Dive into the world of SAP and CSR to explore current initiatives and projects, best practices, as well as upcoming challenges and opportunities for companies that care about their social and environmental impact.


SAP and CSR 

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Last December, SAP won the CSR 2021 award for its commitment, and in particular for its People To Work program. This program offers SAP training to people looking for work. The program, which has already been deployed in Germany, is now being organized in France and is enjoying growing success.

But what is CSR really and how has SAP become a role model company in this field? These are the questions we will answer in this article.  

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

In recent years, the concept of CSR has become central to all companies.

But contrary to what one might think, this concept is not so new. Although it was first used in the early 1960s, forms of CSR can be found as early as the 18th century.

Indeed, some consider actions such as the boycott of the English on the sugar cane of the Caribbean whose production was made possible thanks to the slaves.   

This allows us to raise a first erroneous belief related to the subject: CSR is not only about the environment and ecology. These last two central themes are part of CSR in the same way as social, economic, and ethical issues. Thus, CSR will include all decisions and actions around three areas: social, economic, and environmental 

CSR and Environment

The environment is nowadays the most talked about the pillar of the problems of global warming. More than the environment, it is the termsustainable developmentthat is mostly used. It is defined as a development that satisfies current needs without jeopardizing the needs of future generations.   

“Tomorrow, we may be able to live without Google but not without water”

The question to ask for this pillar iswhat impact do my company’s activities have on the environment and how can I reduce them?” This will involve actions such as recycling, and banning the use of overly toxic products

CSR and Economy  

Every company has an economic responsibility to society since it generates wealth in the field in which it acts: employment, taxes, and innovations… All this is translated into value.  

The question we must ask ourselves is: “What is the value of my company?”   

CSR and Social

A company is a socially legitimate institution: it responds to a demand by offering products or services. It, therefore, participates in society by sharing values, and norms of behavior and therefore has a very important influence.   

The question that must be asked is: “Do all the people connected with the company (employees, partners…) have good conditions of work ? 

Currently, the ISO 26000 standard governs all the principles of CSR, including   

  • The responsibility to report   
  • Transparency
  • Ethical behavior
  • Respect for the interests of stakeholders
  • Respect for the principle of secularism
  • Respect for international standards of behavior
  • Respect for human rights   

What is the Difference between CSR and Sustainable Development?

The difference comes from the sphere in which the decisions are applied. While sustainable development concerns the whole of society, CSR is exclusively aimed at companies, as its name indicates. In CSR, the objectives of sustainable development (based on the pillars we have seen above) will be applied to the professional world.

It should be noted that the United Nations has put forward numerous sustainable development objectives (eradication of poverty, gender equality, and fight against climate change…) which can also be a basis for CSR.

We will conclude on this subject by pointing out that the term CSR, referring to organizations in general, is sometimes used so as not to limit the notion to companies alone.  

CSR: what Choice do Companies have?

Not all companies are active in the same way and have a unique way of integrating CSR into their policy. Nevertheless, it is possible to distinguish certain trends to classify companies :

The criminal company: these are companies that ignore the requirements and remain stuck on an archaic vision of things. CSR is a real constraint for them.

The compliant company: it respects the rules but does not have a proactive or anticipatory attitude. CSR is seen as a constraint that must be integrated.

The proactive company: it uses CSR as a differentiating factor and does not hesitate to innovate. Moreover, these innovations may become standards if they work. This is called regulatory capture

The eco-enterprise: it is built around the principles of development and makes all its decisions around that.

Even if this tends to evolve towards more anticipation, most companies are now compliant. 

SAP Innovates for a Better CSR

In addition to its commitment to society with the People to Work program, SAP has been working for years to protect the environment:   

Objective zero waste through the circular economy

 The principle of this economy is the thoughtful use and reuse of waste or unused products. Thus, with numerous partnerships, SAP has notably committed itself at the last Davos Forum to act for a cleaner ocean

Some figures: 80% reduction in paper use / 36% reduction in plastic consumption.

Zero emissions goal

SAP’s commitment to Co2 emissions is broken down into several steps. In 2017, it became the first German company with Co2 emission reduction targets based on a scientific goal.

Next year, it should achieve carbon neutrality in its operations before aiming for NetZero in 2030, 20 years ahead of the original target

A figure: -55% of kt of Co2 emissions in 2020

Actions around the world: the transformation of its vehicle fleet. All company vehicles will be “Co2 Emission Free” by 2025. In addition, the German company wants to replant more than 20 million trees around the world within 3 years.

Zero inequality

We talk here about everything related to respect for human rights and a focus on inclusiveness at all levels.

In addition to the People to Work program, SAP follows an Ethical Business Code that follows the highest standards in terms of ethics and respect.

Some figures: 34% of employees are women compared to an average of 20% in other IT companies. 87, the score out of 100 for diversity (average of all SAP employee scores in 2021)   

Actions around the world: the autism at work” program that accompanies people with autism from the hiring process onwards, some 15 interest and/or cultural groups to promote inclusion (Latinos@SAP, Business Women’s Network, Pride@SAP…) 


Objective "Governance focused on CSR"

We are talking about ESG, i.e. environmental, social, and governance criteria. It is about integrating the pillars of CSR into the different decisions. This makes it possible to carry out an extra-financial analysis of the company.

SAP is therefore a committed company that wants to set an example.

All of its various projects systematically respect three conditions :

  • The creation of a positive social impact with sustainable projects that bring real benefits  
  • A social issue that allows them to put forward their soft skills and hard skills
  • A partnership with a group or an association 

But beyond all these actions, SAP allows all its customers to be an actor in a more ecological and responsible world. Indeed, its different products can help your company to be a pioneer in CSR. 

Acts as a responsible company thanks to SAP innovations

SAP offers many innovations that integrate with S4/HANA. Here is a selection of the best ones

SAP Product Footprint Management

Released in 2020, this solution allows companies to optimize the carbon footprint of their products and all their activities. To do this, it will extract data from several systems including SAP S4/HANA before compiling them within SAP Analytics Cloud.

There are four steps : 

  • Data acquisition and import. The aim is to calculate the carbon footprint for each activity, product, or service
  • Calculation of the carbon footprint 
  • Analytics phase. Numerous tables and graphs give you a precise vision of the carbon footprint of your company, department by department, etc
  • Integration of the results in S4/HANA to have a proactive action and to be able to compare year after year and to set objectives to reach.

SAP Responsible Design and Production

Co-developed with Accenture, this software is a must-have in a circular economy objective.

Deployed on the Cloud and connected in real-time with S4/HANA, it offers the calculation and analysis of the flow of different materials from their consumption within the company to the various changes in regulations.

Today, the issues at stake mainly revolve around plastics. Here again, the aim is to extract data such as delivery documents or packaging data before compiling them in SAP Analytic Cloud and analyzing them.

Every year, more than two billion tons of waste are created and less than half of it is recycled, thus increasing CO2 emissions with all the consequences we know (destruction of fauna and flora, rising water levels…).

But for some time, the notion of EPR has appeared in the professional and industrial world. This is an acronym for Extended Producer Responsibility, which means that everyone is responsible for their waste.

As a result, many taxes have been put in place. The increase in the number of taxes as well as the constantly changing regulations make it more and more difficult to track and report waste data 

SAP RDP a pour vocation de faciliter ce processus en entreprise pour devenir une entreprise proactive et responsable. 

Du choix des matières premières pour des produits plus durables au recyclage du plus grand nombre de déchets, cette solution accompagne votre entreprise tout au long de ce changement de cap. 

SAP EHS Environment Management

The SAP EHS (Environment, Health, and Management) solution is more global and provides information on waste as well as on health and safety incidents and chemical management.

Initially, it was developed by Technidata and enables compliance with all current regulations.

It has five main functionalities

  • Product safety, including a classification of all dangerous materials   
  • Hazardous materials management, which provides all the information related to the transport of certain substances or materials 
  • Protection of people with the identification and monitoring of accidents and other risks of exposure to which employees may be exposed
  • Waste management, from management to disposal
Economie environnement et société au centre de la RSE

More traditional tools that respect the three pillars of CSR: SAP Success factors and S4/HANA

In our articles dedicated to S4/HANA, and SAP HANA, we spoke at length about the in-memory revolution. The latter requires less storage space and, above all, less maintenance, which logically reduces the pollution footprint of all your data.

In a more general way, SAP makes a point of ensuring that all its solutions help to meet a certain number of social, environmental, or economic objectives.

This is the case, for example, with SAP Success Factors, the human resources solution

For example, a diversity functionality is proposed to highlight the organizational structure according to age, gender, and ethnicity … 

It is thus very easy to study the evolution of each person in the company and to act positively in the inclusion and diversity of human capital.

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