As an intern on SAP’s Sustainability Management & Strategy’s New Markets Development Team, I’m looking forward to contributing and collaborating in this forum. Before diving in, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share a bit about my background and why I’m excited to be working at SAP this summer.
After graduating from college, I spent a year teaching English in Ningbo, China – one of the nation’s leading textile and apparel manufacturing hubs. Upon returning to the United States, I worked as a product manager for a large apparel company, managing the financial and design planning, production and sales for the brand’s accessories. Back then, we were focused on delivering quality products at the right time for the best price; environmental stewardship and social responsibility weren’t really on our radar. But as I thought back to the environmental impacts I had seen – and breathed! – while abroad, I was motivated to think bigger about how to catalyze responsible growth and better integrate sustainability considerations into our products and core operational strategy. So, I transitioned to focusing on sustainability full time – pursuing master’s coursework in Sustainability and Environmental Management and managing Harvard Law School’s campus sustainability program. In this role, I saw firsthand how examining our operations through the lens of sustainability not only created efficiencies that positively impacted our bottom line, but catalyzed better long-term strategic thinking about our organizational activities and vision.
The retail and consumer goods industry has come a long way since my time as a product manager – with companies reporting emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project or managing supplier actions through programs like Walmart’s Supplier Assessment – but there is still much work to be done. This summer, I am thrilled to be working with several of SAP’s consumer goods retailer and supplier customers to develop solutions that reduce risk and improve profitability at various points along the supply chain. I believe technology has a tremendous role to play in helping industry leaders learn and collaborate to create market transformations, and I am excited to facilitate systems and partnerships that create shared value. I look forward to posting project updates and research findings over the summer. Until then, stay cool!