How SAP's Sustainability Program Got Built

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How SAP's Sustainability Program Got Built

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Learn how @SAP's #sustainability program was built via @GreenBiz

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 11:00am


Less than three miles south of Stanford University, just below a slope crowned by Coast Live Oaks, sits the American office of the world's largest business software company. From here, Chief Sustainability Officer Peter Graf directs the sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts of SAP, which makes sustainability software used by about 1,700 customers worldwide.

He explained to GreenBiz how, after a long career in marketing, he became a sustainability expert, overseeing multiple teams that not only run internal programs at the Waldorf, Germany-based company, but also develop software for other major corporations to track everything from internal energy efficiency programs to sustainability in supply chains. SAP's software has helped customers reduce carbon emissions by 5.7 million tons, saving $550 million in energy costs.

We browsed the SAP sustainability report, and Graf demonstrated how -- thanks to the hundreds of key performance indicators (KPIs) SAP tracks -- the data can be sliced and diced in multiple ways. For instance, SAP can see what its greenhouse gas footprint looks like per employee, or by revenue, and review how much corporate cars, business travel, data centers, buildings, and other factors have contributed to that footprint each year.

"Many people ask me, is sustainability only about efficiency?" said Graf. "And the answer is no, it’s partly about efficiency, about doing things right, but it’s also transformational, about doing the right things, and that means doing things fundamentally differently from the past."

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Keywords: Environment & Climate Change | Corporate Social Responsibility | Peter Graf | SAP | sustainability | sustainability software