Chasing Zero: A Panel Discussion

Last week, SAP joined The Female Quotient’s Equality Lounge @ Cannes Lions for a panel discussion on our newest initiative, Chasing Zero, which highlights how SAP and other companies are pursuing sustainability-related transformation to get to a world with zero emissions, zero waste, and zero inequality.

At SAP, we firmly believe that each of these issues related to reducing our carbon footprint, reducing waste around the world, and encouraging and bringing equality of all types and forms into the forefront are incredibly important. It’s essential that we as a society and a business community confront these issues. Emissions, waste, and inequality are all interconnected and need to be solved together, rather than addressed individually.

For the conversation, Vivek Bapat, senior vice president of Purpose and Sustainability Marketing at SAP, and I were joined by experts Garry Cooper, CEO and co-founder of Rheaply, and Maggie McDow, Strategic Partnerships manager at Health In Harmony. During the session, we explored how companies are daring to make this bold vision a reality by building technology and innovating new strategies. While all speakers shared valuable insights, I’ve highlighted my top takeaways here.

Data-Backed Conversations Set the Stage for Success

From building diverse and inclusive workplaces to reducing emissions and creating more sustainable solutions, data is an essential component. As we think about workforces today and what goes into everything — from hiring to pay equity to developing and retaining talent with an eye toward diversity and inclusion — data helps us clearly see where we’re starting and where we need to go.

Everyone has unconscious biases that can prevent them from seeing the full extent of problems in the workforce. But when we turn to data, we’re able to create a more equitable outlook, offer transparency across organizations, and set benchmarks for future success.

Create Opportunities for Employees to Get Involved

Garry Cooper of Rheaply shared that 30% of millennials are looking for companies that are mission- and purpose-based. Therefore, finding ways to motivate them to do their jobs well and to help companies make progress in sustainability and equality initiatives is a win for everyone. Rheaply is helping companies and their employees understand how much waste they are diverting from landfills; how much embodied carbon they are avoiding through reuse and extension of the product life cycle; and how much value they are providing their business by avoiding double purchases or waste. Rheaply then gamifies that data.

Change Is Required to Make a Difference

Across environmental, social, and governance issues, companies need to be willing to change their approach. Even though recycling has been the cornerstone of environmental efforts in the past, we can’t recycle our way to net-zero waste. But reuse can make a huge difference. Unconscious bias can come into play throughout the employee journey, but by re-examining job descriptions for exclusionary language or creating opportunities for employees to reskill and grow within the organization, inclusion becomes a much more attainable goal.


April Crichlow is global vice president and head of Marketing for SAP SuccessFactors.