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Join this free online course to learn about the advantages of an inclusive circular economy. Discover how a circular economy can help us tackle the impact the linear economy is having on the planet, people, and modern businesses.

The course Helping Business Thrive in a Circular Economy has moved and is now available on the SAP Learning site. The openSAP platform will be discontinued at the end of July 2024.

Self-paced since December 2, 2021
Language: English
Subtitles (auto-generated): Deutsch, English, Français, Español

Course information

Course Summary

The traditional approach to economic growth granted many parts of the world access to goods and services, which would have been unimaginable just a few centuries ago. However, this has come at a significant environmental and social cost, which could ultimately affect the habitability of our planet. It is therefore crucial to find a solution to this problem, breaking the link between resource use and consumption. The circular economy could be the best way to achieve this goal, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for business.

In this course you’ll learn about the impact the linear economy is having on people, the planet, and modern businesses, and how a circular economy can tackle these issues. You’ll discover how circular business practices create value, how technology enables a circular economy, and ultimately how SAP technology can enable systemic change.

We’re all beginners on this journey and this course probably won’t answer all questions. Rather, it is designed to provide inspiration and a space to explore the challenges you might face in implementing circular business practices. You can apply what you learned to a case study to help you understand how you can use digital technologies to make your own business more circular. You can work on the case study in a virtual team with other learners, where you can make contact with like-minded people and exchange perspectives.

Here is what some participants are saying about the course:

“This course was EXCELLENT - so well worth the time. I learned a ton … I've already recommended it to so many colleagues.” Read the original post

“Great course, inspiring speakers, great concept - my favorite course so far!” Read the original post

“I liked the suggestions of what businesses need to consider and what they could do to adopt circular economy principles.” Read the original post

“Brilliant array of speakers with their innovative solutions on how they are embracing or enabling circular economy in various possible ways!” Read the original post

“By using the examples and hearing about these from the different partners gave another angle of how SAP enables a lot of different businesses.” Read the original post

“I liked that the course addressed many different aspects … from introduction to the concept, to … customers awareness … consumption pattern .., changes in the sustainable investment landscape, to the latest technologies, circular economy models, etc etc. etc.” Read the original post

Course Characteristics

  • Starting from: October 4, 2021, 09:00 UTC. (What does this mean?)
  • Duration: 5 weeks with video lectures (3-4 hours per week) plus 3 weeks if you participate in the optional teamwork throughout the course
  • Assessment: weekly assignments, final exam, (optional) peer-graded teamwork activities
  • Final exam: November 10, 2021, 9:00 UTC - November 18, 2021, 9:00 UTC
  • Course end: December 2, 2021 (or November 18, 2021, if you don’t participate in the teamwork)
  • Course language: English
  • How is an openSAP course structured?

Course Content

Week 1: Introduction to the Circular Economy
Week 2: The Circular Butterfly
Week 3: Circular Business Models and Drivers for Change
Week 4: Technology Enablers for Circular Business Models
Week 5: SAP Solutions for the Circular Economy
Week 6: Final Exam
Week 6 - 8: Completion of teamwork activities

Target Audience

  • Anyone interested in learning how to deliver new business models for a circular economy
  • Anyone interested in creating a sustainable business
  • Specialists in design, product research and development, marketing and sales, sourcing, procurement, manufacturing, operations, supply chain, finance, and IT

Course Requirements

There are no prerequisites for participating in this course.

Further Content Experts and Guest Contributors

Mike Barry

Mike Barry

Director Mikebarryeco Limited

Stephanie Benedetto

Stephanie Benedetto

CEO & Co-Founder, Queen of Raw

Paige Cox

Paige Cox

SVP, Head of SAP Business Network, SAP

Bridget Croke

Bridget Croke

Managing Director, Closed Loop Partners

John Gagel

John Gagel

Chief Sustainability Officer, Lexmark

John Holm

John Holm

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, PYXERA Global

Peter Hopkinson

Peter Hopkinson

Professor of Circular Economy and Co-Director of the Exeter Centre for the Circular Economy at the University of Exeter

Edward Kosec

Edward Kosec

Senior Solution Advisor, SAP

Andrew Morlet

Andrew Morlet

Chief Executive Officer, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Emily Penn

Emily Penn

Ocean Advocate and Skipper, Co-Founder of eXXpedition

Jeffrey Provencal

Jeffrey Provencal

Founder and Managing Director, rePATRN

Bharani Sankar

Bharani Sankar

Partnerships Lead, Rheaply

Edward Scott

Edward Scott

Assistant Harvest Manager, Riverford

Daniel Schmid

Daniel Schmid

Chief Sustainability Officer, SAP

James Veale

James Veale

Co-founder, GreenToken by SAP

Tensie Whelan

Tensie Whelan

Professor and Director, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business

Course contents

  • Week 1:

    Introduction to the Circular Economy
  • Week 2:

    The Circular Butterfly
  • Week 3:

    Circular Business Models and Drivers for Change
  • Week 4:

    Technology Enablers for Circular Business Models
  • Week 5:

    SAP Solutions for the Circular Economy
  • I Like, I Wish:

    We Love Your Feedback … And Want More
  • Final Exam:

    Good Luck!
  • Teamwork Activities

Enroll me for this course

The course is free. Just register for an account on openSAP and take the course!
Enroll me now


Course End
Dec 02, 2021
Course Start
Oct 04, 2021


This course was rated with 4.63 stars in average from 385 votes.

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 50% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain a Confirmation of Participation by completing at least 50% of the course material.

Find out more in the certificate guidelines.

This course is offered by

Thomas Saueressig

Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, SAP Product Engineering

Thomas Saueressig is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. He leads the SAP Product Engineering board area and has global responsibility for all business software applications. This includes all functional areas from product strategy and management to product development and innovation, as well as cloud operations and support.
Follow Thomas on Twitter | LinkedIn

Darren West

Darren West is the product management lead for SAP’s Circular Economy solutions. His role is to work with customers, sales and pre-sales colleagues, partners, solutions teams, and product owners to expand existing and build new sustainability products, particularly those focused on circular economy topics such as “circular design”, “regenerative business” and “material passports”. 

Darren works on co-innovation with strategic partners such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, as well as various academic bodies and global consultancies on circular economy topics. He is currently focused on the “responsible design” topic for SAP Responsible Design and Production.

Stephen Jamieson

Stephen Jamieson is global head of Circular Economy solutions at SAP. In this role, he leads the creation and development of digital solutions to design-out waste, keep products in use, and regenerate natural systems. In this capacity he works closely with global businesses on their transformation roadmaps, helping them move from linear take-make-waste approaches to the implementation of circular systems and sustainable business processes aligned to global impact.

As founder of the SAP Plastics Challenge, Stephen has been working collaboratively with industry, NGOs, and regulatory stakeholders to develop design-led solutions aligned to SAP’s 2030 Clean Ocean Vision.

James Sullivan

Head of Global Circular Economy Program, SAP

Jim Sullivan, head of the Global Circular Economy Program at SAP, is responsible for ensuring SAP’s vision to ‘help the world run better and improve people’s lives’ empowers our customers to solve some of the world’s biggest planetary challenges via SAP’s collaborative network and technology solutions. Jim is an internationally recognized expert on policies and measures to combat climate change and is an avid backcountry skier, as well as a musician with multiple albums to his credit.

Kristen Hanel

Solution Advisor, SAP

With a background spanning engineering, sales, marketing, and strategy, Kristen Hanel has spent her career solving interesting business problems. Currently a solution advisor for SAP, she helps Fortune 500 companies navigate their way toward sustainable procurement. Kristen has a BSME from University of Kentucky, an MBA from Louisiana State University, and recently completed a Circular Economy Fellowship and Exeter University Circular Economy Masterclass.

Michael Jordan

Mike Jordan is an education portfolio manager at SAP, responsible for customer education on a range of topics including SAP’s sustainability solutions, AI/ML solutions, and data science. He is also an SAP academic ambassador which, for a number of years, has involved him teaching Masters students data science and speaking at conferences.

Mike has long been interested in the ethical use of technology and data science to support environmental and social goals, more recently through the circular economy.

Natasha Pergl

Global Director, Circular Economy at SAP

Natasha Pergl leads SAP's Circular Economy customer program to help shape the next generation of industry-standard sustainability solutions that will provide customers, NGOs, and governments with the insights and solutions needed to eliminate waste and maximise resource productivity. This is in support of SAP's 2030 Clean Ocean vision, focused on accelerating the transition to circular business models and a regenerative economy. Natasha is a member of SAP's Sustainability Council. She sailed 2000 miles as part of an all female crew to research microplastics in the South Pacific in Feb 2020.

Kathryn Rae

Global Ventures Entrepreneur, SAP

Kathryn Rae is a global ventures entrepreneur within SAP Innovation & Market Making, based in Sydney, Australia. Passionate about the potential of the circular economy, she developed SAP’s Circular Economy services methodology, combining circular business models with enabling technologies to help organizations create impact at scale. Kathryn joined SAP in 2019 as an experienced innovation leader with over 20 years of experience in consulting, product development, and innovation management.

Stephan Müller

Strategic Customer Engagement SAP S/4HANA and Sustainability, SAP

Stephan Müller is a project manager at SAP, focusing on customer and partner collaboration for Climate 21 and other sustainability solutions. Prior to this role, Stephan spent many years providing consulting services for customers all around the world and co-innovating with them on new products.
Follow Stephan on LinkedIn