SAP has announced that it intends its operations to carbon-neutral by the end of 2023 – two years sooner than its previous promise.
The shift in the way the company’s 100,000 global employees people work and restrictions on travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a massive reduction in the company’s climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions.
As a result, SAP was able to exceed its target by 43 percent for reducing net carbon emissions in 2020, generating 135 kilotons (kt) instead of the anticipated 238 kt. By way of comparison, SAP’s emissions in 2019 were 300 kt.
This takes into account all of its direct and indirect emissions, as well as selected emissions arising in the supply chain, including those linked to business flights and travel in rental cars, and third-party data centres.
The results of failing to prevent human-caused global warming by 2030 have been thoroughly outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and include land desertification, ocean acidification, erratic extreme weather events, and more. Climate change has already caused an estimated 150,000 deaths worldwide, according to the WHO.
The company said that in order to best support the 13th Sustainable Development Goal set in 2015 by the UN, it aims to help its more than 400,000 customers worldwide implement climate protection measures through offerings such as the Climate 21 program.
In an interview, SAP’s recently appointed president of APJ Paul Marriot outlined that Asia Pacific is the “largest carbon dioxide polluter in the world, with an estimated 17 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually.” He added, “We aim to onboard the top organisations through 2021 to our Climate 21 initiative in APJ – ‘21 in 21’, to help reduce their carbon footprint.”
SAP said that it is not simply throwing carbon credits at the problem and takes the approach of first avoiding, second reducing and third compensating emissions.
To offset unavoidable emissions, it supports climate projects and works with partners who meet the gold standard advanced by The Gold Standard Foundation or equivalent.
The company has been using 100 percent renewable energy to power all of its data centres since 2014 and offers its customers a ‘green cloud’, it uses only low-energy consumption lighting in offices as well as voice or video communication instead of air travel where possible, and has put an internal carbon price on business flights.
SAP added that its science-based climate target also encompasses the upstream and downstream value chain.