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SAP Hires JetBlue, Cognizant Veteran As Chief Sustainability and Commercial Officer: 5 Things to Know

September 6, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Enterprise software company SAP has hired JetBlue and Cognizant veteran Sophia Leonora Mendelsohn (pictured above) as chief sustainability and commercial officer, and co-general manager of SAP Sustainability.

Here are five things to know about Mendelsohn and SAP's overall sustainability strategy for internal operations, partner ecosystems and customer engagements.

1. Business Scope and Scale: SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, has roughly 105,000 employees across nearly 160 countries. The enterprise software provider has more than 24,000 partners worldwide. More than 280 million users leverage SAP's cloud applications.

2. SAP Sustainability Strategy: In early 2022, the company committed to achieving net-zero emissions along its entire value chain by 2030 in line with the Paris 1.5°C target – 20 years earlier than originally planned, SAP notes. The next milestone is set for this year (2023), during which SAP expects to be carbon neutral in its own operations.

3. ESG Software Solutions: The total addressable market for SAP sustainability solutions is expected to reach roughly $10 million by 2027, according to market researcher Verandix. With an eye toward that opportunity, the SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprises platform includes such solutions as:

4. Sophia Mendelsohn's Experience: According to Mendelsohn's website, she previously was CSO and head of ESG at Cognizant, the global IT solutions provider. Earlier, she was the first chief sustainability officer at JetBlue Airways. Prior to JetBlue, Sophia was head of sustainability, emerging markets, for Haworth, a multinational manufacturer in the real estate industry. Previously, she worked for the Jane Goodall Institute in Shanghai. 

Moreover, Mendelsohn is business advisor to sustainability-native startups in stealth mode to pre-IPO. She also designed and taught the first ESG at Harvard Extension School. Mendelsohn has a master of science in sustainable management from Columbia University.

5. Executive Perspectives: In a statement posted to LinkedIn, Mendelsohn said: "I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve started a new role at SAP as Chief Sustainability and Commercial Officer and Co-GM of SAP Sustainability. In this role, I will engage SAP’s power and scale to further the company’s existing sustainability software solutions and corporate sustainability vision.

Throughout my conversations with SAP, I was struck by the leadership’s vision of how climate and circularity are already interwoven into our future global economy, and therefore our customers’ success. This is a company where ‘commitment’ has matured into investment and strategy.

Approximately 80% of the world’s commercial transactions touch an SAP system. SAP customers already depend on our powerful ERP capabilities for their day-to-day operations – of which sustainability capabilities are the logical next step. Our customers are serious about combining sustainability data with financial data to make better decisions for their businesses, value chains and society - and so are we.

Here we go!"

SAP Sustainability Strategy: Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC.

Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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