Reporting 2020

Climate Protection

We will be climate neutral by 2030. This involves cutting our CO2e emissions by 30 percent within the company and 15 percent externally.

The topic of climate protection is right at the top of the agenda – in politics as well as in many companies. We are no exception. The German government is striving to get Germany as close to net zero emissions as possible by 2050; the same target exists at the European level. As a logistics company, we want to play our part – and at the same time support our customers in improving their own climate footprint.

UN goal: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

By 2030, we aim to have reduced our own greenhouse gas emissions measured in absolute terms against 2018 by at least 30 percent. Over the same period, we want to achieve a 15 percent cut along our supply chain. Supplementary carbon emission offsets will enable us to also become a climate-neutral company by 2030.

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We met our first CO2 reduction target, which at the time was linked to revenue, in 2018, two years ahead of schedule. This motivated us in the following year to set ourselves a new, even more ambitious target for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, we will reduce our absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by at least 30 percent and our Scope 3 emissions by at least 15 percent, in each case compared to the figures for the base year 2018. These ambitions were verified in the reporting year by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which recognized us as the first German logistics service provider with climate protection targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. The decisive factor is that our reduction target is an absolute goal that is not tied in with corporate growth. We will offset all Scope 1 and 2 emissions that we cannot avoid entirely by investing in high-quality climate protection projects. Like this, we will become a climate-neutral company by 2030. In aggregate, we view these targets and objectives as our Mission Climate – the path to climate-neutral logistics.

Three levers for greater climate protection

There are three strategic levers we can use to achieve our targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: steadily increasing our energy efficiency, producing our own regenerative electricity and purchasing green electricity. In this, avoidance comes first, followed by reduction and, if all else fails, offsetting. Therefore we are placing a special focus on increasing efficiency, i.e. using energy in such a way that we can achieve more output for the same input. See the Energy Management section of this report for more detailed information. We were also able to notch up initial successes when it comes to generating our own energy from renewable sources. In 2019, we installed a photovoltaic system on the roof of the car terminal in Kelheim and in the reporting year we were also able to utilize solar energy on customer premises at the Waiblingen industrial logistics location. With these two installations, we covered around 73,000 kWh of our electricity requirement in 2020 – equivalent to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 17 t CO2e. We will continue to systematically invest in our own electricity production and expand it to additional sites. We are also currently working on a cross-company approach for the supply of green electricity.

Our climate targets at a glance

Climate target within the company

Das Klimaziel innerhalb des Unternehmens

Absolute CO2 reduction in the supply chain

Absolute CO2-Reduktion in der Lieferkette

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)

Absolute Treibhausgasemissionen

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

Prozentualer Anteil der Scope 3-Emissionen 2020

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)

Absolute Treibhausgasemissionen (Scope 3)

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.

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