Green Economy, Green Growth, Green Sustainability, Green Deal – everything revolves around the conscious and sustainable use of resources. But what is it all about, and how do these demands play out in companies? Because one thing is clear, a simple coat of paint is not enough, the foundation has to match.

Climate protection, sustainability, careful use of resources, these are no longer buzzwords of activists, but burning issues of a social debate, having been taken up by both politics and business with high sensitivity. The EU has been tackling this issue since 2019 and is planning major changes, a generational task and a growth strategy that will sustainably shape the future. The talk is of Green Deal, an EU concept with the major goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The path to this goal will not be easy, because far-reaching social and economic changes are unavoidable but worthwhile for its implementation. After all, Green Deal is a growth strategy that leads to a climate-neutral, fair and prosperous society with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy.

Business has long since embraced this sensitive topic. Companies have internalized that the conscious use of energy and resources not only improves climate and environmental protection, but also helps internally to optimize costs.

Corona = Green Deal Stopper?

Corona puts the global economy in a state of shock. The complex global interconnections of companies and the resulting dangers and risks became painfully clear. After drastic slumps, the first cautious forecasts show the much anticipated upward trend and a slow approach to the familiar normality. However, the experiences of recent months have caused companies to take a closer look at their processes. The topic of sustainability, and thus also compliance with the measures anchored in the Green Deal, is an essential part of this. In this area, SMEs in particular see potential for future-oriented growth and sound competitive security, as shown by Commerzbank’s latest SME study (in German). Despite the additional challenges facing companies as a result of the pandemic, social responsibility is firmly anchored in the guidelines. The fact that the theoretical orientation is not quite so easy to put into practice becomes apparent in the study: more than 50% of the companies still have no concepts for new business areas that focus on sustainability. The reasons are understandable, as the lack of clarity regarding costs and benefits as well as the internal and external framework conditions create uncertainty and thus a cautious approach.

From the inside out

The awareness of assuming greater responsibility for the sustainable use of resources is firmly anchored in companies. Partly driven by external factors, it is nevertheless an internal challenge to adapt existing corporate processes accordingly. One method for ensuring transparency across the entire process landscape while taking into account the requirements of economic efficiency and sustainability is Green Business Process Management (Green BPM). This modern methodology is based on established, classic process management, supplemented by creative concepts that take ecological and economic aspects into account. This harmonious interaction encompasses the entire process from product development to individual sub-processes of the circular economy, thus ensuring transparency in all areas. Intelligent monitoring allows potentials to be visualized by means of KPIs, which are then optimized in a reengineering of the business processes. This entire approach is supplemented by the ecological dimension, which includes a variety of factors such as water and energy consumption, emissions or waste volumes. In order to comply with the goal of sustainability, the comprehensive goals and strategies need to be anchored in the entire corporate architecture. Strategic and organizational adjustments and a permanent optimization of processes are an elementary part of this, so that changes in the framework conditions can be addressed in the long term.

Green BPM is therefore much more than just process management; it is a tool for innovation management that unites the opposing poles of ecology, business and social issues in a harmonious and intelligent concept. The ambitious anchoring in the enterprise architecture delivers continuous processes while taking strategy, organization, operative business and technical implementation into account.

Author: Sabine Rudolf