Becoming carbon neutral

Global emissions must fall by 7.6% every year from now until 2030 to stay within the 1.5°C ceiling on temperature rises that scientists say is necessary to avoid disastrous consequences. One of Data Respons’ core values is to take responsibility, and we acknowledge that slowing down climate change is one of the greatest challenges we need to take on in our time.

In order to be positive factor in the fight against climate change we are reducing our own emissions and we are focusing on developing technology that matters to the planet. We have set a target to make our company carbon neutral by 2025. To become a carbon neutral Data Respons needs to reduce its emissions throughout the entire value chain. And, we need to start with understanding how much carbon we are responsible for emitting.

To zero from what?

To find out just how much carbon (CO2 equivalents 1) Data Respons emit a year we asked Endrava, a climate and energy specialised consultancy, to help us estimate the amount of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Our operation is international, but not very infrastructure or resource demanding. Hence, our framework for emissions mapping is based on calculations of emissions from energy consumption, transportation of people, transportation of goods, and IT equipment.

We found that in 2018 Data Respons companies were responsible for 1385 tons of CO2 Equivalents, which amounts to 1,1 ton per employee. So, in total we emit the same as 139 average Norwegian people, or 691 cars per year.

Easy at start …

We found that over 70% of our emissions are transportation based, almost equally divided between transportation of people and transportation of goods. Another 20% is from energy consumption and 9% is from IT equipment. Our approach to reducing these numbers comes in several parallel steps:

Taking responsibility for our own direct emissions

Firstly, all our companies are taking concrete steps reduce their direct carbon footprint. This means switching to guaranteed renewable energy sources in our office locations. Secondly, all our locations have implemented, or are implementing recycling systems for their office waste. Thirdly, and importantly, we are making new IT policies to increase the time we use equipment before replacing it. These are the easy steps…

Combining sustainability and business considerations

Transportation of goods represents 37% of our emissions and it is difficult to achieve large reductions, as our method of transportation impacts our customers. Still, it is an opportunity to incentivise choosing sea-based transportation rather than using airfreight and increase the environmental awareness both internally and for our customers and suppliers.

Another large section (34% of our emissions) is the transportation of people, mostly air travel. We are looking into various ways of decreasing the number of flights by finding better and more efficient ways to conduct meetings. As we have experienced this spring, with the challenges we are facing with the Covid-19 virus, a number of meetings can be quite effectively executed through digital platforms.

Nevertheless, we still need to meet our people across the world, but we are now adding CO2 footprint to the mix of costs to consider when choosing our destinations. When there is a need for travel, we are promoting the use of UN certified carbon credits. Internally, we are also promoting our staff to use green transportation like trains, electric cars, bicycles or walk.

Increasing resource efficiency in our processes and solutions

As a long-standing technology provider, we can use our industry knowledge to promote the benefits of designing technology solutions in a circular manner, increasing the resource efficiency in the production and life cycle of our customers hence decreasing their footprint, using  Eco-design throughout our product development process.

Introducing carbon budgets to get to zero

As most operations, we will, inevitably, always produce some carbon, and becoming carbon neutral is a process that must take place over time. To achieve our goals, we are introducing carbon budgets for our subsidiary companies. Each of our companies will have a carbon budget per year based on the emissions they were registered with in 2018. The carbon budget will decrease every year accordingly to our goals of becoming carbon neutral in 2025.

… the toughest reductions will come last

We expect increased environmental awareness and focus will help our company accomplish the first steps towards carbon neutrality. However, we acknowledge that after the low hanging fruits, such as reducing air travel, have been picked we must work with new technological solutions to continue the journey towards becoming carbon neutral. We need to get all our customers, suppliers and employees on board the carbon neutral ambition, which is both a cultural and technical challenge. In addition, we need to establish the financial flexibility to choose more expensive, but cleaner sources of energy and materials.

And, in order to uphold our ambition, we are open to neutralising some emissions through buying UN certified carbon credits, after all other measures have been implemented. Carbon credits are a practical and effective way to address climate change and encourage the growth of renewable energy. Our investments in carbon credits will help fund new projects that reduce greenhouse gas pollution and increases the cost of polluting by reducing the number for available carbon credits.

Accelerating sustainability through technology

We strongly believe that technology is an enabler for green growth. According to the Allied Market Research Group 2, the global green technology and sustainability market is expected to reach $44.61 billion by 2026. In other words, there are huge opportunities within innovative environmental and advanced technologies that enable organisations to unlock more value from their energy resources and improve efficiency.

To take an active part in accelerating sustainability through technology, Data Respons has set a goal of being involved in at least 100 sustainable technology projects in 2020. Each one of these projects must contribute in reaching one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to the environmental and social benefits of focusing on these types of projects, we are experiencing that the younger generations of development specialists look for these values when looking for employers.

As a company we depend on new technology to help us become carbon neutral, and hopefully our own specialists and solutions will play key roles in developing that technology. Making it easier for every company to pursue value creation and sustainability at the same time.

 


  1. A carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2 equivalent, abbreviated as CO2-eq is a metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases on the basis of their global-warming potential (GWP), by converting amounts of other gases to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide with the same global warming potential. (Eurostat statistics explained)
  2. “Green Technology and Sustainability Market Statistics: 2026”, Allied Market Research Group, 2020.