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Thinking Differently and Acting — No, Not Just Another Earth Day

Hidden in Plain Sight 

When what we do is out of sight of others, it stands to reason it will remain out of mind of others.  And we (at least some of us here) are on a mission to have mindfulness around the topic of sustainability, to see that it becomes a major topic of discussion in the community, to see actions communicated logically, clearly.  Therefore, it becomes easy to understand why transparency and visibility around personal behaviors is really crucial and surfacing individual stories are the building blocks for transforming individual behaviors into organizational behaviors.

That’s why I particularly enjoyed seeing a specific set of transparencies around environmentally helpful practices here on the Community blog posts provided at a very personal level by a number of folks.

Community Walks the Talk

Jim Spath started motion a year ago by sharing with us his own home energy usage tracking in his blog post for Earth Hour  and again this year he posted for Earth hour with an absolutely astounding list of personal sustainability activities he has accomplished this past year (kudos) .

John Astill shared Home energy monitoring with iPhone and Twitter journey and a number of others such as Uwe Fetzer  spoke about local energy and monitoring concerns.

It seems logical that what we start with at home can spread to the workplace.  I know Jim did that with his “take back the tap” water bottle campaign.  Peter Graf, our new Chief Sustainability Officer mentioned in a recent SAP Mentor Initiative meeting that he himself has a solar powered home. And low and behold…it is hardly surprising that SAP announced yesterday that it has gone live in Palo Alto with a solar power plant, The system consists of 644 SHARP solar panels with an annual electricity production of 295,000 kWh.

A few weeks ago, I had Mark Finnern sneak over to the construction site to grab some photos to share.

SAP Solar Panels in Palo Alto

I feel very strongly that we need to surface these activities, on a personal level and on a company level in the community space.

In a recent threaded conversation called SAP walking the talk Jim challenged the sustainability leads in SAP to expose more details around proposed initiatives.

SAP Walks or is it Tip-toes?

With a little bit of digging I found this document which outlines SAP’s increased focus on Sustainable Business.

I began to think the biggest challenge we face is a fractured communication landscape around these topics.  And while I was bemoaning to myself the problems of making all this more coherent to our own community, Jim posted yet another blog post for Earth Day on the topic (after having as I did, much difficulty in tracking content and community assets and answers) and one of our newest community members Neal Levin,  stepped forward and began (magically it would seem) to create some structural suggestions and coherence in the Sustainability wiki to begin to address Jim’s issues around ambiguity.

Walking Louder and More Visibly

We need a clear place for our community to hear about SAP Facilities monitoring, about the recently created and launched today SAP Internal Employee Sustainability Champions (122 of them in the world, myself one), about the ways we as a company have been , are and will be walking the talk, about a new Sustainablity report that will be published with interactive features .  I’m actually pretty delighted and, yes, even surprised to see the extent of work already done and the activities in progress.

But those should not be, they shall not be for my eyes alone.  If it stays in the privacy of my SAP house or in my personal Pratt house, it really doesn’t serve a greater good.

So not only do I challenge you to share your personal accounts, I challenge you, like Jim, to challenge us to be transparent, visible, vocal with our roadmap, our commitments, our activities.

What you are doing in your home, office, community, company is very instrumental to the education and viral mirroring of these acts of acting differently.  I know many of you out there are, your companies are, your communities are going on this journey, whether it be for economic gain, compliance reasons, or a sense of doing the right thing.

Let us learn from you and with you and we promise to show …and tell.

Oh and one other little thing.  With the help of friend and colleague Craig, I’m starting a journey on a personal website .  It’s a blank page as yet, but a public declaration.

Happy Earth Day.

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  • Great post, Marilyn. I’m happy to say you’ll see more transparency this year in the steps we are taking to make SAP TechEd run more sustainably. When we increase the transparency of our sustainability efforts it not only has the potential to set a positive example for others but also raises our own consiousness and incentive to make greener choices.
    • Thanks Linda, I’m honored that you stopped by this post.  Talking about positive examples for others, you have been a great one around these sustainability topics.  You were campaigning to reduce paper, to work with vendors that behaved environmentally responsibly at events, to make sure that the steps taken weren’t just “lip service”  way way before it was the current fashion to talk about saving the planet at events.  You spoke about greening events ahead of the trends and  are a personal example of someone that cares deeply about our environment and works to influence our corporate behaviour.  Looking forward to that transparency of which you speak and the further steps to be taken this year with TechEd.