Reflecting on the past year, one event stands out vividly in my memory: the Social Enterprises World Forum (SEWF) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For those unfamiliar, imagine a global assembly where more than 1,500 entrepreneurs from 82 countries dedicated to societal and environmental missions come together. These enterprises prioritize people and the planet, reinvesting their profits to advance their respective causes. Witnessing the energy and innovation in Amsterdam was a powerful reminder of why SAP has emphasized social entrepreneurship for the second consecutive year.

It makes me proud to think about the 676 SAP colleagues who, in 2023, participated in our pro bono consulting programs, offering their expertise to these visionary social entrepreneurs. As in previous years, this collaboration has proven mutually beneficial, with 74% of our employees reporting a positive, lasting impact on their careers. Furthermore, 96% of the supported organizations and 77% of their beneficiaries have seen significant improvements. These numbers speak volumes about the shared value of our engagement.

But the 2023 SEWF wasn’t just a personal highlight; it marked the beginning of another significant milestone. We announced our investment in the Social Enterprise People and Planet First Verification with Good Market and SEWF. This initiative aims to set a global standard for recognizing organizations prioritizing social and environmental impacts. Social enterprises can now also identify themselves on SAP Business Network, the world’s largest B2B commerce platform. This breakthrough can make it easier for these businesses to explore new business-to-business opportunities while also helping SAP customers achieve their goals of being more environmentally and socially responsible. Saying it’s a win-win situation is a bit cliché, but in this case it’s actually true.

SAP is powering equitable access to economic opportunity, education and employment, and the circular economy

Working with SEWF shows how much we believe in working together and driving towards collective impact. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we can’t do this by ourselves. Working with others is the key to driving the kind of systemic change our world needs. This idea is a big part of what we stand for at SAP, and is at the heart of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.

This idea of working together really comes to life in our collaboration with UNICEF and Generation Unlimited. In 2023 – the fourth year of our partnership – we set out to make a real difference by not just developing the skills of young people but also finding jobs in the SAP ecosystem. Launching the SAP Educate to Employ program is a big step in that direction. Helping 25 young people get jobs with SAP in each of our pilot countries – Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and the Philippines – might not sound like a lot, but it’s a huge deal for each of those young people. For them, it’s a gateway to a sustainable livelihood, offering them not just gainful employment but a chance to build a career, achieve financial stability, and make meaningful contributions to their communities and the broader world. It’s about unlocking their potential and enabling them to participate in the digital and green economy. By the end of the year, we saw amazing results. While more than 2,500 had already passed the aptitude test, over 1,000 young people in Africa finished our “Boost Your Career with SAP Skills” course and more than 500 got through the first big part of their training.

But, what’s a year recap without some high-level numbers? Let’s dive into some impressive numbers from 2023. More than 20,000 of our SAP colleagues volunteered over 140,000 hours. Our initiatives reached over 2.8 million young people – almost half girls – and supported over 41,000 teachers. Our partner network reached 1 billion people in over 140 countries. These stats are just the tip of the iceberg, showing our big reach and impact together with our partners.

Building on this, our signature partnerships with Africa Code Week, Meet and Code, and Latin Code Week have always been at the heart of our achievements. As we handed over these initiatives in 2023, we took a moment to reflect and evaluate Africa Code Week and Latin Code Week outcomes more deeply. For instance, by empowering 14.6 million participants with the education, knowledge, and ICT skills needed to participate in the digital future, Africa Code Week has increased the likelihood that beneficiaries will realize higher earnings during their working lives. Common Good Marketplace estimates that Africa Code Week catalyzed up to US$1 billion in social value for program participants between 2015 and 2022 based on future increased income.

As we close the chapter on 2023 and look ahead, the journey we’ve embarked upon at SAP CSR is a testament to the power of collective action and shared vision. The stories, numbers, and outcomes shared in our eBook reflect our commitment to making a meaningful difference. Read the full eBook.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey. Your passion, dedication, and commitment are what drive us forward.

Alexandra van der Ploeg is global head of Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP.

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