/ Z / by Stefan Shaw & Sebastian Schienle

The earth is warming? It’s not on us

We value responsible action – including in areas outside of our immediate spheres of activity, e.g. environmental and climate protection. That’s why Benckiser Stiftung Zukunft is offsetting its CO2 emissions.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Although at first glance the focus of our work is in other areas, such as combating extreme poverty, on closer inspection it is clear that the increase in extreme weather events, particularly drought, has much to do with poverty. It is therefore doubly important that we manage our resources responsibly and do our bit to prevent CO2 emissions. Therefore, since the end of 2015 we have exclusively bought electricity from renewable sources and tried to keep our heating energy consumption as low as possible with intelligent heating control at our two locations.

Despite this, part of our work still involves significant CO2 emissions. Since 2015, we have fully offset these. We are taking the following approach:

  • Heating energy is the leading producer of CO2 emissions at our business premises. (Especially since we switched to green power – we also accounted for our power consumption before.) We report our energy consumption to our service provider atmosfair and they calculate the CO2 level on the basis of the data. To this figure we add a flat premium of 10% as an uncertainty factor in order to make allowance for other sources of emissions such as consumables. (We originally accounted for our water consumption separately. Compared to heating energy, the emissions are so low here that we will also include them in the flat rate in future.)

  • With this approach, we cover our two locations in Munich and Berlin. This includes Eleven in Munich, where we offset both our own emissions and those from the premises of the mentoring organizations located at our offices. In Berlin, the business premises of clarat are also fully included.

  • The overwhelming share of emissions of many organizations are down to business travel. This is also the case with us. As the majority of people working for Benckiser Stiftung Zukunft are employed by Social Impact Consulting GmbH (SIC), that’s where these emissions are accrued. However, SIC also offsets these. For 2015, this includes all flights, train and car journeys as well as hotel stays. We strive to travel by train as much as possible, but flights still account for more than 90% of emissions. (This is also because BahnCard rail passengers travel with green power according to Deutsche Bahn.) In this respect, going forward we will only account for flights on an individual basis and make allowance for additional emissions produced by business travel with a conservative flat premium of 10% on flight emissions.

  • For employees of clarat gGmbH we also account for a flat rate of 200 kg CO2e/year. This is equivalent to a daily distance of 15 km with public transport 220 days a year, and an uncertainty premium of 15%.

Overall, in 2015 we offset almost 54 tCO2e (43 tCO2e in 2014), in addition to the offsetting of business travel at SIC. This offsetting benefited a project in India, which involves subsidizing the sales price of energy-efficient wood gasification ovens. This is especially beneficial for women and children who can now spend less time collecting firewood and are exposed to significantly less smoke during cooking.

We will tackle our emissions in 2016 as soon our lessor sends us our utilities bill.