Do you want to see what SAP Mexico did during Month of Service 2013?
Here is a compilation of the activities achieving the participation of 85% of SAP Mexico employees
Do you want to see what SAP Mexico did during Month of Service 2013?
Here is a compilation of the activities achieving the participation of 85% of SAP Mexico employees
We are pleased to announce that new CSR content is now available within the Sustainability space!
SAP’s mission is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. CSR supports this mission by enhancing education opportunities for underserved youth and supporting emerging entrepreneurs to foster economic growth. We tackle these challenges with our three CSR pillars: Volunteering, Technology and Social Investment. Our goal with our new space is to provide easy to find resources for our nonprofit partners around the world and improve communication between SAP and nonprofits. And we want to share with our customers and partners the great stories about how SAP is changing the world through CSR.
Here’s a few highlights of the revised space … check it out and share your feedback
If you prefer to follow content on one of our three pillars – Volunteering, Technology and Social Investment, you can do so from those pages as well. Make your selections in the upper right corner of each page.
Content will be updated on a regular basis, so be sure to visit the new Sustainability space frequently. Our goal is to make our space a valuable resource for nonprofits as well as SAP colleagues, our customers and partners so share your feedback!
Now that I'm back in my "normal" job for the past month (Senior Information Developer with the Design and Frontline Apps team in Dublin), I'm able to really reflect on my experiences in South Africa. The Social Sabbatical was an incredible growth and learning experience, which provided an opportunity to make a difference to people who really need it. I was fortunate enough to be selected to take part in this programme and dedicate a month of my time to working on a Corporate Social Responsibility project in Johannesburg, South Africa.
I was joined in this experience by 11 colleagues from SAP, from 8 different countries, none of whom I had met before, but we all quickly got to know one another as we prepared to spend a full month of our time together. The 12 of us were split into 4 teams to work on different projects in the area of Social Entrepreneurship.
I was assigned to work on a project with the Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Social Economy (CSESE), which is a non-profit organization based in the University of Johannesburg. The CSESE provides incubation for social entrepreneurs to build and grow their business through mentoring and training programmes. The center wanted to expand their reach and move into an online incubation system to help even more social entrepreneurs become successful.
Together with my colleagues, Gang Zhu from Shanghai, China and Esteban Samartin from Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was tasked with developing an online
social incubator for the center and helping them build a sustainable plan for the marketing and growth of the incubator. The task was a daunting one, especially with only four weeks to complete it.
In our first week, we conducted interviews with entrepreneurs and mentors to find out their needs for the incubator. We were given the opportunity to visit four social entrepreneurs onsite and see the amazing work they do for their communities, including Gerry from the Alexandra Disability Movement. After contracting polio as a teenager, he made the decision to help people with disabilities to have a better life. He provides jobs for people delivering for local supermarkets and also created a residential center for children with disabilities whose parents are unable to take care of them. It was really moving to see the work that was done there and it also inspired our team to provide a tool that would really help people like Gerry to grow their business and provide crucial services in the community.
We worked together with staff and students in the University to build the online social incubator according to all the requirements we had gathered. When we made our final presentations in the CSESE office and also in SAP, Johannesburg, the positive feedback received made the (very) late nights and hard work totally worth it.
Since I've been back in Ireland, I've been in touch with the CSESE team to provide training for the incubator and they are moving forward with the sustainable plan we put in place for them.
As well as the project, our team of 12 SAP colleagues were able to see and experience different aspects of South Africa. We visited an orphanage and youth
center in Soweto, we took a cable car up Table Mountain in Cape Town, and we saw elephants crossing the road on safari. As a group, we visited a children's home in Swaziland, which was an eye-opening experience as it's a country with a staggeringly high rate of HIV and AIDS.
There are too many experiences and learnings to include all of them in this blog, but I can definitely say hands down, this was the most life-changing experience I've had in my working career. From a professional point of view, the learnings I can bring back to my daily work are invaluable. I developed my technical skills in helping to build the website. We had to work around challenges to come up with innovative solutions for an easy-to-us and sustainable incubator. It pushed me outside my comfort zone, liaising with the client and fielding the numerous requirements that we had to prioritize and implement. From a personal point of view, it's made me more aware of the challenges some people face in their lives and how I'd like to do more to give back where I can.
Thank you to SAP, the CSR team, my manager for her support, and the running springboks for making this an amazing experience!
Forget artificial intelligence. Forget even business intelligence. The next intelligence frontier for enterprising online platforms is emotional intelligence.
Have you noticed those new bright yellow emoticons on Facebook? Facebook calls them "stickers," which it turns out are based on an evolutionary deep-dive into emotions as researched and discussed by none other than Charles Darwin himself in 1872 book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. This is more than just child's play for Facebook, signaling a heavy investment into a curriculum, of sorts, for "emotional intelligence" -- not only for the platform itself, but for us humans who use it.
I spent last Thursday at Facebook in Menlo Park at their 4th annual Compassion Research Day, during which they invite anyone who is interested to their campus to hear "everything we've learned in the last year about what happens when you apply the science of how people relate to each other to social technology." Team Facebook doesn't do this in a vacuum: Researchers, engineers, and user-experience folks both from within Facebook and from heavily credentialed
research institutions such as Yale, Berkeley, Claremont McKenna, and Stanford were all on-hand to talk about their work and some recent Facebook inventions.
I came expecting a serious talk about handling of online bullying behaviors, but what I heard was potentially a lot more expansive. They did drill a great deal into some recent related inventions including the new anti-bullying hub at http://www.facebook.com/safety/bullying and a new reporting system that every teen in the US aged 13-16 can click to when encountered with offensive posts, all backed up by this same heavy-hitting research and real-time "rapid feedback" collection.
All of this is underpinned by a more expansive mission beyond helping you report more abuse to Facebook. On the contrary -- Facebook wants to help people relate to each other. In this Facebook, you, your kids, and your grand-kids would be able to learn to become emotionally intelligent.
At the outset, kids need help identifying their emotions when they’re being bullied, the researchers discovered, but at the same time they want to be careful to not make a big deal out of something might not actually be such a big deal to the targeted individual. This is where their rapid feedback system has come in handy in helping determine why people report things on Facebook in the first place and what really is going on for the individual reporter and reportee, and helping kids untangle it all.
And be assured Facebook is watching and collecting everything.
Said Facebook UI researcher Pete Fleming, "We do EVERYTHING to try to understand how you use Facebook, and we also work hard to develop new methods and tools to try to understand you better." To that end, the new reporting tools are referred to as "conflict resolution" rather than just "reporting." Take a look at the new flows here:
As you can see from these flows, their aim is to help kids first identify and understand their own feelings, and then to try to work it out with their counterpart if possible.
To be clear, sometimes you can't work it out directly and sometimes there are situations where Facebook needs to pull posts down. In addition, Nikki Staubli, member of Facebook safety team behind the new hub at http://www.facebook.com/safety/bullying, told me that if if you click that "I feel like I might harm myself" link, her team gets these reports, they respond immediately, and they give them local resources and help lines. "We stop their Facebook experience and put them in a checkpoint."
But the majority of the time, says Emiliana Simon-Thomas from Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, "the very best thing for a person to do is send a message. It's not going to help to send it to Facebook. Facebook is not going to be able to do anything, but you can resolve it with your friend."
Coupled with their new rapid-feedback data collection, Facebook can tell that this approach seems to be working. Paul Piff, also at Berkeley's The Greater Good Science Center, says of the new real-time tools, "We have the ability to capture what people are feeling online as they are feeling it. As a function of using these tools that make them more empathetic, people are feeling better towards the other person and other people." Put another way by Simon-Thomas, the new frameworks serve to "contribute not just to individual wellness but greater community wellness."
Dacher Keltner, also from The Greater Good Science Center, added that the point of the new built-in stickers is "To equip people with more ability to communicate authentically in a place where facial expressions aren't available." Keltner, who helped design and bring the stickers to Facebook, added that "Facebook is a place where we're teaching each other to become emotionally intelligent."
But he takes it a step further, hinting at what might be in the future, when referring to the amazing granularity of vocal expression:
"If we really want to make Facebook emotionally, rich we need to concentrate on the voice."
Vocal Bursts: When a smile isn't enough
The ultimate promise according to Keltner is no less than "building into the Facebook experience the languages evolution has crafted for millions of years," an "unprecedented science."
And you thought it was just about cats.
It's becoming more and more common not just on social networks but also in business settings to actually get down to emotions. Here at SAP we've pioneered design thinking around empathy under the shepherding of community advocate Marilyn Pratt and others. And though we think we're more likely to spend our cycles immersed in business intelligence at SAP, it turns out there's a whole other intelligence underpinning a lot of our user experience wherever we turn.
There actually is a wall at Facebook
As we rely more and more on online worlds, remember that technologists of all types are thinking hard about what you write on that wall and working on how to engineer more emotional intelligence into all of our interfaces. Is it really any more of a stretch to foresee a future in which your business tools offered flows that prompt "Are those salaries balanced properly for your workers' quality of lives?" "Could you trim carbon emissions in this area?" "Did you really want to think for the short term, or do you want to extrapolate for your children or grandchildren's futures?" What questions would you ask to help create the future you want to see?
Watch the recordings from Facebook's 4th Compassion Research Day:
3 notable news around cap-and-trade systems made its round in the community this week.
Beijing became the 3rd Chinese city to launch a carbon trading scheme, with first trades at 8.20 USD per metric ton of carbon per permit.
At around the same time California sold all cap-and-trade carbon allowances in its 5th auction, raising now a total of 1.4 billion USD, while trading at 11.48 USD per metric ton per allowance.
And also happening in November 2013, the White House released a technical support document explaining why it raised its estimate of the social cost of carbon to 35 USD per metric ton in May 2013. (Reminder: The social cost of carbon is used to calculate the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Back in May 2013, the United States government significantly altered a key economic measure used to assess the damage caused by carbon emissions and the benefit of carbon reduction, increasing the "social cost of carbon" (the SCC) by over 60% from 22 USD to 36 USD per metric ton of carbon. This figure is meant to approximate externalities, such as property damage from extreme weather or changes to agricultural productivity and human health, associated with carbon emissions and global warming).
Throw in te European Union emission trading scheme which tanked to a record low of 3.8 USD per metric ton at the beginning of the year(from a peak level of 41 USD in April 2006), you might wonder if the market forces are working in the right direction. Even the highly regarded California trading scheme shows a steady decline in carbon prices so far…..all while we are heading for new record level emissions of 36 billion metric tons in 2013. (Source: Reuters)
Compare the revised social cost of carbon (=35 USD) with the existing traded prices for carbon in all trading schemes, you easily see a discrepancy. The idea of all carbon trading schemes is(was) simple: policy makers issue a pre-determined quantity of carbon emissions allowances and require a covered surrender of allowances for each metric ton of carbon companies emit throughout the year. The increasing scarcity of allowances, combined with their tradability, creates a market price. In return, heavy emitters have to choose between structural abatement options versus buying allowances from the market. So much to the theory.
How comes the carbon price is till ‘too low’ on a trajectory to decarbonize the economy by mid-century and also compared to the estimated social cost of carbon mentioned above?
An ongoing depressed economy (starting with the recession in 2009) and reduction as well as outsourcing of industrial production in EU and North America towards emerging economies is certainly a part of the explanation. Some experts believe lack of transparency about long-term scarcity of allowances and assumptions about long-term abatement costs are also part of the problem. Some analysts estimated that the current supply of allowances will not begin to force carbon emission reductions until after 2020. (Source: CDCclimat Research)
At least in the European Union the question of (one-time?) intervention is now on the table. There is a fear that it would be a precedent to ongoing intervention. And intervention could go in both directions. In the worst case scenario it could be decided to loosen the cap on emissions during future economic highs. Current options discussed are:
.) set a more ambitious post-2020 target: and hope that carbon price goes up. This would mean the EU would depart from Kyoto guidelines in a
unilateral way and take leadership to go above and beyond Kyoto.
.) withdrawal of allowances to (artificially) raise carbon prices: would not question the overall trading scheme, but justification must be clear and transparent. It could be set up as a ‘one-time’ occurrence, or as automatic regular adjustment when surplus allowances are not used over certain amount of time. Nevertheless, it would set a precedent for intervention into market forces.
.) many experts are asking for a federal reserve equivalent for energy as well as carbon authority. You don’t like the revised interest rate? Sorry. It would require to hand over our energy and carbon policy to a statutory price-managing authority. But it works for money today (to a certain extent).
.) Reserve price for carbon: Could support the carbon price until demand is recovered. But who should set the reserve price and based on what? And how does it change over time?
Since the EU cape-and-trade system is seen as a pioneer, the world will be watching how these issues can be resolved. But it seems like action is required soon. Even in California people started already questioning if cap-and-trade could stifles innovation leading to a ‘lowest-common-denominator compliance mindset’ ?
Disclaimer: I’m certainly not an expert in cap-and-trade systems, but I studied economics and I’m trying to watch and follow. I’m sure some readers will have much more insight and will correct some of the perspectives here. Looking forward to your comments……
When going to my local coffee shop this morning, the following sign was set up at the counter reading
'OUR COFFEE PRICES GOING UP, WHY?.......
Picture 1: My favorite coffee shop in Redwood City (not from a chain!)
Further it reads:
'Increasing temperatures are pushing coffee growers higher up into the mountains to escape the heat, which has a detrimental effect on coffee production. Also, major coffee growing regions are experiencing new bouts of leaf rust. With all the forces pushing coffee prices up - roasting and shipping are the major coffee production costs........we are committed to the well-being of everyone we work with, from the farmers and the communiies they live in, to our employees and communities here in Redwood City.............Thank you for your loyalty'.
I had a chance to discuss this matter with Jim Hanna, Director of environmental affairs at Starbucks. No surprise is that climate change is ‘material’ for Starbucks, since their business relies on speciality agricultural products, namely coffee.
Picture 2: Impact on Growing Regions (Source: Otto Simonett, GRID-Geneva)
Jim showed the picture above from a recent climate change study showing the fatal impact of 2 degrees temperature rise for their coffee plantations in Uganda. It basically shows that todays coffee plantations will be destroyed and growing of coffee will be reduced to very small pockets in the south-west.
Here are some additional Starbucks facts that might not be widely known.
Most peoples initial reaction when Starbucks talks about climate change: Do something about the cups! Right ? After all, four billion disposable cups are used for Starbucks coffee by Starbucks customers every year, filling up our garbage cans.
And Starbucks is very aware of that perception, putting out an ambitious goal for 2015.
Picture 3: Starbucks Goals (Source: Whats Brewing, Jim Hanna, Sustainable Brands London, 2013)
But here is a fact that will surprise most of us. The energy use and therefore contribution to emissions of those cups is not even measurable on the bigger picture. (see picture 4)
Picture 4: Starbucks Store Energy Use (Source: Whats Brewing, Jim Hanna, Sustainable Brands London, 2013)
Another hardly known fact. Nitrous oxide accounts for a larger slice of the company's carbon footprint than all of its U.S. roasting operations combined.
Nitrous oxide? What is this? Its laughing gas! Colourless, non-flammable, slightly sweet odour. Used for anaesthetic due to ‘euphoric’ effect of inhaling it, according to Wikipedia.
Now before you get any ideas what we do in our coffee shops…after all I’m back in San Francisco while writing this . Starbucks is using nitrous oxide for producing the whip cream in their stores. And nitrous oxide is after all a major greenhouse gas and air pollutant.
Something to think about when enjoying your next Latte at Starbucks, Peets, or any other coffee shop.
Giving is always strong at SAP through employee volunteerism, donation drives, and fundraising, especially during the holiday season. SAP Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) teams have several projects taking place during this time across the US, encompassing the spirit of giving back to our local communities.
SAP Chicago has chosen to sponsor a KIPP family for the Christmas Holiday. Employees will come together to purchase clothes, shoes, and toys for a wonderful family in the Chicago area. These gifts will make their holiday wishes come true!
The giving doesn’t end there. Employees also come together to help out a local food bank in Dupage County. There will be a collection jar in the building for employees to make a monetary donation. For every $1 donated they receive a buying power of $10. All proceeds go to Loaves and Fishes, which is one of our long-time partners for volunteering.
SAP NSQ has adopted a family for the holidays through one of our Month of Service partners, Good Works. Karen Ayers, Executive Assistant for Peter David, CFO SAP Americas, has consistently worked with Good Works throughout the years. This year is extremely special because we are working closely with a family to fulfill their Christmas wish list. A group of generous employees have embraced the holiday spirit and plan to take gifts to the family in early December.
We also take part in an office-wide holiday event each year. Linda Hughes, Executive Assistant to Pat Pettinati, Chief Human Resources Officer, Americas Region, leads a holiday initiative each year with Toys for Tots. This program is a great way to collect new, unwrapped toys during the holiday season and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the Delaware Valley. This year, as a special treat, the Marines plan to attend the SAP holiday party to meet the generous employee donors.
Out of our SAP Denver office, Grit Carson Consulting Manager, SAP Strategic Industries, is coordinating a toy drive to be held during the Denver holiday party. We are partnering with CASA to ensure all of the donations are going to a select group of children within the CASA program. “Especially at this time of the year I am reminded how very blessed I am with what I have in life. Organizing an event where I can give back to the ones who are not as fortune and bring a smile to their face makes me feel alive and truly happy.” – Grit Carson
Each year, Jay-Jay Thompson, Executive Assistant to Kevin Hester, COO of SAP Americas Strategic Industries and Volker Reinert, SVP - Value, Solutions and Industries, leads a Toys for Tots holiday drive in the Atlanta office. The initiative kicks off by having the employees bring their unwrapped toy (s) into the office. To tie it all together, they invite several Marines to the Atlanta holiday party where they collect last minute toys. The employees look forward to partnering with such a wonderful organization to help less fortunate children throughout the Atlanta area experience the joy of Christmas.
There are a variety of ways you can give back in the Bay Area. All Bay Area campuses will participate in a canned food drive benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank or Children’s Emergency Food Bank. The Palo Alto campus will host a Holiday Boutique where more than 15 local entrepreneurs and non-profits will sell their products, goods and wares to help with your holiday shopping. Lastly, SAP Bay Area will hold a competition where employees, as well as friends, can vote for their favorite non-profit to receive the following: 1st place = $30,000, 2nd place = $10,000, 3rd place = $4,000, 4th place = $3,000 and 5th place = $3,000. This is a unique opportunity to support our local non-profit organizations during the holidays.
These are just a few of the many CSR efforts taking place this month. Our employees are dedicated to improving people’s lives through giving back. What better time of year to give back than during the holiday season. Thank you to all of our committed leaders who help to make these initiatives successful, and thank you to all of the employees for your generous support. What a wonderful time of year!
Now, more than ever, companies are creating more buzz around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Employees are realizing that they want more from their company than just a paycheck. They want to know they can value the same things as the company they work for.
In a survey conducted by Net Impact, 53% of workers said that “a job where I can make an impact” was important to their happiness, and 72% of students about to enter the workforce agreed. Some would even take a pay cut to achieve that goal. - Jeanne Meister, Contributor Forbes
It is very common for employees at SAP to hear Corporate Social Responsibility and immediately think Month of Service. Although this is our largest initiative of the year, CSR is made up of much more than just volunteering in October. We also partner with 53 non-profits throughout the US whose areas of focus are around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education and Youth Entrepreneurship. Working with this select group of partners allows CSR to tell the SAP story through a personal angle.
The number of 18-24 year olds who are not in school, not employed full-time, and without a postsecondary degree is over 5.2 million in the country. This statistic is staggering, and SAP wants to help bridge the gap. Leveraging our employees skills to help provide these disconnected students with the tools they need to seek successful career opportunities is one way we can help.
Recently we hosted a career day with one of our partners. The students we worked with are part of the ITWorks program which is a free, immersive IT training for vulnerable young adults. Once they complete the training, they will earn a professional certification in IT and hope to land an internship opportunity inside a leading corporation or nonprofit. Here is a quote from one of the ITWorks students: “Where I’m from, jail and death before age 18 are the two major options, but I want different.”
SAP gave these 15 students the opportunity to visit our beautiful NSQ campus and see for themselves that it is possible to work for a great company like SAP. The day consisted of several tours through our Data Center and Mission Control center, as well as real life examples of how we use our technology. They even had the chance to experience a Tele-presence meeting where they met “face to face” with our head of IT in Brazil. The students left here with a ton of knowledge, but more importantly the drive to make their dreams a reality.
This is just one of the ways we help to improve people’s lives and humanize the SAP story.
The Conflict Mineral Law requires U.S. and certain foreign companies to report and make public the use of so-called "conflict minerals" from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or adjoining countries in their products. SAP AG will extend SAP® Product Stewardship Network to offer a solution focusing on the pressing needs around Conflict Minerals.
SAP Product Stewardship Network is a cloud solution connecting supply chain partners and providing exchange of structured information on product compliance and sustainability data. Manufacturers increasingly need this data to meet legal and customer requirements, like Conflict Minerals Regulations, RoHS and REACH or Sustainability Assessments. PSN is part of SAP's Product Safety and Stewardship solution portfolio, which helps manufacturers innovate and grow with confidence. The end-to-end Process Integration between SAP Product Stewardship Network and SAP® EHS Management enables the customer to exchange key master data and compliance assessments.
With the planned enhancements to SAP® Product Stewardship Network, SAP will support the company’s specific data management, analyzing and reporting needs to handle conflict mineral obligations. In order to meet the customer requirements, SAP is currently co-innovating with leading manufacturers to productize these enhancements in standard EHSM and SAP Product Stewardship Network. SAP plans to extend SAP Product Stewardship Network with Reasonable Country of Origin Inquiry (RCOI) survey management, key risk analysis capabilities and export data efficiencies for further analysis as well as internal processing to support due diligence.
With SAP, customers receive a holistic solution to solve their EHS compliance and conflict minerals challenges. Existing SAP customers benefit from the integration with other SAP applications, which supports them in the exchange of key master data. SAP® Product Stewardship Network will help the customers to comply with existing and upcoming conflict minerals regulations across the entire supply chain.
Stay tuned for more information.
If you have any questions regarding the SAP® Product Stewardship Network, please contact: email@example.com
This week, in partnership with TechSoup Global, several non-profit organizations from the San Francisco Bay Area came together to learn about cutting edge analytics solutions. These roadshows are part of an effort to offer education on solutions that are part of SAP’s donation portfolio, and ensure that organizations with a focus on helping the world run better can fully understand how best to leverage these tools. Beyond providing technology donations to the sector…there must be effort invested in ensuring the end recipients understand the tools, select the ones best suited for their goals, and get a running start. Technology roadshows along with webcasts, tutorials, and exciting skills based volunteering initiatives are just a few examples of additional value SAP brings to non-profits and NGO’s around the globe.
Attendees engaged in a lively dialogue with analytics expert Chris Kosak.
He provided a simple and effective explanation of several different powerful analytics tools, what each tool is best utilized for, and walked through a live demonstration which really brought the features to light. Chris encouraged the crowd to ask their questions along the way and provide feedback to make sure the session was relevant and valuable for them. There were smiles and even at times gasps from non-profit leaders, seeing powerful ways that the solutions not only provided intuitive and graphical analysis in response to simple spreadsheet files of data…but often times came back with proposals on data analysis trends and next steps.
In concluding the breakfast session, a special offer was made to attendees interested in getting started with the SAP Lumira solution. In early December, there will be a Lumira marathon where non-profit attendees can come together, leverage their SAP analytics donations, and work directly with product experts to get up and running on their application. It’s a fantastic opportunity for organizations to walk away with an implemented solution and for our own internal experts to give back with their best skill sets.
If you have interest in attending a future SAP Technology Roadshow or Lumira Marathon, reach out to me!
Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy in Africa, and is surrounded by the neighboring states of South Africa and Mozambique. The country has the world’s highest infection rate of HIV/Aids. Nearly 125,000 children have lost at least one parent, and 15,000 households in Swaziland are headed by orphans. “Young
Heroes” is an aid organization that cares for AIDS orphans throughout the country, provides them with food and clothing, and gives them the chance of a school education. Young Heroes relies on donations from around the world.
SAP didn’t just provide the aid organization with hardware, education programs, and software licenses, SAP employees also equipped the Young Heroes database with real-time updating. People from around the world can now quickly decide whether to sponsor a Young Heroes family. And the Young
Heroes employees can respond to potential donors much faster.
Read how SAP employees give a helping hand to the orphans of Young Heroes in the web magazine SAP Milestones
With winds over 300 kilometers per hour, Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest “Super Typhoons” of the last decade and one of the largest ever recorded, producing a six-meter storm surge that destroyed homes and affected the lives of millions of people. Several thousand deaths have already been confirmed, with many more projected. As many as 4 million people are still impacted, as many areas remain cut off by flooding and landslides.
The storm destroyed at least 80,000 homes, according to the latest Philippine government accounting. Although estimates of the number left homeless vary, the Philippine government puts the number at more than 582,000.
To support the immediate disaster relief operations in the Philippines, SAP will make a corporate donation to Mercy Relief in Singapore. Mercy Relief’s first response team is already on the ground and well positioned to support those who have the greatest need at this time. SAP’s funding has been earmarked to provide food, shelter, and safe drinking water to displaced victims. In addition, SAP will match employee donations to the SAP Solidarity Fund. Established following September 11, 2001, the Solidarity Fund is as a mechanism to pool employee donations and respond to disaster quickly and collectively.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by this horrific event.
How you can help
Make donations to the charity of your choice or to one of SAP’s global disaster relief partners. Check their Websites for your country:
This year’s Month of Service offered a range of unique volunteer experiences — from virtual volunteering and team-building events to skills-based activities that focused on enhancing education and helping create economic opportunity for those in need.
More than 300 volunteer ambassadors around the world made this month possible by coordinating volunteer activities and inspiring employee engagement.
There are thousands of high impact stories of volunteering from this year’s Month of Service. Following are just a few examples.
USA: First hack-a-thon for high school students
In cooperation with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), SAP employees in the San Francisco Bay Area hosted the first hack-a-thon. NFTE inspires young people from low-income communities to find their paths to success. They work closely with educators in high-need schools to re-engage students in learning, introduce them to business concepts, and open up their possibilities for the future.
The hack-a-thon comprised nearly 100 high school students and about 25 adults. There were SAP volunteers, computer science students from Stanford, and volunteers from other companies in Silicon Valley such as Google and Intuit. SAP worked with the media to help ensure coverage in the local news (video).
Canada: Design thinking in action
SAP Canada partnered with the North York Women’s Shelter and GIRLsmarts, both long-time CSR partners, to improve their programs with a design thinking workshop.
The workshop for the North York Women’s Shelter was geared toward finding new ways to engage youth in conversations on gender violence. SAP’s Sue Kennedy and Glen Moffat worked with a diverse group of participants to discuss a variety of issues around how to reach youth, how to break down the fear of talking about gender issues, understanding where violence comes from, and solutions to engage local communities as a first step.
Future plans include developing an app/site for students to use, working with community centers and leaders to create role models and spokespeople for positive gender relationships, and a “pay it forward” type concept where word-of-mouth and non-violence messages are spread via peers.
South Africa: Community days at the Science Centre
Every Sunday morning in October, SAP Africa volunteers supported the Cape Town Science Centre with interactive science workshops and presentations. Disadvantaged families also benefitted from career guidance activities in the industry for information and communication technologies. Around 2,800 participants from disadvantaged backgrounds attended these events. Of this group, 2,100 children enjoyed plays and activities sensitizing them to scientific issues. Combining fun and Science Technology Engineering and Math(STEM) helps create the workforce of the future.
India: More than 17,000 volunteering hours
Throughout the month of October, SAP Labs India employees transformed lives, through various voluntary and charitable acts, as part of the global month of service. More than 4,500 employees, constituting approximately 60% of the workforce, contributed more than 17,000 volunteering hours to effect positive change in the communities. The employees surpassed last year’s contribution by 33%. Through 40 projects across cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata, SAP colleagues brought smiles and happiness to the lives of the underprivileged.
APJ’s representative project was the “NGO Day Forum” in Bangalore and Gurgaon. This was the first-ever initiative between NGO partners and employees in India to discuss the role stakeholders such as corporations can play in social innovation and investment.
Brazil: Run for a technology academy
Esperansap creates opportunities as an educational resource for unemployed professionals or low income members of society who are unable to afford the costs of a technology academy. The SAP Brazil team put on their shirts, shorts, and running shoes to complete the Instituto Esperansap run.
This annual event enables members of SAP and Esperansap supporters to come together to educate and strengthen the market. There were over 400 SAP representatives amongst the 15,000 participants.
They worked as a team, dedicating their passion and drive, to equip new SAP professionals for the technology market. This initiative of SAP and ASUG Brazil impacted 96 lives in only 28 hours. Given this success, there are plans to complete 40 academies by the end of 2013.
Venezuela: Scholarships for students
Founded in 1970, Universidad Metropolitana has educated innovative minds for the betterment of economic and social development in Venezuela. The country has demonstrated that advanced, real-time technology is not only in its sights but is also enabling it to improve the world.
SAP took the opportunity during its 2013 Innovation Summit in Venezuela to contribute to the scholarship program of Fundacion Academica “Jose Abdala” of Universidad Metropolitana. The donation will help provide scholarships to four students who show great promise in industry. The selection criteria are based upon applicant performance in science and technology. By helping develop talent in Venezuela, SAP is also increasing the talent pool from which it can hire. In the words of Raiza Morales, director of sales in SAP Venezuela: “It gives SAP and me great honor to support the careers of these youth and simultaneously motivate women to seek more opportunities in the areas of technology.”
Around the World
Highlighted below are just a few of the many Month of Service activities held worldwide.
Singapore: Support for the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF)
In Singapore, volunteers at the Hair for Hope event raised SGD $150,000 in support of the CCF. In addition, employee photography enthusiasts and the SAP Business Women’s Network (BWN) initiated a fundraising project called “Photography for a Cause.” For a small fee, volunteer photographers help colleagues take professional-quality pictures for their career profiles. They raised a total of SGD $25,000 to support a CCF sponsored school.
Austria: Annual Social Action Day
A total of 64 volunteers worked for two days at Caritas. Here, a trampoline and a swing set were built. In addition, they landscaped a garden with a special view.
Germany: Support for talented athletes
More than 40 volunteers contributed their time and energy to the non-profit organization “Anpfiff ins Leben e.V.” The organization’s goal is to help talented young athletes who experience challenges at school, develop their personalities and achieve their career goals. SAP volunteers built a new soccer court, created a garden path, painted pictures, and renovated a mobile classroom. Co-CEO Bill McDermott and MEE President Michael Kleinemeier were onsite and helped at each of the workstations (video).
France: Café Coaching with Mozaïk RH
Mozaïk RH is the first non-profit employment agency in France specialized in placing highly qualified people who are unable to find employment due to their disadvantaged background.
SAP organized three coaching sessions for 58 young people involving 32 SAP volunteers over three hours. Volunteers hosted workshops on job applications, networking, and presentation skills.
In my first blog, I gave an introduction to SAP Social Sabbatical, but really didn't provide much details on the projects. As promised in this blog, I will use the analogy of SimCity to describe SAP's role and mission in Brazil.
For those of who have played SimCity, you’ll know that it’s a game that requires strategy, planning and a quite bit of experimentation. The goal of SimCity is build a city from scratch while balancing a budget and maintaining the happiness of your citizens. The game has a fair degree of complexity as you need to develop all of public services and infrastructure that you would have in a normal city such as power, water, garbage collection, roads, transportation links, parks, hospitals and schools etc...
The fun in SimCity happens when you decide to do dumb things like raising taxes excessively. For example, in SimCity when taxes are raised without making an investment in public services, your citizen’s happiness index declines. When your citizen’s happiness index declines beyond a certain threshold, they will leave the city.
In the case of Brazil, the citizens of different cities have nowhere to go so instead they are protesting. In June 2013, millions of citizens took to the streets in protest against high taxes, rising inflation, poor public services, and political corruption. Billions of dollars are being spent on stadiums in preparation for next year’s World Cup and yet there is little improvement in public infrastructure such as roads and buses.
I can certainly attest to this as a group of us went to Football match on October 23rd. The stadium was magnificently state of the art, but the roads leading to and from the stadium are a recipe for disaster if nothing is done for World Cup next year. Two unforgettable memories of the evening were 1) the prominent display of Brazilian Football passion and talent 2) Bumper to bumper traffic, honking horns, and overcrowed / antiquated buses.
The strategic importance of Brazil to SAP
So why am I using the Analogy of SimCity in this Blog? The reason is because SAP is making an investment in Brazil and specifically into the city of Porto Alegre by sending a team of 12 people to work on projects that focus on improving public services, enhancing youth education, urban renewal, and solving business challenges for social enterprises and entrepreneurs.
Despite the recent political and social turmoil, Brazil is one of the fastest growing major economies in the world and 6th largest in the world. For SAP, Brazil is especially important as it represents the 3rd largest software market in terms of revenue. According to Stefan Wagner, Managing Director of SAP Labs Latin America “If Brazil has a bad quarter, the whole of SAP will be impacted.”
As an emerging market economy, Brazil is ripe with opportunities as companies begin to scale and look to make investments in software to improve their competitive advantage. But as we’ve witnessed many times in history, too many social challenges will also hinder the economic growth of a country. It is for these reasons that the SAP Social Sabbatical plays an important role in the social-economic development of Brazil. Specifically for the city of Porto Alegre, our team of 12 people was assigned to these 4 projects:
Call Center Madness and the City of Porto Alegre
Going back to my analogy now of SimCity, the goal of any city is to have to effective public services. To keep your Sim’s Happiness index up, you’ll want to provide essential services such as water, power, sanitation etc… In the case of the city of Porto Alegre, they provide essential services, but they don’t do an adequate job responding to their Citizen’s requests to fix things.
For example, if a Sewer Pipe breaks open in some neighborhood, it’s the City’s responsible to repair the pipe. Currently, the city has a backlog of 10,000+ of such service Citizen’s requests. For the team of Jason Tissera, Martin Tielsen, and MK Grueneberg, they were assigned to the City of Porto Alegre to investigate innovations in CRM software and mobile technologies and come up with a set of recommendations to improve the City’s system of tracking, and resolving Citizens’ requests.
Reducing Crime and revitalizing the 4th District of Porto Alegre
In SimCity, the calculus of Happiness is pretty simple. Sims live need a place to live (ie Residential zones), they need places to work (i.e. Industrial Zones), and they need places to spend their money (i.e. Commercial Zones). As you progress through the game, you add schools to the Residential zones to increase the likelihood that your Sim’s will get good jobs, and you also add nearby parks and hospitals ensures they will stay healthy.
With that said the element of Crime in SimCity isn’t some random event, it occurs when a neighborhood has low education, bad pollution, poor health and no jobs. The 4th District of Porto Alegre fits exactly this description being a former dumping ground for the city’s waste, and also an area marked by local Drug Lords, Pimps and Prostitutes. Despite the dire situation, a collective of urban entrepreneurs called Nos Coworking have teamed together to explore ways of creating a better future for the 4th District. For the team of Sarah Larson, Senta Belay and Peter Miskiewicz, they were presented with a unique opportunity to partner with Nos Coworking and come up with a concept proposal for a revitalized 4th district.
Incubating and Educating Entrepreneurs
The concept of creating jobs in SimCity is pretty simple – build schools to create skilled workforce, and keep your taxes low to incentivize job creation by large companies and entrepreneurs. In the case of latter, entrepreneurship plays a more important role in Brazil's economic and social future. Small and medium size companies are responsible 96% all of jobs in Brazil. However despite being a BRIC country, many challenges still exist for entrepreneurs. New business startups face a complicated tax system, a lengthy startup time (120 days vs. 13 days for OECD countries), and a lack of entrepreneurship training.
On the latter most point, Less than 10% of Brazilians aged 18–64 received any type of entrepreneurship education, and without sufficient knowledge in how to get started, the majority of would-be entrepreneurs don’t develop the confidence to put their ideas into action. That picture is starting to improve with the help of entrepreneurial incubator’s like Semente Negócios whose mission is support entrepreneurs by helping them to map and model their ideas into real businesses through business tools, best practices and knowledge sharing. For the SAP team of Nabil Al-Azem, Francois Silvain, and Amy Hammond, they had an exciting opportunity to work with Semente and meet with several entrepreneurs to gain a better understanding of the their current challenges and create an educational program to help early stage ventures and new entrepreneurs.
SAP SimCity and the Social Sabbatical
Hopefully with my analogy of using SimCity, you can better understand and appreciate the rationale for each of the Social Sabbatical projects. While Brazil represents a key software market for SAP, we also have to recognize that this country is at a critical junction where economic progress is tied to social and civic improvements. As an SAP employee, I’m proud to say that we are taking a long term view and making the socially responsible investments now in order to help Brazil run better for the future.
Well that’s it for my second blog post. In my next blog post, I will talk about my project with Junior Achievement, and educating Brazil youth and future leaders.