Environmental management

One basic principle that GIZ respects in all its activities is the need to deal responsibly with the environment and natural resources.

Actively protecting the climate
We are committed to protecting the world’s climate and environment. As part of our systematic approach to sustainability issues we have set ourselves ambitious targets, which we regularly review and refine. We are involved in the ‘Wirtschaft pro Klima’ climate protection initiative and have signed the charter ‘100 Companies for Climate Protection’ promoted by the federal state of Hesse; our aim is to be carbon-neutral by 2015. In order to achieve this we are significantly reducing our CO2 emissions, using renewables instead of fossil fuels and offsetting unavoidable emissions.  

The specific steps that we are taking include:

  • Introducing certified green electricity at our offices and centres in Germany and putting solar panels on our buildings;
  • Using modern conference technology to reduce the need for business travel (within and outside Germany) to a minimum;
  • Encouraging staff to use the train for business trips in Germany and participating in the Environment Plus scheme operated by Deutsche Bahn, so that our travel is carbon-neutral;
  • Providing staff at many of our offices with travel passes that enable them to travel by public transport at reduced cost;
  • Improving the infrastructure for cyclists at our offices and centres, and taking part in the ‘bike & business’ initiative of the German cyclists’ association, the ADFC, since 2003.    

Minimising environmental impact in our office operations worldwide
In our procurement of goods and services we are of course careful to consider the environmental and social impacts of our choices. For instance, the company uses environmentally friendly office materials and energy-efficient computers. We provide advice on these issues to our partners all over the world; conservation of the environment is a priority in our offices outside Germany as well as at home. More than half of our country offices have systematically recorded and analysed their environmental impacts, for example by measuring the type and amount of waste and scrutinising the associated procurement and disposal practices. Once this had been done, action plans were drawn up to improve the environmental performance of the office in question.

Our commitment yields results
We are continuously reducing our environmental impacts and subjecting our activities to scrutiny. Our performance in this field has been recognised: in 2013 our head offices in Bonn and Eschborn and our representation in Berlin were certified under the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme EMAS. This sophisticated system helps us live up to our responsibilities in the area of environmental management.

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Certifications and awards

In 2011 GIZ won two awards in the ‘Office and Environment’ competition organised by the German Association of Environmental Management (B.A.U.M.) and the German Environment Ministry (BMU) – the company as a whole won first prize and in addition our head offices in Bonn and Eschborn won an award for their sustainable office management.  

In 2010 GIZ was rated as ‘Germany’s most cycle-friendly employer’ in a competition organised by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. Several offices, including Berlin, Eschborn, Bonn and Mannheim, have been certified as cycle-friendly.  

In 2011 GIZ’s Feldafing office received a certificate from the integrated environmental technology project ÖKOPROFIT; this was the third time its corporate environmental management had been recognised in this way. The head office in Eschborn also received a certificate in 2011.

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Environmental performance worldwide

Egypt: Here swapping desktop computers for laptops has not only reduced electricity consumption but made staff more mobile. Resource consumption has also been reduced by introducing central printers and scanners and an electronic document filing system.  

Germany: To reduce our energy consumption, we are replacing the servers and storage devices in our computer centres with more efficient systems. The existing photovoltaic and solar thermal systems in Eschborn are being expanded. At Friedrich-Ebert-Allee in Bonn, energy-efficient LED lamps have halved electricity consumption in the underground car park. By 2014 all the German offices and centres will be using green electricity. New buildings at our head offices comply with the standards of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).  

Cambodia: The GIZ office in Phnom Penh carried out its second environmental audit in 2011. Consumption of water, paper and energy has been reduced. In addition, rechargeable batteries are now being used in place of disposables, toner cartridges are being refilled and old computers are being donated to non-governmental organisations or second-hand shops.  

Contact

Carsten Hildebrand
sustainabilityoffice@giz.de