Gap Score

Although SAP has been widely recognized for its commitment to sustainability, the company is making additional efforts to integrate its business strategy with its sustainability initiatives. In March, SAP published its first-ever integrated report, which combined its Annual Report with its Sustainability Report. The report includes the company’s efforts to minimize its environmental impact over the past year such as consuming 60 percent of its total electricity from renewable sources, and decreasing total emissions to 485 kilotons. SAP also disclosed LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) use in product design and quantified impact reduction as a result of green products. While the company’s energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water use increased in the past year, SAP deserves credit for committing to align its products and services, particularly its cloud computing software and mobile platforms, closer to its sustainability goals. Partnerships with Standard Bank and Nokia have created opportunities for SAP to leverage its products to a broad range of areas from mobile banking in South Africa to car-pooling in the US, respectively. Such integration efforts present messaging challenges for SAP, since most brands have yet to communicate the benefit of an integrated approach. If SAP hopes to solidify its position as an innovative leader in sustainability, the brand will have to address consumer perceptions—and not only educate the public about the value of an integrated approach, but also hold itself accountable to stakeholders who now have greater transparency into the company’s social and environmental performance.