The international community has agreed that global warming must be limited to below 2 degrees Celsius - or even better still to 1.5 degrees - to prevent catastrophic consequences. However, the current pledges made by individual states are only sufficient to limit global warming to a maximum of 4 degrees. Closing this ambition gap will require additional and substantial commitment from businesses and citizens. We have recognized that voluntary emission reductions and the compensation of unavoidable emissions are essential to effectively counteract climate change. That is why we have decided to neutralize our CO2 emissions and thus want to make a contribution to a future worth living. Because we not only want to analyze the problems, but also tackle and solve them.
The carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of greenhouse gases (measured in CO₂ equivalents) produced directly and indirectly, through an activity of an individual, a company, an organization or a product. It includes the resulting emissions from raw materials, production, transport, trade, use, recycling and disposal. The basic idea behind the carbon footprint is therefore to create a basis on which influences on the climate can be measured, evaluated and compared. In this way, necessary reduction potentials can be identified, measures developed and their effectiveness evaluated.
The company carbon footprint (which is the carbon footprint measured and compensated at our company right now) is the carbon footprint of the amount of greenhouse gases (measured in CO₂ equivalents) produced directly and indirectly, through an activity of a company. The product carbon footprint does the same for the products. We will measure the footprint of our products in the near future.
According to the principle of the "Clean Development Mechanism" described in the Kyoto Protocol, greenhouse gases that are emitted in one place on earth and cannot be avoided should be saved by climate protection projects in another place. To finance these, companies buy certificates for corresponding climate protection projects from the six available project sectors (biomass, cooking stoves, solar energy, forest protection, hydropower and wind energy). Each certificate represents 1 ton of CO2 saved by the respective project. There are numerous climate protection projects worldwide, most of which support renewable energy projects. The initiators of these projects receive emission credits for their commitment, which can be traded in the form of climate protection certificates. The amount is measured, for example, by comparing it with the emissions that would have resulted from the construction of a coal-fired power plant.
We commissioned the external sustainability consulting firm Fokus Zukunft to calculate our company's footprint. The emissions balance was calculated using the official Greenhouse Gas Protocol guidelines.
Within the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, emissions are divided into Scopes 1, 2 and 3, each of which covers different types of greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 1 includes direct emissions from own energy plants. Scope 2 includes emissions that are indirectly caused by the provision of energy to the company. Scope 3 emissions are other indirect emissions that occur along the entire value chain.
The calculation of greenhouse gas emissions includes the seven main greenhouse gases defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
Not all of the seven main greenhouse gases are equally effective. Methane, for example, is 21 times more harmful to the climate than CO2, nitrous oxide 310 times and sulphur hexafluoride even 14,000 times. In order to compare the emissions, all greenhouse gases are therefore converted to CO2. These are then referred to as CO2 equivalents.
The conversion of the collected consumption data (e.g. electricity consumption or fuel consumption) is done by using emission factors, which indicate the emissions per unit (e.g. per kilowatt hour of electricity or liter of petrol). The emission factors mainly come from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), but also from the GEMIS database (Global Emissions Model of Integrated Systems, IINAS) as well as from the Ecoinvent database and are regularly updated.
The initiators of climate protection projects - mainly renewable energy projects - receive emission credits for their commitment, which can be traded in the form of climate protection certificates. The amount of emission compensation is measured, for example, by comparing it with the emissions that would have resulted from the construction of a coal-fired power plant instead of generating renewable electricity.
The climate protection projects we purchase are accredited, approved and controlled according to one of the three internationally recognized certification standards - VCS (Verified Carbon Standard), UN CER (Certified Emission Reduction of the United Nations) or the Gold Standard developed by WWF. The validation of the project results, in terms of the CO2 savings achieved, is certified by independent inspection agencies such as the German TÜV.
The purchased number of CO2 certificates will be decommissioned. This is important because this decommissioning is a prerequisite for the design and marketing of CO2-neutral companies and/or products. Without decommissioning, a CO2 certificate could possibly continue to be traded on the voluntary market, which would not result in any additional reduction in emissions.
We support a reforestation project in South America, Uruguay, which has been certified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). You can find the exact project descriptions at: