One important milestone on the path to our goal is the upgrading of the car terminal in Hamburg to make it climate neutral – following completion of the coversion, the terminal is expected to produce almost net zero CO2 emissions itself. Among other measures, we will renew the heating system here and in the future heat with biomass, convert the lighting to efficient LED technology and increasingly use electric vehicles.
In addition to the reduction measures described here, since the end of 2020 we have been offering our customers the option of making our services climate-neutral. On request, we calculate the greenhouse gas emissions for the contracted service individually and offset them through high-quality climate protection projects. With these two aspects, we also improve our customers’ climate footprint, because our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are at the same time their Scope 3 emissions.
Calculating our greenhouse gas emissions
To be able to cut our CO2 emissions, we need to know where and in what quantities we use energy and generate greenhouse gas emissions. We collect, validate and evaluate energy consumption data decentrally, directly at our locations. This data is collated once a year by our central Sustainability and Digitalization department, which calculates the emissions generated. The consumption statistics for all locations of our fully consolidated companies are taken into account here. As part of the new climate targets, we now also record around 95 percent of the energy consumption of the associated sites outside Germany. In our AUTOMOBILE and CONTRACT Divisions, we use our own diesel trucks. Their consumption is included in our energy and greenhouse gas accounting. Our fleet is also supported by subcontractors, above all in the freight forwarding and car transport business areas. Within the scope of our new climate targets, they are now also included in our extended reporting (Scope 3).
Absolute greenhouse gas emissions
broken down into direct and indirect emissions (t CO2e)
For our greenhouse gas accounting, we are guided by the principles of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), whereby we present direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions separately. We distinguish between Scope 1 (direct emissions from the combustion of natural gas, heating oil, diesel and gasoline), Scope 2 (indirect emissions from electricity and district heat generation) and Scope 3 (other indirect emissions). We have significantly expanded our reporting of Scope 3 emissions in the context of the new climate protection target. We have been calculating our CO2 equivalents (CO2e) since 2011. This includes not only carbon dioxide, but also other gases with high greenhouse potential (see Glossary for details).
For the CO2e calculation of German gasoline and diesel vehicles, we use well-to-wheels emission factors (WTW) from the DIN EN 16258 standard. These include all generated CO2e emissions, from the provision of the power sources used by the vehicles through to the operating phase and also take the proportion of biodiesel or ethanol into account. For our foreign vehicles, we take the emission factors of the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) as our benchmark. To calculate the further emissions from the primary energy sources including the upstream chain, we use the CO2e emission factors from the Global Emission Model for Integrated Systems (GEMIS) from the International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategies (IINAS). We regularly adjust the emission factors in line with the adjustments in GEMIS, also retrospectively. The emission factors used for electricity apply on a site-specific basis depending on the energy supply company. The corresponding electricity emission factors for our foreign sites are based on the respective country mix from the GEMIS.
Special focus on our own emissions
In 2019, we already made headway in reducing our Scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 3.3 percent compared with the 2018 base year. This is a good first step, and if we continue to increase the amount of CO2 saved each year by 2.5 percent compared with the base year, we will achieve our set goal by 2030. This positive trend continued in 2020. With a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 16.6 percent compared with 2018 we clearly surpassed our target for the year. However, this figure also reflects the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of our locations experienced disruptions to normal operations in the reporting year, which led to an above-average reduction in emissions, which in all probability would not have been possible on this scale in a normal financial year. With a particular focus on Scope 2, the substantial increase in the share of renewable energies in our electricity mix contributed significantly to the reduction.
In 2020, our German sites were responsible for most of our global emissions at just below 85 percent, with some 15 percent attributable to our foreign locations.
Absolute greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 + 2)
from 2018 to 2020 and target corridor until 2021 (t CO2e)
Now under closer scrutiny: Emissions in our supply chain
We have expanded our climate assessment with the inclusion of Scope 3 emissions and, in line with the SBTi requirements, from all 15 categories belonging to the GHG Protocol for the first time identified those which, taken together, account for over two thirds of our total Scope 3 emissions. A separate sub-target was to be set for these – in our case a reduction of 15 percent compared with the base year up to 2030. In this context, we will give consideration in the future to upstream transports by our subcontractors, our equity investees, employee mobility, and also continue to monitor the upstream chains of primary energy sources.
Percentage share of Scope 3 emissions 2020
broken down by categories considered
In almost equal measure, the upstream transports and our equity investees can be identified as the biggest two emitters. Taken together, they are responsible for more than 80 percent of Scope 3 emissions. In the case of upstream transports, we report on emissions that result from purchased transportation services by truck and rail. In equity investees, we include the emissions of our EUROGATE joint venture on a pro rata basis, which make up the absolute majority, plus individual other companies. With respect to employee mobility, we report on emissions from our employees’ daily commute to and from the workplace, those from our company cars and rental vehicles and from our business flights. To calculate the former, we first carried out a company survey, which will be repeated at regular intervals in the future. In this context, we also give employees the opportunity to express their wishes and suggestions concerning this topic. We have also taken the opportunity to update our company car policy to include electric and hybrid vehicles. Here, we are paying greater attention to ecologically correct use by limiting the permissible commuting distance and creating charging facilities at the homes of the concerned employees. With respect to the upstream chains of the primary energy sources, we report, as in the previous years, on emissions that result from production and transport.
Absolute greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3)
from 2018 to 2020 and target corridor until 2021 (t CO2e)
The recorded Scope 3 emissions initially increased slightly in 2019 by 1 percent compared with the base year and therefore overshot the target mark of minus 1.25 percent. In the reporting year, by contrast, we achieved a reduction of 11.5 percent and thus far exceeded our target for the year. Across all Scopes, we generated 178,916 t CO2e in 2020, which was a significant saving compared with previous years. However, as described, this figure is to be interpreted taking the proportionate effects of the coronavirus pandemic into account. For more information about the measures used to lower our emissions, please refer to the Energy Management section of this report.
Carbon offsetting – first steps in Brazil and Malawi
Offsetting emissions that we cannot avoid is an important building block on our way to becoming a carbon-neutral company. In the reporting year, we offset the climate impacts of our company car fleet and our business flights for the second time by supporting climate protection projects. Like this, we were able to offset 889 t CO2e through a forest conservation project in the Brazilian federal state of Pará in 2020, as well as a project to provide safe water in the Republic of Malawi. Both projects are certified and verified in accordance with internationally recognized standards – the Verified Carbon Standard, the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard and the Gold Standard. They were selected by our employees, who were given the possibility to vote in a survey.