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SAP Sustainability Report: GHGs Up 8%, But Down 6% Relative to Sales

Software corporation SAP emitted eight percent more greenhouse gases in 2011 than 2010, its first year-on-year rise in such emissions since 2007, but its emissions per euro of revenue were down six percent, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report.

In 2011, the company emitted 490 kTons of CO2, up from 453 kTons in 2010. This figures still beats the company’s stated 2011 target of 501 kTons and, SAP says, keeps it on track to meet its 2020 target of 336 kTons. SAP’s emissions per employee rose by about four percent in 2011.

SAP attributes the increase in absolute emissions to business growth and, in particular, singles out increased business travel. Company revenues increased from €9.8 billion ($13 billion) in 2010 to €11.3 billion in 2011. In May 2011, the company reported a Q1 2011 rise in greenhouse gas emissions and attributed it to staff increases.

In 2012, the company plans to reduce emissions by focusing on business flights, employee commuting habits, renewable energy and data center projects. For example, SAP says it is “investing heavily” in technology such as video conferencing and online meeting platforms to cut back on business travel. The company says it will look into employee ride sharing programs next year.

SAP’s energy consumption increased 2 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the report. In 2011 the company used 860 GWh of energy, up from 843 GWh in 2010. In 2009 the company use 862 GWh.

SAP attributes the 2010-2011 energy consumption growth primarily to a growth in business, but the company claims that it also increased efficiency over that time period. For example, while the number of cars in the SAP corporate fleet increased, the fleet’s total fuel consumption did not.

In 2011, 48.3 percent of the energy consumed by the company was used by corporate cars, 17.9 percent by data centers and 16.5 percent by electricity for buildings. From 2009 to 2011 the proportions of energy consumed by different energy uses have stayed fairly constant with the exception of building electricity and purchased heating and cooling.

From 2010 to 2011 SAP reported a seven percent decrease in office electricity use, continuing a trend of the past several years. SAP achieved a seven percent reduction in electricity usage in 2009 over 2008 and a nine percent reduction in 2010 over 2009, the report says.

The amount of energy used for purchased heating and cooling jumped from 9 GWh in 2010 to 23 GWh in 2011, a 150 percent increase. SAP did not supply any reasons why this increase occurred.

In 2011, SAP started using enhanced facility management software that it says improved its ability to monitor energy and carbon in its 350 facilities worldwide. The company can now analyze energy use from all its locations on a quarterly basis.

SAP’s use of renewable energy increased from 45 percent of its total electricity usage in 2010 to 47 percent in in 2011. Some 35 percent of SAP’s total electricity came from hydro electricity, 10 percent from wind and solar and two percent from other renewable sources. Thirteen percent of its electricity came from nuclear energy and 40 percent from fossil fuels.

In 2011 SAP says a number of its locations began transitioning to renewable energy. Its Bangalore, India, facility began buying hydro-electric power from a private vendor. The company’s headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, has solar panels that feed the local grid, and also buys electricity from a local utility that sources from hydro. The HQ sources 50 percent of its power from renewable sources.

In 2012, the company plans to source 54 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

SAP compiled the reporting using the G3.1 guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative. GRI confirmed that the report met requirements for application level A+.

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