From 2018 till 2020, I worked for the technology company COMATCH in Berlin. In addition to my commercial position, I started the workgroup “Green Initiative”, with which I aimed to promote sustainability.
COMATCH.com is a young organization with approximately 130 employees, and as a platform, it mediates between independent consultants and companies in need of additional expertise. As a service provider, the company should be less harmful to the environment compared to producing companies. Sure, this is true in terms of direct material consumption (because they do not produce a physical product), but when one realizes what is ‘consumed’ in terms of computers, smartphones, paper, business travel and so forth the footprint is considerable.
My colleagues at the time flew 600,000 km in 2019.
So we wanted to reduce COMATCH’s impact on the environment in some way and we decided to offset the carbon released during business travelling. This is a brief overview of how we initiated the project:
i. measure what your organization emits in carbon dioxide (in this case air travel). In our case it has been carried out by an external project partner that is specialized in CO2 compensation (atmosfair gGmbH)
ii. these emissions are calculated on the basis of flight data. Air travel is about the number of kilometers flown and per x number of kilometers, so much CO2 is emitted.
iii. the total compensation amount that a company has to pay for its emissions depends on the amount that has to be paid per ton CO2. It has been calculated for COMATCH that approximately 600,000 km were flown in 2019. This resulted in 97,200 kg of CO2 and a compensation amount of approximately € 2,250.
iv. through the external partner, a predefined project directly benefits from the money (= compensation amount) it receives, with the aim of a direct reduction in CO2 emissions. Ideally, these projects are in developing countries and we chose to support villages in Rwanda. More information about this sustainable development project here.
After successful completion of the activity, a certificate with project details is released. Communication-wise we kept it low-profile but this Blog post by one of the founders was dedicated to this first carbon compensation initiative.
Picture credit: https://blog.klm.com/assets/uploads/2011/10/B737-opstijgen.jpg