On International Women’s Day, SAP and UN Women came together under the theme “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.”

The conference, titled “Change Makers: Women Empowering a Sustainable Future,” brought together nearly 3,300 attendees and featured accomplished leaders from across SAP and other companies who shared their insights on the importance of the topic.

Today, women are taking charge of sustainability initiatives with innovative solutions that address climate risk. UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, recognizes that it’s more important than ever to honor these achievements. For this reason, the organization introduced the theme for International Women’s Day in 2022: “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.”

Climate change is an issue that affects every person on this globe, and unless immediate and widespread action is taken to reduce carbon emissions, the damage could be irreversible. According to the UN Environment Programme, carbon dioxide levels today are higher than they have been in the last 800,000 years, leading to an increase in climate-related disasters around the globe.

Women are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, as they are more likely to live in poverty, have more restricted access to human rights, and are more dependent on the natural resources that are threatened the most.

Empowering women with decision-making capabilities allows us to drive change at scale. By fostering true equality between women and men we can better identify sustainable solutions that will mitigate the damage of climate change and ensure everyone — regardless of gender — has equal access to resources.

Gender Equality and Sustainability

In line with its goals for zero emissions and zero inequality, SAP is honored to join UN Women and organizations around the world in this initiative. With solutions that touch 77% of all worldwide business transactions, SAP understands its responsibility to champion sustainability throughout all sides of the  business. With this in mind, the company has targets and initiatives in place to be carbon neutral by 2023 and ensure 30% of its leadership positions are filled by women by the end of 2022. SAP also creates innovative solutions that allow customers to implement greener and more inclusive business practices.

One of these customers is Queen of Raw, led by CEO Stephanie Benedetto. Benedetto identified the challenges of waste and pollution caused by the fashion industry and created a global marketplace that allows users to list, sell, and buy deadstock fabric. With the help of SAP, Queen of Raw uses supply chain software powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to drive sustainability at scale and empower textile vendors around the world with the access to resources.

Stories like these remind us how important it is to think about sustainability through the lens of gender equity. Through the power of partnership and opportunity, Benedetto and her company have already saved more than 1 billion gallons of water and are paving the path toward a sustainable future.

We cannot build a better world for future generations unless we continue empowering each other with the support needed to tackle the big issues. Only with equal opportunities for all can we stand together with a unified approach to save our planet.

Watch a replay of the conference here.

Selected quotes from the speakers are shared here; for the full remarks by these accomplished women, watch the event replay:

“It is impossible for me in these times to talk about women without having images in mind of women in Kiev with guns in their hands defending their capital, their freedom, or waiting at the Ukrainian border, calming their children, families being torn apart as husbands stay behind. Our thoughts are with all impacted by this war, and we all hope and pray for peace. [It is v]ery difficult to turn our thoughts to anything else in this situation. Nevertheless, we really felt we do also need to honor and recognize the continued need to push for women’s rights and gender equality — and to do so on today’s International Women’s Day.”

– Sabine Bendiek, chief people and operating officer and
member of the Executive Board of SAP SE

“Sustainability is a collective effort. No company, organization, or person can do it alone. While SAP enables businesses to run more sustainably, we as individuals can do our part as well.”

– Julia White, chief marketing and solutions officer and
member of the Executive Board of SAP SE

“We’re not just driving this change for our customers worldwide, but also for own people and our communities that we’re a part of.”

– Sindhu Gangadharan, senior vice president and
managing director of SAP Labs India

“I think each of us leads. So next time you have an opportunity to lead a young girl, or promote a female colleague, or even provide simple advice, say ‘yes.’ Say yes because that is the only way will not need to celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s great to celebrate women’s achievement, but it shouldn’t just be celebrated in March.”

-Tamara Dancheva, senior manager of
International Relations at GSMA

“We have a great partnership with waste pickers in India who collect wastes off the streets. We work with waste pickers to sort different color plastics, which benefits them and us. They earn a meaningful wage and the plastics they collect enables us to use community at fare trade plastics in all of our bottles.”

– Elen Macaskill, global customer director at The Body Shop

“Achieving gender equality will accelerate the achievement of the other sustainable development goals. Because when a girl is educated, she can get better opportunities, achieve financial independence for her family and community, and she will end this cycle of poverty. Her ideas will shape the path for a company and her actions will bring balance to society.”

– Min Chan, CEO and founder of Wisy