Sustainability Is More than a Buzzword

Before the winter holidays, crowds of people, including me, swept through festive stores and shopping malls to find just the right gifts for friends and loved ones. As happy as I was to join the merriment, a somber thought crossed my mind: how many of our purchases would end up in landfills, along with mountains of colored wrapping paper and decorative gift bags?

The United Nations describes sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This topic becomes more critical for each new generation. And my generation is on the receiving end of a potentially bleak future. But because I am both a realist and an optimist, I went looking for good news. And I started close to home.

SAP has a grand vision of a sustainable future, one that helps businesses address plights of every kind – such as social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Here’s how just a few SAP partners are doing their part to make a difference.

Social Sustainability

Social sustainability can be understood as the capacity of the current generation to create healthy and livable communities for future generations.

We saw a dramatic breakdown of communities in the early days of the pandemic, as older people in assisted living facilities, such as retirement and nursing homes, were some of the most seriously affected by COVID-19. These communities were left isolated and in danger due to staff shortages and a lack of testing.

Two businesses, Sanctuary Group and NTT DATA Business Solutions, rose to the challenge of understanding and responding to the hurdles COVID-19 presented by focusing on data.

Sanctuary Group, a housing and care provider in the UK, manages more than 105,000 homes. NTT DATA Business Solutions, an SAP partner, designs, implements, and manages SAP solutions for companies. Working together, they used SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud to gain real-time insights into the impact COVID-19 was having on Sanctuary Group’s customers, employees, and the organization as a whole.

These insights led to changes across the business that reduced the risk of COVID-19 for customers and employees by, for example, determining optimal staffing plans. The effort also resulted in winning “Best Socially Sustainable Project” at the 2021 Customer Success Awards for SAP UKI.

Economic Sustainability

Before the pandemic, most people knew little about the invisible global network of manufacturing and transportation that keeps our store shelves stocked. COVID-19 exposed these processes and revealed just how fickle they can be.

SAP partner Inspectorio helps drive sustainability in the retail and consumer industries with its cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. “Our focus on building more sustainable supply chains and our commitment to the environment are values deeply rooted in our company,” said Inspectorio CEO Carlos Moncayo.

Digitalizing, standardizing, and optimizing management and compliance operations help customers predict and mitigate risks in their supply chains. Due to the services Inspectorio provides, it has been invited to join SAP.iO Foundry New York City for sustainability in the retail and consumer industries.

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability has become a major goal for many companies that recognize the need to take action now to help our planet address pollution, water scarcity, rising sea levels, rising temperatures, melting icecaps, and more.

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement,” said Dr. H. James Harrington, author of Business Process Improvement. “If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

SupplHi, an SAP partner, is all about the measurement. It’s created a social network for energy and natural resources industries to track and quantify carbon emissions. This measurement can help industries visualize their carbon footprint to make data-driven plans and initiatives.

Through its innovation in this space, it’s been selected to participate in SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco for sustainability in utilities, energy, and natural resources.

Join the Movement

The time to make a change is now. SAP partners can help businesses build a better future for people, companies, and the world with solutions designed for social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Learn more about what SAP partners are doing.


Grifyn McErlean is a marketing design specialist at SAP.