SAP is absolutely one of the more transparent companies in high-tech when it comes to corporate sustainability initiatives, and its 2010 sustainability report offers a great example.
If you visit the site's page specific to energy efficiency (one of SAP's biggest success stories), you will discover that in 2010, the company used 791 gigawatt-hours of electricity, down from 808 gigawatt-hours in 2009. It did this despite a growth of more than 2,000 in headcount, which puts the kibosh on those who argue there is always a direct relationship between adding employees and increasing electricity use.
About 48 percent of that amount is generated via renewable energy; there are more than 650 solar panels at the SAP site in Palo Alto, Calif. Between those panels and the innovations in free cooling and direct current power usage that SAP has introduced, on a good day the company can take the data center at that site off the grid entirely.
The graphic below isn't live, but it gives you an idea of how much of SAP's sustainability data is reported.
Another big metric that is vitally important for any IT company: Its data center energy consumption. SAP reduced overall data center power usage to 134 gigawatt hours in 2010, off from 147 gigawatt hours. Its kilowatt-hours-consumption-per-employee metric is 2,763 kilowatt-hours, down from 3,038 kilowatt-hours. Approximately 49 percent of its servers now use virtualization software, compared with 37 percent in 2009.
Overall, the company decommissioned more than 2,700 older, less energy-efficient servers in 2010. By 2012, SAP is shooting to have 80 percent of its entire "IT landscape" virtualized.