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SAP Ariba targets ‘new generation of business leaders who understand that social impact, commercial gains are not mutually exclusive’

A recent discussion with social-impact technology company Givewith about linking sustainability efforts directly into businesses led us to explore the company’s relationship with SAP Ariba, which shared its reasoning for the collaboration.

“Our partnership with Givewith reflects a desire to work with a new generation of problem-solvers and business leaders who understand that social impact and commercial gains are not mutually exclusive,” said Sean Thompson, executive vice president and general manager, Network & Ecosystem, SAP Procurement Solutions.

That newness and the potential of this value proposition is what’s so intriguing.

Givewith’s novel approach seamlessly embeds social-impact funding opportunities into each transaction and directs a portion of the deal with a nonprofit, social enterprise or NGO whose impact is financially material to both companies. To start, Givewith’s mission is to find the most effective nonprofits and social enterprises that help people, communities or causes, then match them with companies that share those values. Givewith’s data-driven platform surfaces the most relevant social-impact programs that companies can embed in their RFIs and RFPs so that the terms and benefits are set from the beginning of individual deals. Givewith also gathers metrics as the programs proceed and informs stakeholders about the social impact generated as a result of the new funding. And to drive the point home, Givewith helps its clients showcase the impact to their stakeholders with audience-specific storytelling and reporting assets to promote the reach of the company’s social impact.

Because so many companies connected on Ariba Network can now plug into Givewith’s capabilities from the start of a project, this integration opens the door to scale programs for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and efforts related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

To learn more about the partnership, SAP’s Sean Thompson joined us for a discussion.


Spend Matters: Your partnership with Givewith began in November 2019. How did that partnership develop? When did the lightbulb go off over your head that this is something Ariba and its customers need?

Sean Thompson: I was first introduced to Givewith last spring at SAP Ariba Live in Barcelona. Givewith Founder and CEO Paul Polizzotto shared his company’s vision and goals for the future with other corporate responsibility leaders, and his presentation opened the door for Givewith’s incorporation into the Ariba Network.

On a daily basis, we see the digital landscape of procurement changing. Forward-thinking companies not only focused on driving financial value but realizing social impact through a variety of efforts.

Our purpose at SAP is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives, and Givewith is going to help change how buyers and suppliers do business — for good.

What value do you see Givewith’s solutions bringing to companies in Ariba Network?

Our customers are constantly seeking ways to add business value through their supply chain and procurement operations. Our partnership with Givewith brings tremendous value to our customers by making it easier than ever to advance social impact and corporate social responsibility initiatives through day-to-day procurement operations. This integration promises companies an ease, accessibility and scale of corporate giving that is unique and beneficial in so many ways.

Both SAP Ariba and Givewith believe that our customers and partners can play a crucial role in advancing the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Givewith platform allows companies to filter social impact programs based on these in that they are focused on particular goals within this sustainability framework. Additionally,  nonprofit programs surfaced by a buyer or supplier will show exactly which SDGs are advanced by funding that specific program.

From the perspective of business value, what do suppliers and buyers get out of this setup? Goodwill, of course. But is there a business proposition that each party should understand? 

Instinctively, we know that by doing good, we do well, and we have the research to back this up. According to a global sustainability study from SAP Ariba, positive societal influence is almost two times more important to consumers when making purchases than other factors. Additionally, over 68% of consumers would be more favorable to a brand if they knew it was adhering to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

SAP works daily with buyers and suppliers across Ariba Network to address risks in their supply chain, suggest opportunities for sustainability and point out challenges related to forced labor and other human rights violations. As an SAP Ariba application extension partner, Givewith will take our own purpose-driven initiatives to the next level. By creating compelling social impact incentives through sales proposals and procurement RFPs, Givewith will help customers drive business value at scale and with precision.

Do you have any advice for how customers can get started with Givewith and how the program fits with procurement’s added interests in sustainability, CSR and ESG?

Customers can purchase Givewith’s application extension in the SAP App Center. Once they become a customer, Givewith onboards them and sets them up on the Givewith platform, which analyzes companies’ sustainability and CSR performance data to identify nonprofit programs in the Givewith network that are aligned with the company’s goals. The buyer can then select their preferred nonprofit programs and add this content into their existing RFP process using SAP Ariba Sourcing to request that the supplier allocate a percentage of the transaction to one of the pre-vetted nonprofit programs. Suppliers can then choose to support one of the buyer’s nonprofits of choice in the RFP response.

Once a deal is finalized, and the buyer and supplier confirm the nonprofit program they’ve agreed to fund, Givewith facilitates the funding and reports the precise impacts achieved. Givewith provides companies with reporting data to send to key stakeholders, including the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) rating and reporting agencies. Additionally, Givewith provides a library of high quality, audience-specific storytelling and reporting content assets for companies to showcase their social impact both internally and externally.

What excites you about the future of this partnership?

According to Givewith, if just 8% of the more than $3 trillion worth of transactions that are processed through Ariba Network annually use Givewith, this would generate over $3 billion in funding for nonprofits. The possibilities for this partnership from a social impact perspective are truly endless, which is really exciting. We look forward to helping our customers advance their CSR goals and make a real impact in communities around the world with Givewith.

This Brand Studio post was written with Givewith.