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Waste and Water

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e-waste recycled


municipal waste (non-recycled)

~1.05m m³

in water consumption

Taking a Global Approach

Our waste and water strategy ensures that we minimize the impact SAP has on our environment. By promoting company-wide initiatives, we keep waste out of landfills and reduce the amount of water we use in locations worldwide. A global approach combined with local targets and initiatives ensures that we optimize our environmental performance.

Taking steps to recycle our waste and save water also contributes to our business performance. Through ongoing initiatives at SAP sites, we reduce our operational costs while engaging our employees in our efforts.

Managing Our E-Waste

Our single largest source of waste comes from the data center servers, IT equipment, PCs, peripherals, and range of mobile devices that we use to develop our software. Our servers and IT equipment are either resold or recycled in an environmentally friendly manner depending on their condition. In 2016, we continued our engagement with one of the world’s most sustainable companies as our e-waste disposal partner. This partner adheres to ISO 14001 standards and ensures that we have one uniform disposal process for e-waste. This way we were able to recycle 160 tons of e-waste this year. We plan to expand this recycling process for our servers to our Americas region in 2017.

In addition, we support the reuse of “gently used” IT equipment internally through used-equipment shops in some country locations. A sustainable procurement program complements our waste reduction efforts by offering sustainably produced IT equipment. Besides e-waste, we estimate that we generated approximately 3 kilotons (kt) of waste in our offices, cafeterias, and product packaging worldwide in 2016. The vast decrease compared to 2015 stems primarily from adjusting our extrapolation factor which is used to calculate waste quantities from sites where actual data is not available.

Composting Food Waste

SAP also runs comprehensive recycling programs for cafeterias at its sites worldwide. For example, we process leftover food from our headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, in an external composting plant.

Our SAP Labs location in Bangalore, India, has installed an “organic waste converter.” This recycles organic waste from cafeteria operations into odor-free, homogenized compost. Our cafeterias in Palo Alto, CA, and Newtown Square, PA, in the United States have comprehensive composting programs in place with the byproducts used to fertilize the on-site gardens.

Cutting Down on Landfill Waste

In 2016, we continued to roll out zero waste diversion programs at offices across the globe as part of our ISO 14001 program with specific targets to achieve and maintain landfill diversion at or above 90%. This approach focuses on eliminating the need to send waste to landfill, by changing processes or promoting the reuse of materials.

We reduced our paper usage by almost 30% since 2009 through our global printing optimization initiative. Among other improvements, this sets printers to produce double-sided, black-and-white printouts as a default. This year we have also made significant advances in paperless contracting. By using the SAP Signature Management application from DocuSign to enable electronic signatures, we have been able to handle 31,472 pages of contract, cutting down on paper contracts significantly.

Changing Working Behavior

We have also successfully changed working behavior to significantly reduce the amount of pages that our employees print. A secure pull-printing system requires that employees bring their ID badges to a printing device to activate a job. This makes people think about whether the printout is really needed. With more than 76,000 employees currently using this system, our printing volume has reduced by 15.4 million pages in total since 2014.

SAP employees can access a printing dashboard that shows the company’s progress in reducing paper consumption at global, regional, and country levels.

Using Water Efficiently

While our operations are not water-intensive, we continue to use water as efficiently as possible. As part of our efficiency efforts, we use rain and run-off water for irrigation and toilets in Walldorf, Germany, and other office locations.

A few of our offices are located in areas with significant water scarcity. In locations such as Ra’anana, Israel, or in Bangalore, we have been addressing this issue with dedicated water management efforts. These range from the reuse of treated sewage water to employee awareness campaigns.

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