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ENGAGE.EU is a consortium of nine leading European universities in business, economics, and social sciences, which aims to provide European citizens with the set of skills and competences needed to tackle major societal challenges. It inspires active societal engagement in the current and future state of Europe – and beyond.

In cooperation with the University of Mannheim, SAP co-hosted the Joint Programme in Digital Transformation. The program addresses the world’s greatest digital transformations, technologies, and solutions, offering around 40 students the opportunity to enhance their skills and prepare for a digital future through cutting-edge courses. SAP’s involvement included participation in lecture blocks to position the company and its solutions as well as co-hosting the Summer Seminar taking place onsite at the University of Mannheim from July 3 -7, 2023, which concluded the program. During the week, the students mainly focused on solving case studies in small groups, where each individual group concentrated on one company case.

The seminar was kicked off by an executive keynote held by Daniel Schmid, SAP’s Chief Sustainability Officer, who talked about the strategic integration of sustainability into businesses and why SAP doesn’t have a sustainability strategy but rather a sustainable business strategy. His insights inspired the students to look at sustainability more as an integral part of a company’s business model. Students asked lots of interesting questions around how business processes can be made sustainable in a huge company like SAP and also what SAP can do to push sustainability forward within its customer base.

On Tuesday, the students came to visit the SAP headquarters in Walldorf and participated in a climate interaction workshop hosted by the Climate Ambassador Pauline Becker. In the workshop, the tool En-ROADS, a climate solution simulator, was used to understand climate-related challenges by detecting interactions between certain climate processes and seeing how different factors like taxes, subsidies or electrification have an impact on global carbon emissions. En-ROADS enabled the students to ultimately create a scenario in which global warming could be limited to between 1.5° and 2° Celsius until 2100.

Matching the workshop, the case study provided by SAP was all about creating business models with zero emissions. The students working on that case had the chance to develop a new business model for an existing company or government organization by introducing modifications to the existing one in order to align with the goal of achieving a 1.5° Celsius global temperature increase envisioned in the Paris Climate Accords. Making use of digital technologies and the digital transformation greatly supports such sustainability efforts since it enables real-time and data-based decision making and the constant monitoring and optimization of all relevant factors.

They developed ideas on how a long-standing SAP customer can become carbon neutral. Using the climate solution simulator En-ROADs, which was presented in the climate interactive workshop, they were able to create a suitable set of climate protection measures that will guide the organization towards its goal. SAP software can support this process by continuously capturing and analyzing all climate-relevant data and activities that cause emissions and checking whether the organization is still on the right track towards carbon neutrality.

On the final event the SAP-group impressed the judges with their thorough analysis and creative solutions. They were awarded second place and appreciated for their hard work and dedication.

In addition to the presentations, students were able to network and connect with representatives from the different case study providers at the "career lunch". This was a valuable opportunity for students to learn more about potential career paths and make connections in their desired industries.

Aside from the educational program during the week, the students also enjoyed a great social program in which they explored Mannheim, Heidelberg and the Rhein-Neckar region including a brewery tour.

It was such a pleasure co-hosting this seminar and working with such an inspiring and motivated group of students. Being an industry partner of ENGAGE.EU is a fantastic way for SAP to get to know and engage with students from diverse backgrounds with different experiences. Bringing people together in a setting like this truly enables the development of new and inspiring ideas to solve important issues in today’s world.