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SAP works to reduce carbon emission levels by 2020

SAP works to reduce carbon emission levels by 2020

Posting in Energy

For the fifth year in a row, SAP has published its Sustainability Report, accounting for developments and goals around three themes: social, environme...

For the fifth year in a row, SAP has published its Sustainability Report, accounting for developments and goals around three themes: social, environment and economic.

One of SAP's chief goals around the environmental pillar is to reduce its carbon emissions to its year-2000 level by 2020. Unfortunately, 2011 levels rose over 2010, but they still managed to fall below the target for the year anyway.

SAP found more success when it came to reducing office energy usage and costs. The global enterprise decreased its office electricity usage for the third straight year, achieving a 7 percent decline thanks to several energy-efficiency initiatives.

Co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe explained the report that the company's sustainability progress depends upon its employees as much as any other part of the business:

SAP also worked closely with the World Resource Institute to develop a new standard for looking at emissions across the entire value chain – from the hardware that supports our business to the use of our software. These innovations better position us to help our customers integrate sustainability into their own strategies and operations, thereby multiplying our impact.

Nevertheless, total energy usage throughout the company increased in 2011 to 860 gigawatt hours from 845 in 2010, primarily due to a growth in SAP's business. Sometimes when business booms, there are still costs you just can't help.

Inevitably, as SAP continues to grow (as any company hopes to), other environmental costs will too. Yet SAP executives assured in the report that they'll take certain measures to account for this.

For example, the company car fleet increased in 2011 and will likely continue to grow in 2012. Thus, to underscore fuel consumption, SAP is introducing more electric vehicles into the fleet as well as looking into other options for its employees, including car sharing programs and greater flexibility to work from home.

Outside of the environmental scheme, SAP is taking a stand in another way to set itself apart in the technology sector. SAP is aiming to increase the number of women in management at the software solutions provider to 25 percent by 2017.

So far, SAP has made progress as the percentage of women in management increased from 17.8 percent to 18.7 percent over the course of 2011.

Chart via SAP Sustainability Report

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Rachel King

Rachel King is a staff writer for ZDNet. Previously she worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in San Francisco.