It’s estimated that Earth is home to 3 trillion trees, storing an amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent to nearly a century’s worth of our current annual fossil fuel emissions. But this natural CO2 buffer is in jeopardy as we continue to lose forests at alarming rates.
Reforestation projects have long played a crucial part in storing and removing CO2 from the atmosphere and are one of the keys to a low-carbon future. For more than a decade, climate action has been at the top of SAP’s corporate agenda along with the three other key sustainability focus areas – holistic steering and reporting, circular economy, and social responsibility.
One of the company’s climate goals is to foster biodiversity and nature-based solutions to combat climate change. The 2022 SAP Integrated Report provides transparency on SAP’s financial, social, and environmental performance and targets; information on measures to reduce CO2; and progress on SAP’s journey to achieve net zero along its value chain by 2030. For example, SAP runs all its offices and data centers with 100% renewable electricity, delivers sustainability management solutions to customers, and has financed the planting of more than 15 million trees to date to restore ecosystems and foster sustainable development. Since 2021, SAP has been part of 1t.org, a corporate alliance committed to conserving, restoring, and growing 1 trillion trees by 2030.
Planting trees might sound simple, but reforestation projects must be in harmony with the needs of the local community and ecosystem to avoid doing more harm than good in the long run. This is where scientific tree planting projects have a vital role to play.
Project Highlight: The Carbon Community
Charitable donations from SAP support scientific plots in SAP Forest UK at The Carbon Community, based in Wales, UK.
The Carbon Community’s mission is to optimize nature-based solutions to combat climate change. SAP’s donations have contributed to a landmark carbon study that started two years ago.
This study – the world’s first – investigates how sequestration of CO2 in trees and soil can be accelerated by combining two nature-based climate solutions. This aligns with SAP’s strategy of using nature-based solutions whenever possible to fight climate change.
To be as sure as possible that planted trees deliver the anticipated benefits, SAP works with reputable and experienced partners like The Carbon Community that have been subjected to a rigorous selection and monitoring process.
Other Trusted Partners
SAP’s longest partnership is with Livelihood Carbon Funds (LCF), where SAP investments have funded the planting of over 13 million trees in Senegal, Rwanda, India, Indonesia, Guatemala, and Mexico. These investments with LCF help the environment and the local community while also generating carbon credits.
SAP also donates to charitable organizations, extending support to projects in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Haiti, Indonesia, Nepal, Madagascar, and scientific research in Wales.
Trusted partners must provide transparency on their projects; for example, key metrics, annual reports, and updates such as the SAP Forest Update from The Carbon Community.
For customers, SAP Sustainability solutions offer transparency on environmental and social performance. SAP solutions can record emissions in supply chains, report emissions in a way comparable to standardized reporting, and identify and analyze ways to reduce emissions. SAP Sustainability Footprint Management, for example, is a single solution to help calculate and manage a full range of corporate, value chain, and product-level greenhouse emissions. And, SAP is pioneering a green ledger concept that can allow customers to track the carbon entering and leaving their systems and to balance their “carbon books” in the same way as they balance their financial books.
A Step in the Right Direction
Although cost-effective and essential for all life on earth, it is a gross oversimplification to claim that nature-based solutions alone, such as those proposed by The Carbon Community, or planting 1 trillion trees in the next seven years will fix the global loss of biodiversity and stop climate change.
For this reason, reforestation projects and scientific tree planting projects are just one piece of SAP’s climate action plan, along with reducing its own carbon emissions and enabling customers to accelerate their own net-zero journeys with customer solutions for sustainability.
In terms of numbers, the scientific plots of SAP Forest UK account for less than 1% of the total number of trees planted with support from SAP – but measuring the potential is another matter altogether. If the current field studies facilitated by The Carbon Community are successful and scaled up, that 1% could make an immeasurable difference to how beneficial future reforestation initiatives could be in terms of promoting biodiversity and rates of carbon sequestration.
Science-based research to optimize nature-based solutions , together with SAP Sustainability solutions to combat climate, change is, without doubt, a significant step in the right direction.
Top image courtesy of The Carbon Community