Climate change represents the greatest challenge that humanity has faced since the end of the Ice Age and it is the overriding assignment for those of us alive at this time. The consequences of global warming are becomingly increasingly tangible and the pressure on politicians and companies is becoming ever greater – not least through the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement. Experts around the world now agree that we urgently need to adopt measures to counter climate change, which has been caused by human activities.
Whether we manage to reduce emissions or not largely depends on the voluntary and consistent actions by the economies in industrial countries. We at GETT Gerätetechnik GmbH are therefore prepared to take responsibility for the world that we will leave behind for our children and grandchildren.
This is the reason why we have had the greenhouse gas emissions, which we cause through our company’s activities, documented and have offset them by collectively purchasing 1,960 climate protection certificates for the years 2023 and 2024. We are using these certificates to support a solar power project in China and a hydroelectric power project in India, which have been certified under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
We are fully aware of our special responsibility towards future generations as a corporation and have therefore acted in this way. We have had the climate-relevant impact of our company measured with the help of the ECO-Cockpit from the NRW Efficiency Agency and Fokus Zukunft GmbH & Co. KG has checked its plausibility: our CO2 footprint amounts to 799 tons of CO2-equivalent harmful substances per annum. To illustrate this: on average, one person in Germany causes about 11.6 tons of CO2 through their lifestyle every year.
Greenhouse gases spread evenly through the atmosphere. It therefore makes sense to prevent the emissions where the costs are lowest. Projects in developing countries also play a role in improving the economic, social and ecological situation there and support the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The emissions trading system is a major driving force for transferring clean technologies and developing economies in emerging countries so that they are geared towards sustainability.
The greenhouse gas balance sheet available to us provides a transparent summary of the greenhouse gas emissions that our corporation produces. The report therefore forms an important building block in our commitment to uphold climate protection. Our company is now described as ‘climate-neutral’ on the basis of the figures that have been documented and because we have purchased the relevant number of climate certificates. We have obtained the “climate-neutral company” award by compensating for our greenhouse gases.
The international community has agreed that it is necessary to restrict global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius – ideally to 1.5 degrees – in order to prevent catastrophic consequences. However, the current pledges made by individual countries are only sufficient to restrict global warming to a maximum figure of 4 degrees. In order to close this ambitious gap, there is a need for corporations and the general public to demonstrate additional and significant commitment to this project. We have recognized that voluntary reductions in emissions and compensation for unavoidable emissions are essential in order to be able to counter climate change effectively. We have therefore decided to neutralize our CO2 emissions and want to do this as our contribution towards creating a future that is worth living. After all, we do not just want to analyze the problems, but also tackle them and provide solutions.
The CO2 footprint is the unit of measurement for the quantity of greenhouse gases (measured in CO2 equivalents), which accrue directly and indirectly through the activities of an individual, a corporation, an organization or a product. It includes the emissions caused by raw materials, production, transportation, commerce, usage, recycling and disposal. The basic idea behind the CO2 footprint or carbon footprint is therefore to create a foundation for measuring, assessing and comparing factors that affect our climate. It is then possible to recognize the reduction potential that is required, draw up suitable measures and assess their effectiveness. The CO2 footprint of a company is described as a corporate carbon footprint and the CO2 footprint of a product is known as a product carbon footprint.
In line with the principle of the “Clean Development Mechanism” described in the Kyoto Protocol, any greenhouse gases, which develop at one location on earth and cannot be prevented, should be saved by climate protection projects at a different place. In order to finance them, corporations purchase certificates for appropriate climate protection projects from the six available project sectors (biomass, cooking stoves, solar energy, forest protection, hydroelectric power and wind energy). Each certificate represents 1 ton of CO2, which is saved by the relevant project. There are numerous climate protection projects around the globe and most of them support renewable energy projects. The initiators of these projects receive emission credits for their involvement and they can be traded in the form of climate protection certificates. The amount of credits is measured, for example, by comparing the emissions that would have been triggered by constructing a coal-fired power station.
We commissioned the external sustainability consultancy firm, Fokus Zukunft, to calculate our footprint. The emissions balance sheet was calculated using the official principles contained in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
The emissions are divided into Scopes 1, 2 and 3 within the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and each of these scopes covers various types of greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 1 involves direct emissions from a company’s own energy facilities. Scope 2 records emissions that are indirectly created when making available energy to the corporation. Scope 3 emissions are other indirect emissions that occur in the overall value creation chain.
The seven main greenhouse gases – i.e. carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), dinitrogen monoxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) – which are stipulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and in the Kyoto Protocol, are all included when calculating the greenhouse gas emissions.
Not each of the seven main greenhouse gases has an equally negative effect. Methane, for example, causes 21 times more damage to the climate than CO2, while dinitrogen monoxide is 310 times more harmful and sulfur hexafluoride is even 14,000 times more destructive. In order to compare the emissions with each other, all the greenhouse gases are therefore converted into CO2. Experts then talk about CO2 equivalents.
The consumption data that is collected (e.g. electricity consumption or fuel consumption) is converted using emissions factors, which specify the emissions per unit (e.g. per kilowatt/hour of electricity or liter of gas). The emissions factors mainly stem from DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), but also from the GEMIS database (Global Emission Model for Integrated Systems, IINAS) or from the Ecoinvent database and they are regularly updated.
The initiators of climate protection projects – which are mainly renewable energy projects – receive emissions credits for their involvement in the scheme and they can be traded in the form of climate protection certificates. The amount of the carbon offset is measured, for example, by comparing the emissions that would have been generated by constructing a coal-fired power station instead of generating renewable electricity.
The climate protection projects, which we have purchased, are each accredited, approved and monitored by 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, which has been developed by the WWF. The validation of the project results, related to the savings in CO2 that have been achieved, is authenticated by independent testing bodies, like the German TÜV organization, for example.
The numbers of CO2 certificates purchased are taken out of circulation. This is important because this removal from circulation is the prerequisite for organizing and marketing CO2-neutral companies and/or products. If this does not happen, it would be possible to continue trading a CO2 certificate in the voluntary market system and this would not create any additional reduction in emissions.
We have provided compensation for the years 2023 and 2024 through purchasing 1,960 climate protection certificates. We are supporting a solar power project in China and a hydroelectric power project in India through these certificates and both of these schemes have been certified under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Climate change is a global problem, so that it is not important where the CO2 emissions are produced or saved – at the end of the day, the total number of greenhouse gases is the crucial factor. Reducing or compensating for CO2 is a very expensive procedure in Germany; however, the compensation process is cheaper in developing countries. The Kyoto Protocol, which is a binding document under international law, has therefore stipulated that so-called climate protection projects, which prevent or store greenhouse gas emissions, should be used where they are most cost-effective. In line with this, there are many projects in developing countries, as the potential for making savings through new technologies is very high there and the costs of using them are far lower. The conditions for using renewable energy facilities (sun, wind, water and biomass) are often much more favorable there too. The projects in developing countries also help improve the economic, social and ecological situation there and support the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Emissions trading is a major driving force for transferring clean technologies to developing countries and for economic expansion that it is geared towards sustainability.
1. It makes a contribution to the goals set by the German government, the European Union and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations.
2. It creates an awareness in employees, suppliers and customers about how to handle finite resources. This triggers a positive change in handling energy and other resources within the corporation and in people’s everyday lives.
3. It provides access to the “sustainable corporations” growth market. We can make our mark in our market segment thanks to our “climate-neutral” status.
4. It currently enables us to act as a pioneer and, as a result, our corporation is viewed as forward-looking, innovative, partner-like and future-oriented.
5. It promotes an awareness of the energy revolution.
6. Thanks to our status as a climate-neutral company, the firm becomes a partner for its customers in the topic areas that have been mentioned here.