Preliminary data shows SAP AG's greenhouse gas emissions fell 4 percent in 2010, a year in which its business software sales grew 17 percent.
SAP produced 103 kilatons of greenhouse gas emissions during the fourth quarter, which turned out to be its best quarter in SAP history due to a 35 percent increase in revenue. SAP exceeded its 2010 emissions goal and feels confident it will meet its long-term target of shrinking its carbon footprint to 2000 levels by 2020.
The drop in emissions can be traced to four areas, according to SAP Spokesman Evan Welsh. First, emissions associated with employee commuting dropped 10 percent.
"It shows we're making a concerted effort as a company to carpool and commute smarter, whether it's taking the train, biking to work, or working from home," Welsh said.
SAP's efforts to buy more renewable energy at its worldwide operations contributed about 45 kilatons of emissions reductions. Meanwhile, SAP continued with a range of energy efficiency projects around the world. The company also reduced its business travel, which it had identified as a necessary step to meeting its 2010 goal.
SAP began reporting its emissions on a quarterly basis in 2010 using its own software product called SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand. The process gives it the opportunity to evaluate performance mid-year and correct course if needed. During the third quarter, SAP realized it would have to significantly curtail business travel in the fourth quarter, a typically busy time period.
Business flights increased modestly in the fourth quarter, aided by 29 telepresence units around the world, with another 15 scheduled to be added in the first quarter of 2011. Each unit pays for itself in a year, Welsh said.
The telepresence units have in some cases halved some employees travel. For example, Peter Graf, chief sustainability officer, used to travel from Palo Alto to Germany eight to 12 times a year. Now with telepresence, Graf's annual trips to German headquarters have fallen to three to five times a year.
Image CC licensed by Flickr user Robert S. Donovan.