“Invest in Our Planet” is the theme for Earth Day 2022. Looking at the state of the planet, urgent investment to restore and preserve it is indeed needed.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) alarming Sixth Assessment Report on Mitigation of Climate Change was the latest reminder and wake-up call. It shows that we are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5-degree limit agreed in Paris and “on track toward an unlivable world,” as António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations, put it.
“Major cities under water. Unprecedented heatwaves. Terrifying storms. Widespread water shortages. The extinction of a million species of plants and animals.” This is how Guterres described the climate disaster toward which we are heading.
Amid global turbulence and with our minds focused on the unjustified war and human tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, it has been difficult to additionally take note of the latest warnings of the climate crisis that we continue to face. Yet, both crises put a spotlight on the world’s continued reliance on fossil fuels and the connected risks and threats. Accelerating the demand for and shift to renewable energy is clearly required. This is one of the investment areas that the IPCC points out.
This Earth Day, it is up to all of us to reflect on what our contribution to “investing in our planet” is and what we can do more — be it to foster the energy transition or to take other actions propelling us forward to a more just and peaceful world respecting people and planet.
On a very personal level, I have installed a solar system in my private home, which is also connected to the charging station for my electric car that I switched to since 2014. As chief sustainability officer at SAP, I have the privilege to work with our leadership, Sustainability Council, the growing network of sustainability-focused teams, our sustainability champions, and all of our more than 100,000 employees to leverage the company’s reach and resources to “invest in our planet.” We team up to improve SAP’s economic, social, and environmental impact within the planetary boundaries — across our own operations as well as our entire value chain.
Some of our highlights moving into 2022 include launching the SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprise to help our customers holistically manage their sustainability performance. We also enhanced the power and scale of our global sustainability ecosystem by adding new partnerships with Boston Consulting Group and Bearing Point, among others. Most recently, we formed with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation a Circular Economy partnership to deliver regenerative business and joined the Partnership for Carbon Transparency (PACT) under the leadership of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in order to foster cross-industry transparency on greenhouse gas emissions and corporate climate accountability.
Next to intensifying diverse, multi-stakeholder, and cross-industry collaboration to scale planetary solutions faster, we have also accelerated our commitment to net-zero at SAP. SAP now aims to achieve net-zero along our value chain in line with a 1.5°C future in 2030 — 20 years earlier than originally targeted. It’s bold. But I am convinced that it’s the right thing to do.
As always, it will require team effort, with internal stakeholders as much as with customers, suppliers, partners, NGOs, and many more. We are in this together.
This Earth Day 2022, I would like to acknowledge the power of collaboration. While I echo Earthday.org’s call on all of us “to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably),” I also want to express my gratitude to all people inside and outside the extended SAP family and ecosystem for all that they do to shape a more sustainable, regenerative, and inclusive future. As important as it is to step up further, it is also crucial to recognize the hard work many already invest in our planet. Thank you! Let’s take this as inspiration for more to come and for more to join.
Daniel Schmid is chief sustainability officer of SAP SE.