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Sustainability & CSR

273 Posts


The environment.


Gun violence.


Issues of race and socioeconomics.


The future of personalized medicine.


Food safety.


Diversity in technology.


The 1200-strong women (and some men) at the second annual Lesbians Who Tech Summit (see my notes from last year's inaugural Summit) yesterday in San Francisco were unafraid to focus on the world's top problems.


lwt.jpgThe historic Castro Theatre was literally teeming with content on how we can use technology to solve these tough issues with sessions titles including:

  • How Badass Women Are Solving Tech’s Diversity Problem
  • Can Technology Solve Gun Violence?
  • Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing and the Future of Personalized Medicine
  • Breaking the Bro Code
  • How Technology Can Strengthen the Lives of LGBT People in Rural America
  • How Teaching Transgender Women Tech Skills is Saving Lives

… and much much more.


Two of the top keynotes not only helped to underscore these issues, but to remind us that -- as technologists -- and as wildly diverse humans -- the solutions are in our hands.


CTO of the USA and out lesbian Megan Smith joined Lesbians Who Tech founder Leanne Pittsford on stage to be awarded for her continued focus on helping America innovate with technology.  In her talk she shouted out to other government innovators such as Code for America's Jen Pahlka, and Hillary Hartley, Deputy Executive Director and Co-founder of 18F, who gave us a lesson on how healthcare.gov's challenges have turned into opportunities for progress.


In line the day's talks from other amazing people, Smith was highlighted as saying her top job is to "get out of the way" and let all these people with strong solutions and contributions just get the job done.


Salesforce chief Marc Benioff all but emplored us to do the same.  In conversation with Kara Swisher, he reminded us we live in a nirvana, and we're starting to remember to give back. "We have a history of stinginess, but companies have had a revelation. You can build more than just technology."


Asked what is the biggest thing technology should take on, he answered "One single thing technology should take on is the environment." Swisher and Benioff also tackled diversity in tech. "It's a crisis of prioritization," said Benioff. "It's more than just women 'leaning in.' Get back to the leaders and say 'you have to do this. You have to raise women up.'"


10868203_10152803868177545_2621870576507196273_n.jpgFor all the hard problems we still have to tackle, yesterday it seemed odd indeed to think that the diversity issue somehow continues to confound the tech industry. At an event like Lesbians Who Tech, surrounded by rampant diversity across every vector you can dream of, the solution quite literally is staring in our faces.


And – drumroll -- here it is: Said Allya Rahman of Code for Progress:

"One of the best ways to hire women and people of color is to just hire them."


Want to take it up another notch and hire the world's top innovators? Think of those you might be missing when you see only those who raise their hands for the job.  Look beyond your fringes to "hire those who have to innovate every day just to survive," in a nod to how trans people and people of color matter.


Entrepreneur pitch winner Stephanie Lampkin even had a tool at-the-ready in the form of a mobile job-matching app called Blendoor: "Diversity on Purpose."  It's about time.



So now you know. It’s in our hands. What are we waiting for?



Jorge Gonzales Jimenez has good reasons to smile again: Attending a SAP-training program landed him to a new job. And he is in good company; 78% of his fellow students who participated in SAP’s education initiative in Spain have also found new positions.


The situation in Spain is dramatic: Its 52% youth unemployment rate is the highest in the European Community. At the same time, companies in Spain desperately need skilled candidates for technology jobs.


Committed to equipping the world’s youth with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century workforce, SAP’s CSR team – as well as dozens of committed employee volunteers –decided to confront this gap head-on. In June 2012, an education program was launched in partnership with Fundacion Tomillo.  It provides high quality technological training to young or long-term unemployed people – exactly the populations who have fewer possibilities to improve their employability. Since then, SAP volunteers and professional teachers have taught SAP ERP core business areas such as Finance and Controlling, as well as Sales, HCM, and Logistics. More than 300 skilled volunteer hours have been provided to 60 students so far.


Check out the following video to find more details about this initiative.


The commitment of SAP volunteers has been impressive and spanned the business – Training, Field Services, Active Global Support, Sustainability, CSR, Sales and Presales, and HR. Some of them have participated as instructors, while others helped with project coordination, program design and materials development to use during the course.


Core elements of the program have led to its extremely high success rates:

  • Courses led by professional teachers and SAP volunteers: The program has evolved from a pure volunteer program to a mixed initiative.
  • Strong focus on social skills in addition to SAP knowledge.
  • Follow up with successful job placements, measuring how social skills training helped the participant’s successfully apply for a new job

The program will continue in 2015 and while the team continues to make improvements to the initiative - the goal remains the same:  Improve on the great employment rate success to date, and help the training participants to re-join the labor market. These goals are great motivation for the entire team: Fundacion Tomillo, program participants and SAP employees!

Every now and then we run into a story like this, and we want to share it with others. Here is mine for today.


I had the chance to get introduced to Jonathan Tager (CEO of EPI-USE) yesterday. EPI-USE is close to 1000 people strong employee-owned SAP service partner operating in more than 13 countries.

Jonathan was born in South Africa, and took on the challenge to do something against the tragedy of Africa's illegal ivory trade through his companies ERP knowledge.



If you do not know whats going on currently in Southern Africa and why poaching peaked again fueled by Asia's ivory appetite, scroll down on their website. Africa is currently losing around 4 elephants per hour and 3 rhinos a day. Experts warn that if the rate of poaching continues, elephants could be wiped out in less than 100 years. Rhinos, on this planet since 60 million years already, are already critically endangered and disappeared already from a number of countries, with the strongest population remaining in South Africa.


Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 7.50.35 PM.png

                                                       Picture 1: www.groupelephant.com


The approach of EPI-USE is rather unique. Rather than donating to charities, they take out a portion of the profits of their for-profit SAP business, and spread those profits across institutionalized not-for-profit capabilities focused on preservation and protection, and impact investment with companies focused on ecotourism asset management and wildlife-related property developments. The objective --> 'Beyond Corporate Purpose' !!


Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 7.50.47 PM.png

Picture 2: EPI-USE's unconventional approach to philanthropic activity


After I talked to Jonathan on the phone, a few minutes later he shared the following story with me that came to his inbox from his network partners: (and I hope he is ok that I share it here somewhat anonymized):


Dear Johnathan


A frustrated mother elephant with a 10 month old calf , on Nkomazi Nature Reserve, was seemingly irritated when a tourist car with guide went to close to them and the mother overturned the car. No injuries to people of concern fortunately. The reserve management decided to shoot the mother and calf. It has been postponed and I plan to forward the following letter below to the XXX newspaper as their environmental reporter XXX reported the issue first over the weekend.

Do you feel I should proceed and send the letter below ?

Kind regards, XXX

Today (one day later) he shared this email with me from the same network partner:

Dear Jonathan and XXXXX,
Thank you for your shared concern for these animals. I have been informed
after the contact with the newspaper that they are very concerned about
negative publicity, decided not to kill the elephants and even moving them
would also give them the kind of exposure that are not overly keen about. I
plan to get in motion our original recommendations by discussing such with
them, which should lead to enlargement of the area where they are in now.
Their argument for keeping them on the smaller area of 5500ha was that the
tourist can then see them easier. Maybe good for tourists but not good for
the elephants.

Kind regards

2 elephants saved - and it gives you some insight how they work. I have the greatest respect for these folks, they are heroes.

The bad news - at least 4 more elephants died by the time I have finished and uploaded this blog post.

One week of the SAP Social Sabbatical is already over. 12 employees from 10 different countries are joining the SAP Social Sabbatical and build the Team Bogaz Delights.

This blog post should reflect on the first week within the subteam "Habitat".


Why do you participate in a SAP Social Sabbatical?


The SAP Social Sabbatical is a program of SAP CSR team (Corporate Social Responsibility) with the objective to support emerging countries in the area education and entrepreneurship. It gave me the unique opportunity to make a difference in the life of other people all over the world and in the same time develop my personal intercultural leadership skills when working in diverse teams.


What is your project about?

Foto 3.JPG

During my SAP Social Sabbatical in Istanbul, I am working for the non-profit-organization “Habitat Center for Development and Governance” which is an independent organization counting with 18 employees (http://habitatkalkinma.org/). They work closely with UNDP on youth related matters, with a focus on education and policy development. Habitat’s volunteer network is very strong and composed of youth councils, university clubs and local youth NGOs throughout Turkey. The volunteers were included in their strategy from the start.


Its main objectives are to:

  • Increase the power of young people for decision making and problem solving
  • Foster youth participation in all relevant areas for their lives


Our whole SAP Social Sabbatical teams consists of 12 team members, however in the Habitat team, I am working with:

  • Ana Paula Ebeling (Brasil)
  • Krishna Anantharajan (India)
  • Me, Sandra Steiger (Germany)


How can you change the world during the SAP Social Sabbatical?

Foto 2.JPG

Habitat is a 20 years old organization which has to react on changing political and social changes within the country. In the last years, Habitat was strongly project oriented helping with youth participation and knowledge transfer in the focus areas IT, finance and entrepreneurship. As a reaction to the changing world, we should help Habitat defining a long-term strategy for the next years to become more sustainable in the future. Now, at the end of the first week, we have already achieved a lot: After speaking to many different stakeholders and partners of Habitat, we could finally understand the organizations business model, and create a “Customer Information Sheet” which contains all the gathered information. This document is useful for Habitat as it structures the organization from an outside view to better understand the working model.


What was your best experience during the SAP Social Sabbatical?


My best experience was a trip to Bursa together with Habitat where we could attend a meeting with all stakeholders of the National Youth Parliament. Bazak, an employee of Habitat took us all the way with her private car to Bursa and we could stay with all the stakeholders for 2 days to understand Habitat’s work. I am very impressed by the hospitality, freakness and friendliness of the Turkish people. Not only at the customer site, even on the street, where people do not speak any English world, they are willing to help you finding the right direction to your hotel or answering other questions. The same for the staff of your hotel: We are living in a small hotel with only 13 rooms (so the hotel is only for us). The hotel staff is always available; bring you tee or even fruits or sweets when working a day in the hotel.


What was the biggest challenge during the SAP Social Sabbatical?

Foto 1.JPG

12 people from 10 countries is a cultural experience: This diversity I have never experienced before. Somehow, people have a similar way of thinking, working and habits as they are all employees of SAP, but with little things you encounter differences every day:


  • Brasilians lift their hands when a bus is arriving
  • Australians don’t know shoehorns
  • Indians like seeing elephants
  • African people get very excited when they see snow


However, not only those little things, also the way of working in a group is different. I have experienced myself as a German as time-conscious and structured whereas others focus on interpersonal relationships or respect. Now, after one week, we did a very good job so far in working as a team, but I am sure, I will experience some other cultural surprise in the next 3 weeks .

Corinna Machmeier

Ideas with Impact

Posted by Corinna Machmeier Feb 13, 2015

To foster entrepreneurship among young talents, SAP and the nonprofit Net Impact are holding innovation events around the globe.


“To make an impact, you don’t have to start big, just start”, a young woman points out during the Mannheim Impactathon. SAP is partnering with Net Impact, a community of more than 60,000 students and young professionals worldwide who are committed to integrating social and environmental impact into the workforce. Aligned to the company’s goal of making the world run better and improve people’s lives, SAP is organizing local innovation events called Impactathons where young people can learn what it takes to convert entrepreneurial ideas into action.



At the seventh event in the series, about 60 students from nearly 15 universities gathered on February 5th at the University of Mannheim, Germany. Ten SAP employees were invited to join either as team members sharing their experiences or as Design Thinking coaches. Three experts from social start-ups perfected the chemistry. 


How can SAP better support young people to pursue entrepreneurship that improves their lives and the rest of the world?


The challenge given to the participants was quite general: How can SAP better support young people to pursue entrepreneurship that improves their lives and the rest of the world? It’s not surprising that the agenda is as unorthodox as it is simple. Students and SAP employees are assigned to small groups where they have the chance to elaborate their ideas. The concept is based on a combination of Design Thinking and Rapid Prototyping. Brainstorming sessions take turns with a “marshmallow challenge” and “energizer breaks.” Finally, the teams pitch their most creative solutions to a panel of four judges consisting of the local Impactathon experts and Alexandra van der Ploeg from SAP Corporate Social Responsibility.


     Marshmallow Challenge



“For SAP”, Alexandra van der Ploeg says, “the benefit is to showcase its commitment to improve people’s lives both to our employees and to the next generation of talents such as university students.” SAP also brings local CSR partners to the table who act as experts, sharing their knowledge and input with the teams.



Entrepreneurship is a big word, not only in today’s business context. The next generation workforce, the so-called millennials, is striving for more than just a job. The ambition of making a positive impact on the world often applies to their private lives as well as to their job ambitions.



“We are glad to work with SAP because of its honest commitment to improve people’s lives.”


Stepping up for social causes, be it private or business, has of course another personal benefit. When asked what they took away from the day-long Impactathon, their response was singular: inspiration – both for the big picture and for their career paths. “We are glad to work with SAP because of its honest commitment to improve people’s lives,” affirms Lily Mathews, Partner Programs Manager, Net Impact.


At the end of the day, the jury in Mannheim was most impressed by the idea of building a computer game for kids to “play social engagement,” a form of gamification of a serious topic.


The Impactathon series started in 2014 and hits 12 cities around the globe. After Mannheim and Berlin in Germany, the final stops are Barcelona, Vancouver, Shanghai and Porto Alegre. The winning team among the 12 events will be invited to the annual conference of Net Impact in Seattle.


Earlier this week, the (RED) organization, founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage iconic consumer brands in the fight against HIV/AIDS, rallied their corporate partners at The Standard Hotel here in New York City for their annual Partner Summit. You may remember one of (RED)’s initial partnerships with the GAP and those charming t-shirts they designed adorned with words like “INSPI(RED)” and “DESI(RED),” but did you know that SAP has been supporting (RED) and The Global Fund since 2012?

I had the pleasure of attending Monday’s Summit on behalf of SAP’s Global CSR team, and listened on as the (RED) team reviewed highlights from 2014 and shared their strategy for 2015 and beyond. Guests in the room included companies like Snapchat, VICE, Coca-Cola, Belvedere, and Chipotle so you may be asking yourself how SAP, a decidedly non-consumer brand, works with this remarkable organization.

SAP’s relationship with The Global Fund and (RED) began 4 years ago and has included financial support as well as operational support in the form of innovative technology solutions. In 2013 SAP co-founded The Global Fund’s Innovation Coalition, which works to develop a blueprint for private sector companies to engage with the organization and affect change with more than just philanthropic dollars raised. 2014 marked the unveiling of a grant management dashboard which provides in country grant managers with the opportunity to drill down and track performance measures such as funds distribution.

Group_Beginning_Of_End_7370 (smaller).jpg

As the day progressed and the (RED) team shared stories of success it became clear that many of their most valuable lessons learned reflect universal themes that ALL companies large and small, public and private, should consider to ensure success. They outlined a few takeaways from 2014:

  • When we all go together, we all benefit
  • How to stay relevant? Do the unexpected
  • Getting better at closing the loop is crucial, share
    impact with those who have it
  • Social is now savvy and ever-evolving

These are common refrains we hear sung at SAP over and over, as we look to simplify internally and help our customers run simple across the globe.

Of all the inspiring and impressive statistics shared during yesterday’s meeting ($300M raised to date by (RED) for The Global Fund, more than $25M raised in Q4 2014 alone, etc.), the most uplifting takeaway for me was learning that in recent years, the fight for an AIDS-free generation has finally reached a tipping point. The number of individuals newly receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS is now higher than the number of individuals newly infected with the disease each year. An incredible feat, to say the least.

The (RED) team also outlined their insights for the year ahead, and I was struck by their consideration for networks. They believe that the power of networks lies less in how MANY and more in “how STRONG.” There is a much greater focus today on the elasticity of networks and the reverberation effect that strong content can have when shared. Along those same lines, they pointed to a conjecture from Mary Meeker (dubbed “the Queen of the Internet”) that the 2015 tech world will be all about "troves of findable and shareable data." Their goal is to leverage those indicators in a smart and wise way in order to better connect with their millennial and Gen Y audiences. Sound familiar? It’s their nod to the Internet of Things.

Before CEO, Deborah Dugan, and Chief Partnerships Officer, Jennifer Lotito, closed out the Summit with a moment of thanks and celebration for the $300M (RED) has raised to date for The Global Fund, we were treated to a compelling presentation from Jeremy Heimans, the co-founder and CEO of Purpose.com.

Jeremy spoke about the dramatic shifts the world is seeing in how people perceive their own sense of power, noting that both the framework for power models and the values that drive them are radically different than they were even 5 years ago. With compelling examples like “old power is held like a currency, new power flows like a current” and “old power downloads, new power uploads” it became clear rather quickly that Jeremy was onto something significant.

What I realized as I listened to him illustrate these shifting attitudes is that SAP, even as a 43 years young enterprise application software company, is in many ways already placing a disruptive lens over the old power dynamics so prevalent in the world of technology. We do so in the very way we do business every single day.

It was a true pleasure to spend the day with the (RED) team and their partners. The enthusiasm in the room was palpable and I believe it was fueled by pride in knowing that we all have this incredible thing in common – a formidable organization whose singular goal is to help deliver the first
AIDS free generation in 30 years

In October 2014 SAP participated in the EU code week in Ireland. 30 SAP volunteers ran events by visiting schools, kids computer clubs and Coderdojo of Deansrath (ran by SAP volunteers) close to the SAP Dublin office.


Bernard Kirk, the EU code week organizer in Ireland, compiled this interesting video which highlights the importance and huge potential of coding.


The EU code week gave kids a fantastic insight into coding and an opportunity to get more involved and the Kids even involved senior citizens, magic !
Check out the footage of our future developers here.


Enjoy the video


EU Code Week Ireland 2014 - EXCITED on Vimeo


Christophe Sturzel

Students at Vancouver’s Templeton Secondary School show off wireless rovers

On January 29, SAP employees were treated to a showcase of remote controlled rovers constructed and programmed by students at SAP’s partner high school, Templeton Secondary in Vancouver.

/profile/4KJTdzm9nxDZfjSnP5L6dy/documents/e90j1G5Enx6YJFhWbcAFp6/thumbnail?max_x=700&max_y=700The students, divided into three groups learned drafting software, designed vehicles, built chassis and used a 3D printer to build custom parts, all while learning the physics to make their vehicles work and the programming to control their webcam-mounted rovers remotely.

The rovers are third in a series of projects that form the basis of the project-based learning curriculum that guides the Templeton STEM Institute, a partnership between the Vancouver School Board, BCIT and SAP./profile/4KJTdzm9nxDZfjSnP5L6dy/documents/lOyAsvn6cSBg9FWEM0Y2fh/thumbnail?max_x=700&max_y=700

In addition to support for the program, SAP also provides a one-on-one mentor for each student. Mentors work with students via an online platform to develop self-efficacy, consider career exploration and to give firsthand experience from the technology sector.

Templeton STEM is one of two inaugural programs in SAP Corporate Social Responsibility’s signature initiative to inspire students to pursue careers in the technology sector. By partnering with secondary and post-secondary institutions, SAP is working to build laddering pathways that will take students from high school, to post-secondary and right into careers in technology. Through mentorship and workplace experiences, SAP is helping to give students the education and tools to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce.

Following the showcase, mentors had the opportunity to ask the students what they felt they learned from their experience working with the rovers, and how they might apply those learnings to other courses or areas of their life.

Teamwork was a big theme for the students. Within their teams, the students further divided themselves into subgroups, with each responsible for a certain feature of the project.

Another theme we heard from students? “Simplicity is key.” We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Check out photos from the event here and media coverage here.

On Wednesday January 21, the January 2015 SAP Early Talent class volunteered at the Tyler Arboretum. Throughout the day we assisted the maintenance crew in various tasks to help prepare the grounds in many different ways. The tasks performed included, but were not limited to: preparing and painting different surfaces to restore their appearance, trimming overgrown hedges, clipping unwanted wines around the arboretum's historic trees, cleaning the outside of buildings on the grounds and shaving down old tree stumps to re purpose for decoration. We were also able to work inside of Latchford hall, a refurbished Pennsylvania bank barn that has been standing since 1972, setting up for the upcoming spring season and preparing their Magical Path items for their children's display in the park.


I thought this was a wonderful experience. We got to hear about the vast history of the Tyler Arboretum dating back to 1681 when Thomas Mishall, an English Quaker, purchased the property from William Penn. It was really fascinating to hear about the changes of the arboretum throughout the years from vacation home to today. We were all very interested in the multitude of trees around the grounds. As we were transported across the property we saw one of their five championship winning trees, a Giant Sequoia (Tree picture attached). The staff were a group of passionate individuals who you can tell really care about their jobs and work extremely hard to keep the grounds in excellent shape so that they can preserve the history of the arboretum and give back to their community during their visits. It was amazing to see what a team of a few people are able to do with hard work and dedication - especially because of the size of the land, it could create work for hundreds of people! They rely on the help of the volunteers and donations to keep the grounds in the best shape possible, and I was really grateful to be able to help them during our visit. As a class we agreed that we would like to go back as soon as possible because of how inviting and thankful the Tyler Arboretum crew were to us!



Co-written with Keith McCollaum

Holiday season is the time to reflect, and despite the world receiving another ‘wake-up’ call from the 5th IPCC report, I scribbled down some notes on my Top 10 highlights in 2014. Here it is:


1) One rare exception to the rule that the governments can’t get much done. President Obama imposed strong rules limiting climate pollution from coal plants, then traveled to Beijing where he and Chinese President Xi Jinxing pledged to curb their nations’ greenhouse gas emissions, albeit not for a while.


2) My absolute favorite quote of the year: ‘If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock’. Said by a very angry Tim Cook (CEO Apple) during an investor meeting when questioned about the companies climate change commitments. He further said: ‘When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don't consider the bloody ROI.’ He said the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader. BRAVO !


3) During climate week in New York in fall 2014, more than two dozen countries and as many companies endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests, pledging to halve deforestation by 2020 and end it by 2030. A growing number of the world’s largest buyers of soy, palm oil and cattle have committed to exclude deforestation from their supply chains. Meanwhile, Unilever says all of its palm oil will be sustainably sourced by 2015.


4) Also during climate week, companies including IKEA, Swiss Re, Mars and BT, organized by the Climate Group, launched RE100, an initiative to encourage big companies to use 100% renewable power. And SAP is now part of the pack, announcing to go 100% renewables for all facilities and data centers in 2014.


5) City power: Our home turf, the city of Palo Alto, announcing their ‘moonshot’ goal to become ‘carbon neutral’ in 2025. Close behind, New York city major Bill De Blasio committed to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.


4) European Union: EU commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly over the next decade, and at the same time the EU’s adoption of a law that requires large companies to disclose nonfinancial information—in other words, their social, environmental, and human rights impacts—as part of regulated transparency.


5) Despite peaking again in terms of carbon emissions in 2013, and probably in 2014 once all data are in, Germany for the first time got more electricity from renewables than any other source of energy.



6) Investor power: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, built on oil money, announced together with 800 other institutions to divest from fossil-fuel companies. Also remarkable in the investor community: CalSTRS, the US' 2nd largest public pension fund, announced it will more than double its clean energy investments in the next five years and will invest significantly more if strong carbon policies are enacted; at the same time CalPERS, the US's largest public pension fund announced its support for a carbon price and pledged to measure and disclose the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio.


7) Company power: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and others announced to leave conservative political group ALEC, citing its stance against government action to combat climate change. 


8) My kids favorite ‘fast food’ restaurant Chipotle named climate change a material risk in its 10-K report. Kudos for their guts, since many companies are also aware of the risk, but are not brave enough to mention it in their own reports.


9) In my personal life, in 2014 I produced roughly 5000 kWh from my solar system, I harvest successfully from new my backyard Aquaponics system, I installed a grey water systems this year (California faces biggest drought in 1200 years), and after sadly returning my EV (Nissan Leaf) after 3-year lease, I’m now the proud owner of an electric motorcycle from ZERO.

Number 10 again a quote, this time from Paul Poman (CEO Unilever):

'Business can only – and should only – exist if it is truly economically, environmentally and socially sustainable and where human rights are respected and upheld. This is not someone else’s agenda – this is where we all get judged by our actions and rightly so.'



Happy New Year, Thomas




Germany’s First Lady Daniela Schadt wanted to learn more about an initiative that builds on a simple idea: Cook together, eat together, connect. On the 18th December 2014, she came to cook at the Social Impact Lab in Berlin and meet with the founders of the social enterprise “Über den Tellerrand kochen,” a social enterprise supported by SAP’S CSR program.

Logo.jpgThe idea of “Über den Tellerrand kochen” arose from a growing challenge for many countries, including Germany: According to the UN Refugee Agency, the global refugee number surpassed 50 million people in 2014. In Germany, more than 300,000 refugees came to seek shelter, peace and a home. To welcome them, and give them a face and voice, the founders of “Über den Tellerrand kochen”, invited people - refugees and residents – to cook together. After all, cooking and eating together has a unique power to unite people, also across cultural and language boundaries. They want to show how simple it can be to reach out to our fellow human beings and how easy it can be to create a feeling of togetherness – regardless of culture, origin and history. And refugees  need opportunities to meet people and make friends in the country that is now their home.

The positive response to this initiative has surprised even the founders Ninon Demuth, Bontu Guschke, Gerrit Furrier and Carolin Stremel. They have since
created several products: a cookbook with international recipes and personal stories of refugees, cooking classes led by refugees and many meetings, where people cook together and implement new projects.


Daniela Schadt was joined by Shaikh, the cooking teacher, Gabriele Hartmann, SAP Corporate Social Responsibility and SAP non-profit partner Norbert Kunz, the founder of Social Impact. During the her visit, in which the joint preparation of food again played a central role, Daniela Schadt used the opportunity to talk to the founders of “Über den  Tellerrand kochen” as well as to Shaikh, a refugee from Pakistan and cooking teacher for the day. She was very enthusiastic about the idea of the social enterprise as a way to drive social innovation and how small organizations can set important issues in

our society in motion.

Fostering great ideas

“Über den Tellerrand kochen” is one of about 160 social startups in the Social Impact Start program. Enabled by SAP and supported by the German Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth selected business founders get help during the initial start-up phase.  This includes: individual coaching, professional expert advice on specific foundation subjects in the field of social entrepreneurship, mentoring by SAP employees, co-working space, access to potential funding partners as well as assistance in funding applications.


No opportunity to participate in the cooking events?


You may not have had the opportunity to participate in the cooking meetings? There is an alternative: buy the cookbook, and cook and enjoy the delicious meals with friends. That is a small, yet significant step on the way for better cooperation between refugees and their host country. The cookbook is bilingual (English and German).

Recipes for a Better We
ISBN 978-3-95760-002-8

The economic power of the SME segment continues to increase, as again became clear at the 2nd SAP SME Summit in November. While big companies usually make the headlines, it’s the small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) that are the lifeblood of the economy. By 2020, they will create 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) globally and 90 percent of jobs in the US. SMEs present an enormous driving force especially in emerging markets such as Brazil, India or Africa to create jobs and stimulate economic development.  Globally, there is also strong growth in“social enterprises” – for-profit business that pursue a social mission.  The ultimate in doing good by doing well!


Sadly, many start-ups fail – about 90% in fact. But established companies such as SAP are in a good position to help many get on the path to success.


With its eye on the social impact they can make by helping social enterprises,  SAP partners with non-profit organizations to help these organizations accelerate their growth in various ways: training and mentoring, on-site support through skilled-volunteers, technology donation and access to SAP’s business network.


IITT.jpgHelping a small social enterprise turn the corner to sustainability can impact thousands of lives.  For example, SAP mentors worked on a growth strategy with The Involute Institute of Technical Training (IITT) in India. As a result, the business has expanded from one to three states and increased their reach to 5,000 young people who received entrepreneurial and vocational skills training to prepare them for successful IT careers.


Its takes an ecosystem


While direct support for small enterprises can be a tremendous help to a growing organization, one-to-one assistance alone will not drive sustainable change. As Ravi Chauhan, the Managing Director of SAP India puts it, “The entrepreneurial ecosystem is a tremendous generator of employment and innovation.”  And it is only through supportive ecosystems that the broader challenges of small enterprises can be met: governmental and policy support, establishing strong business networks, education systems that foster entrepreneurial thinking, access to funding, etc.


Addressing these systemic issues is part of SAP’s Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative. SAP is working with ecosystem partners to promote entrepreneurship and encourage companies, government, non-governmental organizations and social entrepreneurs to collaboratively support social enterprises. At the
recent SAP-NEN Entrepreneurship Summit in Bangalore, Indian ecosystem representatives came together to collaborate, exchange ideas and learn from each other, and to pave the way for many more such initiatives. Because that’s the point: Individual support for entrepreneurs with growth potential is
important but doesn’t scale. It takes an ecosystem.



A new chair to add new impetus through science and research


To help pave the way, SAP recently announced support for an SAP Faculty Fellow Professor Chair (Endowed Chair) for entrepreneurship and social innovation at the renowned India Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIMA).  Involving  policy makers, administrators, academia and corporations, the initiative will conduct research and establish best practices to support micro, small and medium enterprises, family run businesses and growth stage enterprises. Areas covered will include healthcare, agriculture, education and skills development, as well as renewable energy and sustainable public services.


SAP’s Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative began in 2013 with a focus on Brazil and India. In 2015, the initiative will expand to Kenya. So stay tuned!



More about SAP’s Emerging Entrepreneurs Initiative




In October, my friends Hemang Desai, Marcelo Teixeira, and I returned to Swaziland to volunteer with Young Heroes, a non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to helping children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS crisis. The organization was founded a few years ago by a Peace Corps volunteer with the goal to find sponsors who will make monthly donations to support specific orphans and their care-giver families with funds for food and basic needs.  Young Heroes is also an organization SAP supports through many different initiatives.


Even though it’s one of the smallest countries in Africa, Swaziland is one of the hungriest countries in the world, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that 35.8 of Swaziland's 1.3 million population are undernourished. It also has the world’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection.  According to the 2012 HIV Incidence Measurement Survey, 31% of adults 18 to 49 have HIV and nearly 125,000 Swazi children have lost at least one parent to this devastating epidemic. 


The three of us were introduced to Young Heroes during our 2013 Social Sabbatical and were so inspired by the progress this organization was making in Swaziland that we wanted to return and become more involved.  The goal of our trip was to delve deeper into Young Heroes’ work, learn and contribute to their initiatives, and make an impact in the communities we visited. The trip was set and so was our itinerary, which included cooking over an open-pit fire for 75 orphans and their care-givers, painting the interior and exterior of two school buildings, and lots of playing and engaging with the local community members. Needless to say we were ready and excited!



Excited to start our volunteering! Marcelo, Shahzia, Hemang just landed at Tambo, Johannesburg Airport.


I anticipated my return to Swaziland to be similar to my last visit.  My experience this year, however, though similar in activities, felt very different.  What had changed during my week here? What had changed since the last time I volunteered in Swaziland? One week later, as I sat at the airport in Cape Town, South Africa, starting my journey home, swiping through pictures and videos on my phone to relive the week, I smiled, laughed, shed a few tears, and found myself evaluating a juxtaposition of emotions, questioning my own altruism volunteering in Africa. I also wondered what will be the ultimate impact of my time volunteering? Is my volunteering contributing to long-term sustainability for these communities? Are volunteers like me inhibiting creation of local efforts? Should I (on a personal-level) donate differently?


Pondering these questions over a long 24+ hour flight home helped me identify the things I learned volunteering in Africa, and some answers to my questions.




Swaziland Volunteering Video


A Shift in Donating: Should We Donate Differently? Yes.


In the TED Talk “Evaluating Everything We Give,” Joy Sun persuasively argues why we should look at giving differently:  “The more cash we give to the poor, and the more evidence we have that it works, the more we have to reconsider everything else we give,” she says.  Sun’s talk spans across not only what we donate, but how we donate. We saw why the way in which we gave matters as well as what we give first-hand in Swaziland. The more time we spent volunteering and interacting with the orphans and care-givers across various activities, the more we realized the power of close-knit communities and their strong desire, will, and aspiration to better their own lives.  My favorite example is Katherine, our South African driver, who spent her time with us in Swaziland.  Her ability to connect with the local community and engage with us on all of our projects clearly showed her enthusiasm. She was eager and excited to learn how to paint and even asked me to take selfies of her holding a paint brush! What became increasingly obvious was that she was not the only one.  All of the communities we visited were eager to cook, clean, and paint with us. They were perfectly capable and willing, just under-resourced or in some instances, lacking the right skill sets. 



Painting at Mdumezulu High School


This is one of the reasons why I enjoyed volunteering with Young Heroes, whose primary method of aid is through a program whereby donors can give cash directly to the hands of the orphans and their families/care-givers.  This empowers families to take initiative and build towards their own well-being. In addition to donating money to the families, Young Heroes supplements aid through volunteering and resources (food and materials) that enables communities to look after their well-being. And as we volunteered, we realized this method of aid helps bridge a gap between just giving money to the poor and our time and resources to encourage these communities to plan, organize, and complete projects. Ultimately, I learned donating differently means we need to look at our donations beyond just money, time, and resources—we  should look at the communities’ needs and help accordingly, with the right combination.


Local Engagement: Enabling Communities to Solve Problems.


After reading Burnham’s review of Easterly’s book, The White Man’s Burden, I realized it’s not aid to the poor that’s problematic; it’s the way we implement the solutions.  Most methods used today are designed, developed, and implemented by foreign NGOs that inhibit the mobilization of local communities to develop solutions, regardless of where the aid is coming from. Linking community involvement in developing methods for aid distribution, regardless of its form, is paramount to ensuring long-term sustainability and successfully making a difference to the poor. 


Looking back at my own experiences in Africa, I realized the success of our projects harbored on the local community’s involvement and execution.  From the many orphanages and children’s centers we visited, we quickly realized the enthusiasm from the local community, and we leveraged this by getting them involved--and sometimes even had them lead--our volunteering efforts. For instance, the day we cooked a hearty meal for 75 orphans and care-givers, we provided the community with resources (food ingredients) and our help to cook the meal. Yet it was the community leading the efforts and guiding  to ultimately get the task of cooking a community meal done. As we were cooking, serving food, and cleaning that day, we also felt something very special.  We experienced first-hand just how important our presence to be there physically with the orphans, care-givers, and community members was.  We saw their ability to feel our passion, desire, and excitement to help them, play with them, and just talk to them as encouragement.  This motivated the community members to share ideas, contribute to projects, solve problems, and develop solutions.  Watching the community in action, I realized just how important it is to include local engagement in developing models for aid execution in any volunteering activity.  



Cooking at the Malindza NCP


By Helping Communities to Profit, We All Profit.


After two volunteering stints in Africa, I know that our best work comes when purpose, passion, and profit are aligned. However, fully experiencing this at times is impossible and at best, rare.  So how do we build the road to long-term success of these programs? The believe the answer lies in the principle of Shared Value, which involves creating economic value using methods that also create value for a community by addressing their most pressing needs.  Creating programs that focus on long-term sustainability, using diverse methods of aid, and most importantly, integrating programs so local resources—capital and human—are utilized in the solutions. 


Spending a week in Swaziland, I learned that SAP partners with Young Heroes in many different initiatives designed to create shared-value, which has been vital to the organizations success.  At SAP, we help the world run better and improve people’s lives in the communities that need it through technology, talent, and partnerships.  SAP’s global pro bono programs, like the Social Sabbatical and Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative, are both part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy of fostering education and entrepreneurship in emerging markets to promote local economic value. When we have tight links between the non-profit and for-profit world, we will start to see more sustainable long-term impact in places such as Swaziland.


Reflecting on this experience, here’s most important lesson I learned:  Volunteering is extremely important. But we need to be more judicious about how we volunteer, avoid being just a distraction in the short-term, and align with organizations that promote long-term impact.  Volunteering in places like Africa is just as much about helping local communities in need as it is about our desire to help and give. As a volunteer, I see from my own journey that our desire to help is sincere, and we need to become more socially aware.  We need to be diligent to learn how local engagements for international volunteering work and ultimately understand the long-term impacts. Lastly, I know that we all need to do our little part in helping our world become a better place.






Related Blog: “A truly fulfilling “month” of service – Reflecting on my Social Sabbatical in South Africa”

The Hat Trick–Winning in Sports With Big Data

15847950476_f3598b1f91_k.jpgThere’s a technology skills gap on the horizon. And our first line of defense is to invest in education that equips students with the competencies they need to prosper in the workforce of the future.

Sadly, according to Workforce 2020, a global survey conducted by Oxford Economics, less than half of Canadian employees (44%) expect to be proficient in analytics, cloud and programming technologies in the next three years. And only 19% claim proficiency today.

That’s why SAP is proud to support the new Centre of Excellence in Analytics at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver, Canada. On November 24, to a packed audience, the Centre hosted their launch event with a celebration of sports analytics, intended to show how winning on the soccer field isn’t all that different from winning in the market.

Attendees learned about the vision for the Centre as a hub to bring together the analytics community for collaboration, idea generation and sharing best practices to support and grow the sector. Through applied research, student projects, corporate training and industry collaboration students will gain comprehensive analytics education. Students at the Centre will also have the opportunity to gain credentials at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Chris Burton demonstrates how SAP is changing women’s tennis through analytics and on-court coaching.

The evening was capped off by a keynote presentation from Chris Burton (Group Vice President, Global Sponsorships) during which attendees were treated to five use cases for how analytics are changing the game in basketball, football, tennis, equestrian, and, of course, soccer.

Analytics is Winning the Game

In his remarks, Chris noted a number of trends in sports and entertainment that also apply to business. Crucial to both is the importance of maximizing your wins per dollar spent. A key question for both sport and business: given rising business costs, how do we maximize performance and make the most of investments made elsewhere in the business? The answer, of course, is the effective capture and analysis of data.

“The competitive advantage of businesses in the future lies in the ability to transfer and translate data into insight, Chris said. “Analytics enables better decisions, faster responses and simpler user experiences. Ultimately, a great tool to win in sport and business.”

Event attendees could be their own DataGeek by experiencing the SAP Match Insights soccer showcase.

Attendees also had the opportunity to be their own data scientist by experiencing the SAP Match Insights soccer showcase. Match Insights is the result of a co-innovation between SAP and the German Soccer Association (DFP – Deutscher Fussballbund) designed to help the team discover new insights from game data to help them prepare for the upcoming Soccer World Championship and FIFA World Cup. The showcase demonstrates with the example of a soccer match between Germany and Italy, how SAP is able analyze the data of an entire game in real-time. It allows viewers to take a deeper look into the strategic analysis of a game and learn more about team performance, individual player performance and situational analysis such as team formations, defense and offensive quality.

Education is Key

Education is key in closing the skills gap in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related jobs. SAP’s partnership with BCIT is one piece of SAP’s larger Corporate Social Responsibility strategy to address the looming technology skills gap. Our larger vision for the partnership is a laddering pathway, beginning at Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver to inspire kids to choose STEM as a career path. By creating technology career pathways that span both secondary and post-secondary education, SAP hopes to ensure there is a robust talent pipeline to effectively resource the ever-growing technology field – social investments to truly help the world run better.

For years, Marcius Victorino and Marcelo Machado have researched and developed products to fight malaria, jungle fever and pests in agriculture. The breakthrough came in 2010 with a simple, effective, and affordable solution: MOTOFOG. The solution was designed for motorcycles, allowing the control and prevention of disease bearing mosquitoes and other vectors in urban and agricultural areas of difficult access that cars usually do not get to such as slums, hills, alleys, vacant lots, and junkyards.


Take a look at this video and you’ll understand how brilliant the idea of MOTOFOG is:



Since then, Marcius Victorino and Marcelo Machado have established their small company Fumajet in the market with national and international recognition of excellence. The company works with the public and private sectors and owns together with its partners 14 patents in Brazil and other countries. Fumajet has also sparked the interest of  potential customers in Africa with the same objective in mind – fighting epidemics and pests under difficult conditions at an affordable cost. To foster their growth ambitions and potential, Fumajet was selected together with four other social entrepreneurs in 2014 for SAP Expoentes – SAP’s emerging entrepreneur program in Brazil.

The program is run together with Endeavor, one of the main organizations worldwide to promote entrepreneurship. “High-impact companies like Fumajet are the change engines of a country. In addition to solving a big problem by delivering value to society, they create jobs and generate income for many families. With mentoring support and SAP technology, the potential of these entrepreneurs is raised to the maximum" said Enio Borges, account manager of the SAP Expoentes initiative at Endeavor Brazil.


A little over a month ago, Fumajet started to run its business on SAP’s Business One solution for small and midsize companies, implemented by Artsoft Sistemas, a SAP Partner. Despite this relatively short period of time, Marcelo Machado is already noticing the benefits. According to him, before the SAP management solution had been deployed, all internal processes – mainly in the production, inventory and warehouse areas – were slow and bureaucratic. "SAP Business One helps the communication among the areas, which means to integrate all processes in a smart way. Now, the company´s all sectors communicate and we can visualize all processes faster and in a more productive way," says Marcelo Machado. The SAP management solution has also optimized the Fumajet productivity by reducing the time for checking material inventories. "Now, we have quick and reliable information on the company´s inventories to make important business decisions. Before, it was required to use manual and constant checks, which demanded a lot of time from the employees," the entrepreneur explains.



Another highlight of 2014 for Fumajet was that they have recently been honored with the Innovation Award FINEP 2014, one of the most prestigious awards in the country. "This achievement was only possible thanks to the hard work and support of our partnerships, including the mentorship provided by the program and the benefits brought about by the implementation of the SAP solution," said Marcelo Machado, director at Fumajet.


Follow us to learn more about the SAP Expoentes program and its participants:


About SAP Expoentes:

Additional Information:

To follow the initiative via social media: @sapcsr, @sustainablesap



Any further questions, please contact Nicolette van Exel: Nicolette.vanexel@sap.com


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