2.

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According to Jansen, transparency, agility and attention is critical to successful sustainability projects. You also need C-level support. "You need to structure sustainability and need attention from the C-level. We have our chief sustainability officer on the board," he explained. "Goals and targets have been distributed across divisions."

Jansen had the following recommendations for other enterprises looking to track their sustainability progress.

There is no one size fits all approach to sustainability. "Every company has its own culture and organizational set up," said Jansen.

Get started. Jansen said when there are projects where you don't have benchmark data, experience or skills then your best bet is to start as soon as possible to start the learning process. "You need to start somewhere so start small," he said. "Just measure what you can measure."

In ABB's case, Jansen said the use of Celonis has given the company data on multiple processes. ABB started tracking sustainability for its outbound supply chain and is now working on inbound.

Be pragmatic. "Don't create huge sustainability frameworks because you'll just create PowerPoints forever and workshops forever without starting anything," said Jansen.

Know the primary questions. Jansen said sustainability projects should start with the following questions:

  • Where are we? Baseline metrics.

  • Where do we want to go? Ambitions and targets.

  • How are we going to get there? Roadmaps, methodologies and tools.

  • Do we know that we have arrived? Continuous improvement and continual monitoring.

More:

ABB: How ABB freed up working capital by paying on time and kept its system migration on track.

Larry Dignan mugshot 2022
Larry Dignan
Editor in Chief

Larry Dignan is Celonis Media’s Editor-in-Chief. He is the former Editor in Chief of ZDNet and has covered the technology industry and transformation trends for more than two decades, publishing articles in WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine.

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