Carbon footprint

As an industrialized country, Germany has a particular responsibility to play a lead role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to mitigate climate change. For this reason, we are committed to ensuring the success of the energy transition in Germany. Our goal is to reduce the human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases included in the Kyoto Protocol by 40 percent in Germany by 2020, by 55 percent by 2030 and by at least 80 percent by 2050, measured against the 1990 levels. This is a target we also wish to promote through our own activities: our aim is to minimize our greenhouse gas emissions and fully offset any emissions that cannot be avoided. We base our carbon footprint calculations on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an internationally recognized standard for determining greenhouse gas emissions.

Our carbon footprint in 2015

In 2015, total emissions generated by Stiftung Mercator amounted to 922 tons of carbon dioxide – meaning that the figure fell to below 1,000 tons for the first time since we began collecting data in 2010, despite a significant rise in the number of projects and staff during this period. Our emissions also dropped by a clear 34 percent year-on-year. As in the past, we calculated the direct and indirect carbon footprint generated by our offices, travel activities and events.

A decisive factor in this decline was a reduction in travel activities (-13 percent), especially travel by aeroplane (-22 percent). This figure was cut almost in half as compared with 2013.

Emissions generated by events were likewise lowered, thanks among other things to a slight fall in the number of major events (-36 percent). Total emissions produced by our offices were also considerably reduced. This is attributable in particular to lower consumption due to a mild winter and to increased sensitivity of the need for climate-friendly behaviour.

Our aim: to reduce and continually offset emissions

As in previous years, we offset our 2015 carbon footprint by acquiring Gold Standard carbon credits. In so doing, we support the Sichuan Biogas Programme of Activities, which aims to equip the farms of up to one million poor rural households in Sichuan (China) with efficient bio-digesters and cookers. The cleaner biogas that is obtained from the widespread sewage pits is used for cooking instead of coal and wood, achieving greenhouse gas reductions totalling approx. 20 million tons of carbon equivalent over the entire duration of the programme.