On its Web site, the German software giant SAP likes to promote its commitment to "open government", clean environment, and economic sustainability: all admirable goals. So it came as something of a surprise to learn that SAP was a huge financial support of ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council), the lobbying organization of the Tea Party in the United States, backed by the Koch brothers. ALEC attempts to impose its extreme right-wing agenda state by state; its policies include denial of climate change, abolishing any restrictions on guns, and voter suppression legislation to deny poor minorites the right to vote. These objectives are diametrically opposed to the corporate values espoused by SAP.
Last month Manager Magazin exposed SAP's backing of ALEC: Wie SAP in den USA rechte politische Hardliner unterstützt ("How SAP is Supporting Right-Wing Hardliners in the US"). The reporter pointed out the discrepancy between SAP's values and its lobbying efforts in the US:
SAP kommt durch sein Engagement bei Alec ebenfalls in Rechtfertigungsdruck, denn Aktivitäten der Organisation widersprechen eigenen Unternehmenswerten. Die Walldorfer wollen nach eigenen Angaben den zehn universell anerkannten Prinzipien des Global Compact aus den Bereichen Menschenrechte, Arbeitsnormen, Umweltschutz und Korruptionsbekämpfung der UNO gerecht werden. In Punkt neun heißt es: "Unternehmen sollen die Entwicklung und Verbreitung umweltfreundlicher Technologien beschleunigen."
("SAP is under pressure to justify its engagement with ALEC, for the group's activities contradict the software firm's own values. The Walldorf company, according to its own information, supports the ten universally-recognized principles of the UN's Global Compact in the areas of human rights, worker rights, environmental protection and combatting corruption. Article 9 reads: "Corporations are committed to acceleratiing the development and distribution of environmentally-friendly technologies.)
Shortly after the Manager Magazin article appeared, SAP announced it was following the decision of Google, Yahoo and other US tech companies and severing its ties with ALEC:
"The spokeswoman told Manager that the company abandoned ALEC because of its "merkwürdigen" (odd) positions -- such as its support for Stand Your Ground laws, climate denial, and opposition to solar energy deployment. Germany's state-supported solar-power renaissance is in stark contrast to the United States, in no small part because of the work ALEC has done for decades to oppose renewable energy.
SAP, which touts its sustainability leadership, is a major producer of smart-grid and energy-efficiency solutions. Unlike ALEC, SAP is unambiguous about the threat of fossil-fueled climate change, saying that "with the dangers and costs of global warming and rising carbon dioxide levels, and it's clear that increased energy efficiency is an absolute must.""
That is good news. Now pressure should be put on Bayer AG, Boehringer-Ingelheim and T-Mobil to follow SAP's lead and cut funding to this "cancer on the democratic process" in America