SAP leads the transition to a low carbon economy model

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31.07.2018

by Laura Marie Kothe

The cutting edge software corporation SAP has recently released its Integrated Report 2017, giving updated data of its social and environmental performance and stressing its ambitious commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

The company is committed to 100% renewable electricity and joined the RE100 coalition – recognized by the UN as one of the 7 leading initiatives in climate action. As part of SAP’s comprehensive environmental strategy, last year it switched to EKOenergy certified electricity.

Nearly two thirds of the world’s end-use of electricity is consumed by the industrial and commercial sector, according to IRENA. This means that large companies like SAP choosing to cover their demand with renewable energy can greatly contribute to a global shift towards a low carbon economy. As renewable energy is becoming more competitive, the number of large consumers worldwide looking for ways to source 100% renewable is increasing.

We talked to Marcus Wagner, Global Environmental Manager at SAP, about the company’s transition to reduce its carbon footprint and how EKOenergy is helping with this process.

1. SAP’s Integrated Report points out that SAP reduced CO2 emissions by 55,000 tonnes in 2017. What measures have been integrated in your climate and environmental policy to achieve this result?

SAP pursues a sustainable corporate strategy and has ambitious environmental goals. SAP is committed to ISO14001. One of the important aspects of this standard is the need for continual improvement of companies’ Environmental Management System (EMS). This is an important driver to regularly work on the relevance and effectiveness of our actions. A concrete example is the electrification of the company car fleet. We are aiming for 5,000 electric vehicles in 2020, which corresponds to 20% of the fleet.

Furthermore, SAP was the first German company to adopt a Science Based Target (SBT) by 2050. Science Based Targets are objectives adopted by companies in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2°C.

Additionally, it was crucial to commit to 100% renewable energy in order to make our operations more sustainable. Since 2014, SAP covers 100% of its electricity consumption by using renewables. While producing a small amount of that renewable electricity through solar panels in some locations, the rest is bought on the market. The renewable origin of our electricity is proven by renewable energy certificates (RECs).

2. We are happy that SAP implemented renewables into their environmental strategy and that all your purchased renewable energy is EKOenergy certified. What led you to choose EKOenergy?

EKOenergy supports our strategy to opt for 100% green electricity. We were convinced by the approach that, on the one hand, we receive an internationally recognized green electricity label. In addition, SAP supports the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and therefore welcomes the global effort to assure affordable and clean energy. EKOenergy is supporting this goal, because through SAP’s investment in the EKOenergy Climate Fund, we invest in new projects for climate protection and renewable energy.

3. SAP aims for carbon neutrality by the year 2025. What are the next steps to achieve this goal? How do you see the future development of RE100 and other international initiatives?

SAP follows the “Avoid – Reduce – Compensate” approach. The ultimate goal of our activities is to avoid and to reduce CO2 emissions. We continue with our program introduced in 2015 to reduce the impact of air travel by SAP employees. In addition to avoiding business flights by investing in virtual collaboration and communication technologies, we invest in carbon emission offsets for air travel in the majority of countries we travel from by charging an internal carbon price. This offset effort resulted in a compensation of 135 kilotons of CO2 in 2017.

With regards to general future development, we can see innovations in the field of building management (eg. “Intelligent Buildings”, LEED certification, combined heat and power plants / CHP) and an increased use of new IT tools for collaboration. Furthermore the Environmental Management System (ISO14001) and the Energy Management System (ISO50001) have expanded globally.

We thank SAP for being a frontrunner in carbon management, giving example to other large companies, and Marcus Wagner for his time and explanations. EKOenergy is proud to help companies and individuals choose the most sustainable renewable energy sources available on the market. We work everyday to make the transition to 100% renewable easier for everyone.