Companies are increasingly advertising climate neutrality as part of their marketing strategies. However, it is usually not known exactly what this means and what preliminary work has to be done. For the end consumer, however, sustainable purchasing criteria are becoming increasingly important.
About the strategy
The goal of any voluntary offset is climate neutrality. But what does this mean exactly?
In most cases, CO2 emissions within the business operations of a company or a municipality are hardly avoidable. Industrial production processes, delivery and distribution chains based on the public transport network, with the inclusion of government infrastructures - in every step there is an emission output that is hardly avoidable. The creation of a climate strategy is the first structured step on the way to climate neutrality. This defines internally which business units, individual segments, products or even processes are to be made climate neutral. If, for example, the entire company is to become climate neutral, all its underlying emissions must be calculated - i.e., both inward and outward processes. This also includes emissions from areas such as administration. The company is called upon to credibly examine every step of its operations, even if no generally applicable rules or control procedures have existed in this area to date. A distinction is made between upstream and downstream emissions.
Upstream and downstream emissions are recorded.
Behind the second step is the exact calculation of the emission quantity from the previously defined areas. At this point, it must be mentioned that the calculation of CO2 alone is not sufficient here. All greenhouse gases that have a significant effect on climate change should be included in the climate balance. According to the Kyoto Protocol, these include the gases CH4 (methane), N2O (nitrous oxide), SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride), HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) and PFCs (perfluorocarbons) as relevant greenhouse gases to be determined.
Reliable data for reliable results
Transparent documentation and plausible data collection from all business areas is a time-consuming but absolutely necessary task, provided it is then to be set against a credible emission quantity for compensation. Once all quantities have been recorded, the emission facts can be assigned. Here, the Federal Environment Agency helps with reliable data. The result then provides a concrete climate balance and concrete values, which can serve as orientation for compensation payments.
If only parts or individual steps of the company are to be broken down in a climate-neutral way, CO2 calculators can also help to determine the corresponding emission quantities. More on the topic of CO2 calculators.