We are already into the third year of the Climate Decade, and it is imperative for organizations to start transitioning to 100% renewable electricity as early as possible. Switching to 100% renewable electricity not only helps organizations mitigate the looming threat of climate change, but it also makes them more resilient to rising energy costs. A study by the International Renewable Energy Agency states that “doubling the share of renewables in the energy mix by 2030 would increase global GDP by up to 1.1%, improve welfare by up to 3.7%, and support over 24 million jobs in the sector.”
RE100, a global initiative led by the Climate Group in partnership with the CDP, unifies companies with an annual electricity demand over 100,000 megawatt hours that are committed to 100% renewable electricity. These businesses must match 100% of their electricity used globally with renewable sources by 2050. Renewable energy can either be produced in-house or be procured from suppliers and generators in the form of green tariffs, power purchase agreements (PPAs), and energy attribute certificates (EACs). However, to avoid greenwashing, it is important that the credibility of the energy produced and purchased is validated by quality labels through strict sustainability criteria.
In 2013, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation in collaboration with other environmental NGOs launched EKOenergy, an international not-for-profit ecolabel for energy, envisioning a world where energy is generated and consumed sustainably. EKOenergy aims at helping businesses speed up the transition to 100% renewable energy through the EKOenergy label, an internationally recognized mark of quality for renewable energy. The EKOenergy label is described by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, LEED for green buildings, CDP, and RE100 as a solution for companies that want to take a step towards 100% renewable energy. EKOenergy was also awarded the European Citizen’s Prize 2020 by the European Parliament in March 2021.
The label acts as a communication tool to demonstrate companies’ commitments towards renewable energy. EKOenergy’s secretariat annually checks if all labeled megawatt hours are reliably tracked and if EKOenergy’s additional sustainability criteria have been fulfilled. These annual audits are based on reliable proofs, such as documents issued by public authorities or reliable third-party certification organizations. The label ensures that the production and the consumption of the energy takes place in the same market. EKOenergy-labeled energy is always 100% renewable.
The EKOenergy ecolabel adds a positive impact to consumers’ renewable energy choice and can be combined with energies procured through green tariffs, PPAs, or unbundled energy certificates. It can also be used on energies that are produced in-house. Since the launch of the label, EKOenergy has aided disadvantaged communities by financing 79 new renewable energy projects in 29 developing countries through its Climate Fund.
“In many countries, EKOenergy was amongst the first to endorse renewable energy solutions to businesses that are looking for sustainable solutions. SAP is a good example of this,” Steven Vanholme, program manager at EKOenergy, says. “In 2016, when EKOenergy became available in China, EKOenergy worked with SAP to identify renewable energy solutions in China. This, in turn, helped and encouraged us to focus more on Asia, to translate parts of our texts to Chinese and other Asian languages, and to reach out to more local companies.”
With sustainability at the heart of its strategy, SAP has already identified and aligned existing initiatives with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainability Development Goals. SAP is committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce emissions by 85% by 2050 compared to the base-year level 2016, including its entire Scope 3 value chain emissions such as products-in-use emissions at customers. SAP has further accelerated its climate ambitions by committing to become a net-zero emissions enterprise by 2030, achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out.
SAP has been using 100% renewable electricity to power all its data centers and offices since 2014. In the journey to 100% renewable electricity, SAP chose the internationally recognized EKOenergy label. For each megawatt hour of EKOenergy-labeled electricity, SAP contributes 0.10€ to EKOenergy’s Climate Fund, which focuses on alleviating energy poverty and contributing to climate protection and renewable energy.