We want net zero: Vanillaplan is now climate neutral

From the initial calculation of our carbon footprint to the final offsetting of all our emissions through a certified climate protection project - together with the climate protection organisation ClimatePartner, we have gone through all the steps to fully offset our corporate emissions. Because it is important to us to do business in a sustainable way.

Determining the corporate carbon footprint, reducing emissions in a targeted manner and offsetting the unavoidable through climate protection projects - this is how ClimatePartner's climate protection strategy can be summarised. This holistic approach convinced us. And after all the reduction measures, we ended up with 8288 kilograms of offset emissions and a climate protection project that promotes the expansion of renewable energies in Asia. But let's take it one step at a time.

Together with ClimatePartner: Our climate protection strategy in five steps

Step 1: Determine the corporate carbon footprint

The first step was, of course, to get the facts on the table. To do this, we determined our corporate carbon footprint (CCF) in a first step. This indicates the amount of total emissions caused by Vanillaplan from January to December 2022. For this procedure, ClimatePartner provides a special cloud-based software through which we were able to enter our data. According to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the emission sources are divided into Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3.

At this point, a little background knowledge:

Scope 1 includes all directly generated emissions, Scope 2 all indirect emissions through purchased energy, e.g. electricity consumption. Scope 3 refers to emissions indirectly caused by the company's activities along the value chain, such as business trips or employee travel.

Once all our data had been entered, it was converted into CO2 equivalents so that we had a good overview of both the level of our emissions and the scope to which they could be assigned. As we had our CO2 balance in mind from the outset, the level of our emissions was comparatively moderate:

At 0.3 per cent, the share of directly generated emissions in our overall CO2 balance is very small - after all, we have hardly any direct production emissions.

At just under one third, indirect emissions account for a significantly higher proportion. This is mainly due to the heating of our offices - even though we wear thick jumpers to the office in winter.

At almost 70 per cent, the emissions caused along the value chain are clearly the most significant for us. Since we are an IT company and also handle most of our marketing and sales online, electronic devices and upstream energy-related emissions are a big factor for us. Even though we all come to the office by public transport, on foot, by bike or by Vespa, home office is an established concept and business trips are the exception, the journey of our team and the occasional visit to events makes quite a difference.

Steps 2 and 3: Set reduction targets and implement reductions

Now that the cards were out in the open, it was time to act: Now that we knew where the hotspots as well as the hidden items of our emissions were, we could think specifically about ways to improve. We used this as an opportunity to exchange ideas in the team and to look for approaches together.

Step 4: Balancing the CO2 balance: Finance climate protection projects

Up to this point, all considerations have revolved around reducing emissions through reduction measures within the company itself. Of course, despite all efforts, they cannot be completely eliminated. This is why investing in certified climate protection projects is a sustainable option.

Climate protection projects pursue the goal of reducing, avoiding or binding greenhouse gases; this ranges from the expansion of renewable energies to forest protection and reforestation to social impact projects such as clean cooking stoves or drinking water. The idea is to compensate for irreducible corporate emissions by investing in climate protection and thus mitigate climate change elsewhere. Climate protection projects are intended to enable transformation processes towards more sustainable technologies in project countries, which themselves often have a low carbon footprint, that would otherwise not be possible due to a lack of financial resources, know-how and infrastructure.

At ClimatePartner, all carbon offset projects are certified according to international standards such as the Verified Carbon Standard (the world's most widely used standard for emissions reduction) or the Gold Standard (founded by WWF and other international NGOs). They are verified by independent third parties, guaranteeing the climate protection effect and ensuring that the contribution to CO2 reduction in the atmosphere can actually be clearly measured.

From a portfolio of around 400 projects, we have chosen a project to expand renewable energy in Asia. As a continent that is home to well over half of the world's population, the use of renewable energy is a crucial issue. Thus, wind, solar, hydropower and biogas & biomass projects are supported in several Asian countries.

Step 5: Communicate climate protection transparently

Trust is good, control is better: so that the investments in climate protection measures can also be tracked by outsiders, all information about supported climate projects can be viewed with the help of a unique ID number with tracking URL. From the total amount of emissions offset to the project technology, you can gain an insight into the climate protection strategy.

Feel free to take a look at our project, you can find it at: /tracking/24076-2307-1001/de