SAP just released their 2009 Sustainability Report and I must say I am impressed. They have really raised the bar for corporate sustainability reporting (CSR). Not only are they one of the top reports in the BI and even the software vendor category, but they’re report is top of the line for all CSR reports.

It opens with a video message from the CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) Peter Graf, who reports directly to both of the SAP CEOs. His two-minute message gives a high-level overview of their strategy and progress toward sustainability. SAP’s 2009 report takes sustainability reporting to a whole new level by including video clips, interactive metrics in dashboards, and allowing readers to leave comments and feedback. You can see an 7.5 minute overview video here. It was a little hard to find, but I finally found it in the bottom menu, far right under Take a Tour.

SAP is wise, taking a two-pronged approach to sustainability. Not only do they support sustainability internally, through both environmental and social measures, but they also help their customers meet sustainability goals through the solutions they offer. It’s exactly what I’d expect of any BI company.

With this in mind, their report is broken down into three sections: Performance (internal), Solutions (external), and Feedback (engaging readers and stakeholders).

Performance – Each major objective, along with supporting objectives has interactive dashboards that offer filters to explore the data and timeline sliders to change data parameters. For example, the carbon footprint dashboard by default shows the world view but that can be changed to show just EMEA or US. The charts can be switched between pie charts and bar graphs. They even offer quarterly results in addition to the annual report. Finally, you have a choice to download to Excel or print. Nice way to show off their own product functionality.

Solution – SAP has structured their solutions to help companies drive profitability through sustainability. Take a look at their sustainability map which covers most all potential sustainability requirements for an organization. By offering solutions that cover business process management along with metrics and reporting, SAP breaks down the barriers to entry on sustainability programs for their customers. They even include a few case study examples you can read.

Feedback – Sap interviewed hundreds of stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, NGO’s, partners, and analysts, to best understand their priorities for SAP. You’ll see the results in their materiality matrix, where bio diversity was ranked lowest and areas like green house gasses and employee satisfaction ranked highest. You can even create and submit your own materiality matrix and contribute to SAP’s sustainability priorities. It’s a great example of what companies managing sustainability programs should do on a regular basis.

You will also find the unedited letter from their strategic advisory panel that applauds SAP’s efforts, and you see their Assurance Report from KPMG auditors. SAP follows the GRI guidelines and was rated an A+, the highest rating available.

If you’re still new to corporate sustainability and wonder just what a good report should look like, I encourage you to head out and take a look at SAP. They’re truly setting the bar.