“Avoid, reduce, compensate” – Scout24 on the way to climate neutrality
Scout24 emitted 6,123 tonnes of CO2 in 2018. Too vague? That corresponds to the CO2 emissions of a car driving around the world 474 times. Or even more specific: it’s enough CO2 to melt Arctic ice the size of 2.5 football pitches. And suddenly the abstract number becomes real and tangible. Compared with companies in the manufacturing sector, that’s quite a low figure. But at Scout24, we are convinced that every individual and every company has to play their part in stopping climate change. The scientific evidence is unequivocal: rapid climate action is absolutely essential. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sums it up in its appeal: “Everything we do from here on out is critical to our future.”
For this reason, we have made our impact on the environment a focus topic in 2020 and have developed our own climate strategy. We have an ambitious goal: we want to be climate neutral by 2025. Anne Rupp, sustainability expert at Scout24, explains how we intend to get there.
How has Scout24 gone about developing its climate strategy?
First of all, it was important to know where we stand and to determine our carbon footprint. Because only if we have a detailed view of our emissions, we can derive measures and targets for reducing them. Together with an external partner, we calculated that our carbon footprint in 2018 came to approximately 6,123 tonnes of CO2. We chose 2018 because it was the year for which we had the most comprehensive and valid data. We then took the calculated value as the basis for our reduction targets.
Scout24 is a digital player and not a manufacturing company. What’s the biggest source of greenhouse emissions?
In our analysis, we found that over 50 percent of our emissions are attributable to employee mobility. In addition to business flights, this also includes our employees’ commutes to work. We wanted to take a closer look at this aspect and asked our colleagues how they get to work. We found that 42 percent of Scout employees use public transport, 32 percent cycle or walk to the office and 17 percent of respondents use a private or company car. So the majority of employees are already using environmentally friendly means of transport to get to work. The analysis also showed that our data centre and the production of printed materials generated further greenhouse gases. Next, we derived concrete measures for reducing our emissions.
What did these measures entail?
One measure was the shift to electricity from renewable sources in 2020 – an important step towards climate neutrality. This is also evident in our emissions figures for 2020: our greenhouse gas emissions are already down about 30 percent compared to 2018. In addition, since the end of 2020, our canteen has offered exclusively vegetarian meals on three out of five days. According to a study by the University of Oxford, reducing meat consumption could substantially lower emissions. With respect to mobility, we will be offering fuel-saving training for all company car drivers starting in 2021. In addition, we have adjusted our travel policy so that employees travel by train whenever possible and hold most of their meetings using virtual formats. A further measure is that Scout24 will use climate-neutral printed materials and pay attention to sustainable and conscientious consumption of resources in our offices in the future.
“Our strategic approach remains very clear: “avoid, reduce, compensate” – with “avoid” as our first priority.”
Scout24 moved into a new office building in Berlin in 2020. To what extent does this affect the Company’s carbon footprint?
With its ecologically sustainable architecture, our new Berlin office building meets the highest standards in sustainability. The building’s minimal energy consumption means that its carbon footprint is extremely low compared with modern office buildings. Light sensors, for example, help us to further lower our energy consumption. The building has already been pre-certified by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) with the highest rating – the Platinum standard – for its ecologically sustainable construction and energy efficiency.
Despite all these measures, Scout24 will still not be able to completely avoid greenhouse gas emissions in the future. How do you reconcile this with the goal of becoming climate neutral by 2025?
Good point. That’s precisely why, starting in 2025, we will compensate unavoidable CO2 emissions by supporting climate-action projects. But our strategic approach remains very clear: “avoid, reduce, compensate” – with “avoid” as our first priority.
Scout24 Sustainability Committee
Scout24 pursues an integrated approach to sustainability that combines social, ecological and economic aspects. As part of its sustainability strategy, Scout24 established an in-house Sustainability Committee in October 2020. The task of the committee, chaired by CEO Tobias Hartmann, is to define concrete sustainability targets and measures for the entire business in order to ingrain the topic even more deeply into all company operations.
Success is secured together: our Scout24 DNA
A strong corporate culture with an unwavering focus on people is decisive for success. That is why we have developed our own Scout24 DNA Culture Code, which our employees are bringing to life.Go to story