© GIZ_Jörn Leonhardt


Milestone: GIZ has achieved climate neutrality worldwide

The company has offset all its own greenhouse gas emissions worldwide for the first time. It has ambitious targets for the coming years, too.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH works to mitigate climate change in many projects around the world. It sets itself high standards in this regard, too: the company aims to avoid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its own activities as much as possible. Those emissions still generated are offset by GIZ purchasing high-quality certified emission reductions (CERs), also known as carbon credits, from climate projects. In the 2020 financial year the company offset all of its recorded unavoidable emissions for the first time, thus making it climate neutral.

The CERs purchased to offset emissions satisfy the most stringent international criteria: the Gold Standard and the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism, for instance, highlight both the environmental and social sustainability of projects and likewise examine their development effectiveness.

Offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions means that a key target has now been reached – but it is still only an intermediate stage, as emphasised by Tanja Gönner, Chair of the GIZ Management Board: ‘GIZ as a whole is now climate neutral, and that is an important milestone. It is still only one step on the way, however: we want to remain ambitious, as indeed we must do, and continue to reduce our emissions.’

Clear climate targets based on science

By adopting this path GIZ is being guided by the findings of climate research, and consequently in March 2021 it joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), becoming the first development cooperation organisation to do so. Emerging from an alliance of various environmental and climate change organisations, this global initiative drives ambitious, science-based action in the private sector and now numbers around 1,000 member companies worldwide. It has established itself as an internationally recognised standard for businesses to set emissions reduction targets.

As a member of this initiative, GIZ has committed itself to achieving a significant reduction in its direct and indirect emissions by 2025. Its focus is on emissions from mobility, such as business trips and vehicles, and from electricity consumption and heating and cooling its buildings.

GIZ is adopting a range of measures to achieve these targets: outside Germany, buildings will increasingly use electricity from renewable energy, generated by solar panels, and will be fitted with more efficient air-conditioning systems. Introducing vehicle pools and switching to alternative drive systems are other important steps to take to avoid and reduce emissions. Business trips continue to be an important factor in emissions, which is why the company is making greater use of video conferencing, irrespective of the coronavirus pandemic. Employees systematically check in advance whether their business trips are necessary, and if trips do prove essential they choose more climate-friendly means of transport.

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