SAP is using its integrated sustainability and annual report to promote more deeply embedded sustainability in its operations, the software company’s chief sustainability officer, Dr. Peter Graf, said in a recent interview with SiliconAngle.
Graf discussed how SAP’s integrated report focuses on how non-financial performance, including its carbon footprint and energy consumption, affects its overall financial performance. Focusing on these connections makes “sustainability relevant for the business” and allows a company like SAP, largely a B2B business, to pass the business advantages on to customers.
Sustainability is not so much about doing the right thing for society or the planet as it is about understanding where economic interests and environmental and social interests overlap, Graf said. "It’s about business at the end of the day.
“We’ve seen this with exploding oil rigs, or companies that use child labor. We’ve seen examples of the risk of not running in a sustainable way,” Graf pointed out. “Punishment from the consumers is real. That’s why many companies who are closest to the consumer are the role models [for sustainability].”
Graf arguedompanies that ignore sustainable thinking or fail to treat the environment and society with respect face customer backlash. Modern consumers are demanding more transparency and are asking more questions, placing more value on honesty and responsibility and more and more are thinking in terms of sustainability.
SAP’s first Integrated Annual Report was released in March.