back to article Peak greenwashing: SAP backs oil and gas giants with Accenture partnership, eco-credentials go up in smoke

To coincide with *checks press release* the 11th anniversary of SAP's decision to make sustainability a "long-term strategic goal," the German ERP juggernaut has announced a partnership with consulting and accountancy titan Accenture to develop solutions for upstream oil and gas companies based on the SAP S/4HANA Cloud. The …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If we didn't buy it...

    It's easy to paint the oil companies as totally bad businesses and should be shut down, but a few things to consider:

    1) If we, the public, stopped our demand for carbon fuels and accepted there's be no air travel, very little shipping, reduced public transport and gave up teh majority of cars and driving, they would cut production.

    2) If we, the public, are prepared to forego most use of plastics (which would have a profound effect on most areas of life, especially in the west), they would cut yet more production (and most would close down). Of course, most of the PPE and supplies we currently need to combat the coronavirus come from oil.

    3) The companies we know in the west (Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, etc) are big players but are competing with other big players across the globe. Aramco is bigger than any of these, for example. World production would still continue if the UK/US majors went out of business; the impact on the UK/US would be that we would have no control over production and little influence on supply - not a problem if we roll out lifestyle back 150 years, of course.

    Many years ago, I remember a Greenpeace protest outside a BP office, where the protesters erected solar panels and shouted that BP should produce them - somebody quietly pointed out that BP did produce them (including the ones Greenpeace had) and that BP, at the time, was one of the biggest investors in developing solar energy. They would move totally out of oil if there was a viable alternative to it in the current world.

    Yes, an unpopular view. We must drastically reduce our carbon footprint; we must be more careful about our use and disposal of plastics. But it's a WE, not just THEM. And the IT industry is a heavy user of oil products...

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: If we didn't buy it...

      Absolutely. But the problem is that WE, as in the general public doesn't care enough to pay for inconvenience in order to stop climate change. Government bans, like the one on disposable plastic straws, or taxes, like carbon or fuel taxes are needed.

      Also we Reg-onistas and WE the public don't realize that many of THEM view clean energy as part of their business. They do invest in things like solar and carbon capture in response to government and shareholder initiatives. Whether or not this is self serving, it is a good thing.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: If we didn't buy it...

        Also we Reg-onistas and WE the public don't realize that many of THEM view clean energy as part of their business. They do invest in things like solar and carbon capture in response to government and shareholder initiatives. Whether or not this is self serving, it is a good thing.

        Not necessarily. The renewables industry have heavily invested in extracting subsidies. They've also heavily invested in lobbying. They've also heavily invested in regulatory capture. So as an example of snouts in troughs, the UK has-

        https://www.theccc.org.uk/about/committee-on-climate-change/

        And this person-

        Rebecca Heaton is responsible for Drax Group’s efforts to mitigate climate change, ensuring that sound science underpins climate change polices and business strategy. She is also responsible for developing sustainability and climate change research programmes.

        Drax was a coal power station facing closure, but converted from burning coal to burning forests. And from making money from selling electricity to making money from subsidies, because burning forests is 'sustainable. The government's expert advisors say supporting Drax's business model is 'sustainable', even though the costs of subsidies may not be. But it's not like bill payers get much choice.

        But the recent budget also announced some trough refilling with more money going towards CCS (Carbon Capture & Storage), and Drax has previously benefitted from large CCS bungs.. I mean 'grants'. But then CCS could also be a highly profitable business (or tax on energy) if you happen to have unused gas storage fields kicking around. UK has some of those, some previously owned by that other famous financial engineering company, Enron.

        But there's also competition. Gas prices have crashed due to oversupply, economic warfare and a mild winter. So a possibility of negative prices, which has happened in the past. Then it could be rather handy to stockpile gas, especially given that's needed to generate electricity when the expensive & unreliable 'renewables'.

        But such is politics. UK should have seen large reductions in energy costs due to falling input costs, but that won't happen when the CCC is stacked with self-serving scumbags.

  2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    It's an interesting argument

    Can a company claim carbon neutrality, even if actually true, if their business enables other companies who are not? SAP could be carbon negative, shout it from the roof-tops but still be providing services to non-carbon neutral companies because someone has to and those companies still need to exist, at least in the short and medium terms for the reasons in the first post above.

    It's a bit like selling raw materials that end up in the arms trade through any number of processes and companies in the chain while still rightly claiming not to be in the arms business.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: It's an interesting argument

      At some point, if you're going to take a moral position you have to lose sales, or at least dump any revenue from them into something that mitigates whatever you've enabled.

  3. Androgynous Cow Herd

    Trnslation

    "We will be carbon-neutral by 2025" means "Were going to make so much money we can afford to buy your stupid credits."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cost cutting is energy efficient

    Costs come down to expenditure of energy first hand (burning fuel) or second had (someone else burned the fuel to make the dingdong you just bought) Reducing costs will mean a reduction in energy use, and thus 99% of the time carbon emission. Even if it is the evil empire making the reduction, it is still a reduction.

  5. electricmonk

    Say what?

    It is fair then to assume Accenture and SAP want to make this activity cheaper and easier,

    Let me just stop you there. SAP? And Accenture? Make something cheaper and easier? Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha...

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Say what?

      Let me just stop you there. SAP? And Accenture? Make something cheaper and easier? Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha...

      Tell them you'll pay them by planting trees, in lumber, or just vague offsets. There's already been billions in fraudulent offsetting scams.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "create new revenue opportunities"

    I have a new revenue opportunity for you : make Thorium reactors work.

    Nuclear is not going to go away, not when we all have at least one smartphone, not when electric or hybrid cars are being sold at the rate of half a million a year, going up.

    We are continually pushing the grid to do more and more things. Once, it was just the lights, now its lights, heating, kitchen appliances, computers, handhelds, washing machines, water purifiers, and soon electric cars everywhere.

    We need nuclear, and we need safe nuclear. Thorium is safe. Let's get that running.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: "create new revenue opportunities"

      We need nuclear, and we need safe nuclear. Thorium is safe. Let's get that running.

      Conventional nuclear is also safe. So there's also a lot of promise around SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) such as Royals Royce & others are developing. Naturally the Green lobby is strongly opposed to anything nuclear, even though it's close to zero carbon. But then the Green lobby is generally anti-science.

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