Skip to Content

Sustainability Management and Policies

Putting Sustainability at the Heart of Our Strategy

At SAP, we strive to promote sustainability in everything we do. We believe that it is not enough to simply have a sustainability strategy but that, instead, our overall corporate strategy must itself be sustainable. Only by achieving this can we fulfill our vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.

To address this, we have integrated sustainability management efforts across our entire business.

Led by our chief sustainability officer, a dedicated team responsible for our sustainability performance works to embed sustainability into our corporate strategy and promotes new sustainability initiatives across the organization. Our chief financial officer (CFO) is the sponsor for sustainability on the Executive Board and we also have a dedicated sustainability contact for each area of the business. These contacts are responsible for embedding sustainability in their business practices, for example, by setting relevant targets and implementing related programs. They are held accountable for their achievements in review meetings with the CFO and the chief sustainability officer that take place twice a year.

Managing Our Response to Our Material and Other Reported Aspects

SAP has dedicated personnel addressing the material aspects identified in our materiality analysis with staff remuneration linked to each aspect. For each topic, we look at ways that we can manage our response, and how we can evaluate whether our approach is effective.

Business Conduct

For information about our management approach, see the Business Conduct section.

Climate and Energy

Our global environmental policy promotes a more productive use of resources by providing transparency in environmental issues, driving efficiency, and leveraging transformational strategies. It also outlines our environmental goals that are described in the Energy and Emissions section.

Our chief sustainability officer and their dedicated sustainability organization coordinate our response to climate change. Facilities management staff design and operate our facilities based on robust environmental standards. In addition, our IT operations personnel are continuously looking at issues around the working environment and the amount of energy consumed in our data centers. We assess our environmental performance in quarterly management reviews.

This year, we continued to roll out our global environmental management system based on the ISO 14001 standard. We plan that the system will cover operations affecting about 70% of employees globally by 2018. At the end of 2016, 46 sites in 26 countries (49% of employees) have implemented ISO 14001.

Financial Performance

The Executive Board retains ultimate responsibility for revenue growth, profitability, and the financial stability of SAP. For more information, see the Corporate Governance Report section and the Report by the Supervisory Board section.

Human and Digital Rights

For information about our management approach, see the Security and Privacy section and the Human Rights section.

Human Capital

Overall global responsibility for our human resources strategy lies with our chief human resources officer who is a member of the Executive Board.

Our key policies include a global health and safety management policy and a diversity and inclusion policy. The global health and safety management policy is an integral part of our long-term commitment to sustainability. It provides a framework that supports business processes, leadership behavior, and culture by addressing, integrating, and leveraging health, occupational safety, well-being, and stress management topics. The objective is to nurture our employees’ long-term employability, engagement, and creativity in developing sustainable value for our organization, for our customers, and for themselves.

The diversity and inclusion policy provides a framework for diversity and inclusion at SAP. As such, it supports our business goals and our “how we run” philosophy by helping employees flourish in an inclusive and authentic working environment.

For more information about our management approach, see the Employees and Social Investment section.

Impact on Society

This aspect covers two key areas. The first is the contribution we make towards the fulfilment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through our software solutions and our social investments. The second is our efforts to make the world a better place through our corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

Our contribution to the SDGs is coordinated by our corporate strategy, sustainability, and marketing professionals and teams. We have started to map our existing engagement with customers to the SDGs in the How Our Vision Comes to Life brochure.

Our global CSR policy offers all SAP employees the opportunity to volunteer for up to eight working hours at a CSR event. In 2016, our goal was to impact 1.5 million lives through our global CSR programs. We set a target of 250,000 volunteering hours, with 40% based on skills and professional expertise. We overachieved these targets with almost 339,000 volunteering hours (thereof 57% skills-based) and about 3.2 million lives impacted.

There is a global governance committee that guides the strategic direction of our overall CSR strategy. In addition, every SAP region has a CSR governance committee that approves all major CSR partnerships, as well as advising the regional CSR leadership. On a group level, we ensure that donations are made in an appropriate manner through financial and compliance control processes. Led by our head of global CSR, our global CSR team is part of the Office of the CEO and corporate affairs organization. To ensure meaningful and relevant execution of our companywide CSR strategy, we appoint a regional CSR lead for each of our six major SAP market units.

All of our major CSR programs are monitored for social impact. For example, in our global SAP Social Sabbatical program, we survey the non-profit organization or social business involved to determine whether our team has met the agreed deliverables. To capture long-term impact, the evaluation is also repeated six months after our team’s departure. As with every volunteering initiative, we adjust our CSR offerings according to the feedback we receive. For more information, see the Engaging in Social Investments section.

Innovation and Customer Loyalty

Our Customer Experience Council regularly reviews and prioritizes our activities related to driving improvements in customer experience. For more information about our customer loyalty goals, see the Customers section.

As innovation happens everywhere at SAP, each Executive Board member is responsible for innovation in their area. For example, our Executive Board member responsible for products and innovation oversees our software innovation efforts. We have a team of development and solution management professionals who create SAP solutions specifically for sustainability. In addition, another team of experts designs and integrates sustainability into new or existing industry or line-of-business (LoB) solutions. For more information about our latest innovations, see the Products, Research & Development, and Services section.

Changing Our Behavior and Culture

In our efforts to become a more sustainable organization, SAP is focusing on two key areas: our processes and our people. To achieve our goals, we need to challenge behavior and find new ways of thinking.

The engagement of our employees is essential, as their ideas and commitment help drive change throughout SAP. SAP runs a number of programs to help employees understand how sustainability is connected to our vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.

In 2016, we encouraged open dialog through coffee corner sessions, virtual all-hands meetings, and social media. During these sessions, employees also heard about specific customer impact stories and role models within the SAP organization. In addition, SAP now includes sustainability in its onboarding training for new hires as well as management training.

We also keep our employees updated on global trends such as the ratification of the SDGs in 2016. Employees can explore how SAP contributes to the SDGs through our customers and our own operations through the new interactive Web book SAP and the UN Global Goals and a related iPad app, as well as the online course “Sustainability Through Digital Transformation.”

Focusing on Transparency and Building Awareness

Change starts with transparency and awareness. Since 2016, our Executive and Supervisory Boards have access to our own SAP Digital Boardroom solution. It provides access to key financial and non-financial data, including human capital indicators, that gives a holistic and detailed overview of our performance.

In addition, every employee can access a dashboard detailing our environmental and social performance. For example, data on employee retention and women in management helps create transparency on the social performance of our company. The My SAP Footprint app also provides employees with statistics about their personal impact through activities such as driving a company car or using electronic equipment.

We measure the success of our initiatives through our annual People Survey. In 2016, 92% of our employees agreed with the statement “It is important for SAP to pursue sustainability” compared to 90% in 2015 and 77% in 2009. Furthermore, 82% of our employees stated, “I actively contribute to sustainability goals at SAP.” This is up from 80% in 2015 and 46% in 2009.

Nurturing a Network of Sustainability Champions

While sustainability requires strong leadership, it cannot be mandated from the top. To help drive progress with sustainability initiatives, we need the support of employees in every part of SAP.

To address this, we have a global internal network of more than 100 sustainability champions who represent different regions and lines of business at SAP. They dedicate 10% of their work time to promoting sustainability. Not only do they act as role models, but they also tailor sustainability to local and LoB needs and interests as well as share best practices.

Back to top