Purpose and Sustainability
Zero emissions. Zero waste. Zero inequality.
We must act now to achieve the goal of zero waste, zero emissions, and zero inequality.
In line with our purpose, SAP's objective is to create positive economic, environmental, and social impact within planetary boundaries with special focus on climate action, circular economy, social responsibility, and holistic steering and reporting.
In addition to pursuing our own targets, we want to help our customers become more sustainable. We have a portfolio of sustainability solutions to help businesses embed operational, experiential, and financial data and insights to drive sustainability at scale.
Our accelerated journey to net-zero
SAP commits to achieve net-zero along our value chain in line with a 1.5°C future in 2030, 20 years earlier than originally targeted.
Our contribution to the UN SDGs
We share examples of how we contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how we help our customers advance them, too.
Our transparent reporting
Since 2012, SAP has reported our progression from a holistic perspective, covering financial and pre-financial performance as well as social and environmental impact.
We remain firmly committed to leading by example in our efforts to run our business sustainably and report our progress. Equally important is that we share our knowledge with our customers and enable them to achieve their own sustainability goals with our growing portfolio of solutions.
Holistic Steering and ESG Reporting
Explore how we embed economic, social, and environmental impacts into our business decisions and practices.
Transparency builds trust
Integrating environmental, social, and financial performance measurement – positive and negative – is critical to all stakeholders inside and outside SAP.
Energy and environmental management
Discover our environmental and energy management approach for achieving our targets.
Learn about our extended sustainability initiatives, including how we drive socially responsible value chains, promote respect for human rights, and create positive societal impacts.
Ethics and compliance
Find out how we strive to undertake business with integrity by doing the right thing and following both the spirit and the letter of the law in all markets where we operate.
Policies, codes, and commitments
Explore our policies and commitments to employing and safeguarding responsible business practices, based on respecting the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact.
SAP is committed to reducing the world's carbon footprint.
SAP is committed to achieve net-zero along our value chain in line with a 1.5°C future in 2030, 20 years earlier than originally targeted. Building on its carbon reduction journey since 2009, SAP became a member of the Science Based Targets initiative and was the first German company with a science-based carbon reduction target for 2050 back in 2017. In 2019, SAP raised its commitment and adopted a 1.5° C science-based emissions reduction target.
On our pathway towards net-zero, the next intermediate milestone is 2023, when SAP aims to be carbon neutral in its own operations – two years earlier than originally targeted.
Reduced carbon emissions
Our reporting shows that in 2020, SAP was able to overachieve by 43% on its target for net carbon emissions in 2020, generating 135 kilotons instead of the anticipated 238 kilotons. This trend continued in 2021, during which SAP’s carbon emissions totaled 110 kilotons.
The low emissions level is a consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the introduction of Pledge to Flex, which enables a more flexible mix of remote and onsite work.
Our potential for decarbonization can be amplified considerably if we enhance our efforts along the entire value chain. In 2020, carbon emissions amounted to 12.300 kt along SAP’s entire value chain (including upstream and downstream emissions) compared to 135 kt net emissions for SAP’s own operations. We have started setting up a cross-company program involving experts from different lines of business to prepare for our net-zero transformation.
On our pathway towards net-zero, the next intermediate milestone is 2023, when SAP aims to be carbon neutral in its own operations. This includes all direct (Scope 1), indirect (Scope 2), and selected categories of value chain (Scope 3) carbon emissions, such as business flights, employee commuting, and external data centers (co-locations and hyperscalers).
To become carbon neutral in its own operations by 2023, SAP is following a three-pillar approach:
- Avoid: Whenever possible, SAP aims to avoid the creation of greenhouse gases.
- Reduce: If greenhouse gas emissions cannot be avoided, SAP aims to drive efficiency and reduce all types of emissions; for example, building efficiency, data center operations, carpooling and car sharing, and e-mobility.
- Compensate: SAP has extended its compensation models for travel. If greenhouse gas emissions cannot be eliminated altogether, SAP aims to reduce them through innovations in the areas of building efficiency, data center operations, carpooling, and car sharing, as well as e-mobility.
Integrating Climate Action End to End
Learn how SAP is tackling climate action by embedding sustainability into its portfolio and across its purpose, strategy, and operations.
SAP Activity at COP26, a Turning Point in History
Get the details on SAP activity at COP26, where SAP made several announcements over the period, communicating the company’s commitment to sustainability.
SAP Accelerates Its Move to an Emission-Free Car Fleet
SAP is accelerating its move to an emission-free car fleet in 2025, doubling down on its sustainability efforts.
Enhancing Sustainability with People and Technology
As part of its commitment to climate protection, SAP has added the goal of planting 21 million trees by the end of 2025.
Rethinking business processes across the entire supply and value chain will protect our planet, its species, and our collective prosperity.
A Cleaner Ocean
Our waste and water strategy aims to continuously reduce SAP’s impact on the environment. By promoting company-wide initiatives, we strive to generate less waste and reduce the amount of water we use in locations worldwide. A global approach combined with local targets and initiatives allow for optimizing 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.
SAP has committed itself to address plastic pollution, both as enabler and exemplar. We made a commitment with our customers to strive for a dramatically cleaner ocean by 2030 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, alongside the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, and Global Plastic Action Partnership.
Our electrical and electronic waste comes from data center servers and from IT equipment including PCs, peripherals, and mobile devices. In multiple SAP locations, we cooperate with international and local e-waste disposal partners to refurbish and recycle our e-waste.
This close collaboration helps us to establish a more distinguished reporting that enables us to see more precisely what type of end-of-life treatment was applied to our disposed IT assets and devices.
Reduced paper usage
We reduced our paper usage by 80% (over 66 million pages) since 2009, despite a 115.3% increase in employee headcount over the same period.
We also continued our approach of paperless contracting. By using the SAP Signature Management application by DocuSign, which enables electronic signatures, we were able to cut down the printing of paper-based contracts by more than 224,000 pages in 2020 (2019: about 205,000 pages – considering the same procurement contract types as in 2020).
Reduced plastics consumption
Single-use plastic is one of the greatest contributors to waste on the planet. To minimize its everyday use, SAP has dramatically changed its buying habits and practices over the last two years. A global pandemic, manufacturers’ packaging that was beyond SAP’s control, and varying recycling regulations from local governments were just some of the challenges the project faced.
- SAP rolled-out a digital reusable food packaging system for takeout, delivery, and convenience in all SAP locations with a canteen in Germany and piloted the first two single-use plastic-free cafeteria kiosks at SAP’s headquarters in Walldorf.
- At SAP locations in the United States and Canada, “Sustainability on the Go” kits with reusable utensils were distributed among the employees.
- SAP introduced the ‘Too Good to Go’ app in Germany. For a small fee, employees can pick up leftover lunches from the cafeterias to fight food waste.
- At SAP Mexico, the amount of waste segregation stations was further expanded: a QR code on each waste bin helps employees separate their waste in a correct manner.
- SAP Philippines implemented hazardous waste management practices to ensure the correct handling and disposal of hazardous materials included in batteries, broken light bulbs, electronics, etc.
- In the data centers of our headquarters, we use adiabatic cooling as well as a closed water circuit to minimize water consumption for cooling our server racks. At our headquarters and other office locations, we use rain and run-off water for irrigation and toilets.
- SAP chose a strong disposal service provider: SIMS Lifecycle Service (SLS), who is managing e-waste safely and sustainably, taking care of data medium destruction, and maximizing all efforts on reuse, resale, and recycling.
Transition to Reconnection: What Would You Change with a Sustainability Power?
Hear Emily Penn, ocean advocate and co-founder of eXXpedition, share with SAP CEO Christian Klein why plastics are accumulating in our oceans and how SAP technology helps pinpoint their origin, educate the public, and find solutions that drive lasting and sustainable change.
Awards and Recognition
Top Scores in DJSI and Carbon Disclosure Project
SAP received a spot on the prestigious CDP A list, which announces the over 300 companies leading the way to a more sustainable future. This rating comes only weeks after SAP was named the software industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for the 15th consecutive year.
Acknowledging SAP’s Steps to Tackle Climate and Social Challenges
In this article, learn why SAP’s efforts to tackle climate and social challenges have been recognized by many of the most trusted business sustainability organizations.
Awarded Terra Carta Seal for Commitment to Sustainability
SAP is one of an inaugural group of 44 companies awarded the Terra Carta Seal. The seal is given to industry-leading companies that have credible transition road maps to achieve net zero by 2050 or earlier underpinned by globally recognized scientific metrics.
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