Companies need systems for environmental tracking, reveals new survey
According to an independent study  conducted for IFS in the USA, Scandinavia and Benelux, although green measurement is considered important, businesses on both sides of the Atlantic lack the correct systems to track their full environmental footprints.
As environmental regulation advances in both Europe and the United States, businesses are facing increasing pressure from regulators, customers and investors to document and reduce their environmental impact. According to IFS, research data suggest that organizations need to make wholesale changes to their business technology to keep up with these rapidly advancing mandates.
The study, based on surveys of industrial executives in each region, discovered that over three quarters of companies consider it important to track their environmental profile—including 83 percent in the USA, 82 percent Scandinavia and 79 percent in Benelux. However, nearly three quarters of European respondents (74 percent in Scandinavia, 75 percent in Benelux) admitted to not having the sufficient software technology in place to track their environmental footprint using enterprise software like enterprise resources planning (ERP). The US fared slightly better, with 47 percent saying they lacked the enterprise software in place for environmental tracking, with an additional 42 percent claiming limited capabilities for tracking environmental impacts.
Respondents answered differently when asked what the most important reasons are for green IT initiatives. The marketing value of green initiatives was cited as the most pressing reason to implement enterprise software capable of managing environmental impacts and was rated as most important by 35 percent of Scandinavians, outstripping legislation compliance (22 percent) and cost cutting (19 percent). In contrast, the Benelux and US executives surveyed believed that environmental compliance was more a important benefit (36 percent in the USA, 34 percent in Benelux) than marketing and cost reduction benefits.
Over half of all the US and European organizations questioned wanted embedded environmental tracking to be included in their existing ERP solutions. However, although interest is high, many could not name ERP vendors that included this specific functionality.
“The results of this independent research show that green measurement has re-entered the boardroom as a business priority in both Europe and the US,” IFS CEO Alastair Sorbie said. “Equally, it highlights that despite the perceived importance of tracking and lowering environmental footprints, organizations remain unable to obtain the necessary information from their core business systems to make this possible. In fact, they remain largely unaware of how enterprise applications, already sitting at the heart of their businesses, can support them in this way.
“Environmental issues are becoming increasingly important, not only for customers, but also for the capital market looking to invest in more ethical and sustainable organizations. IFS remains committed to supporting its customers with fully-integrated, environmental footprinting applications that help them comply with regulations, manage board-level risk, reduce environmental impact, and lower costs.
The IFS Eco-footprint Management tool, an integrated component of the IFS Applications suite of applications, provides organizations unprecedented control and transparency of the environmental impact of their operations. The tool offers customers an enterprise-standard methodology to help them control costs and meet an urgent need to prepare for compliance with environmental legislation and green supply chain mandates from customers.
(1) IDC surveyed 300 executives in Scandinavia, RBInteractive Research surveyed 260 manufacturing executives in the USA, Heliview Research surveyed 144 executives in Benelux
IFS is a public company (OMX STO: IFS) founded in 1983 that develops, supplies, and implements IFS Applications™, a component-based extended ERP suite built on SOA technology. IFS focuses on agile businesses where any of four core processes are strategic: Service & asset management, manufacturing, supply chain and projects. The company has 2,000 customers and is present in more than 50 countries with 2,700 employees in total. Net revenue in 2009 was SKr 2.6 billion.