Protecting the climate and the environment is very important at Scout24 and is part of how we see sustainability as a whole. We measure our group-wide carbon footprint each year and continuously reduce our negative environmental impact. We introduced new measures for this in 2021, in particular to prevent and reduce CO2 emissions. We have implemented two mobility guidelines for travel and company vehicles respectively, continuously increased the proportion of electric cars in our fleet and in 2020 introduced a cloud-based solution instead of conventional data centres. We moved our office in Berlin to a modern office building with smart control.

Environmental and climate protection

Even though we are a non-manufacturing company, environmental responsibility is nevertheless an important topic for Scout24. We want to ascertain our negative impact on the environment and reduce it in the long term. In 2021, we identified climate and emissions as a material topic during our materiality analysis. This topic is also considered material in accordance with the German Commercial Code (HGB) and from the perspective of our stakeholders. We also determined that energy is a material topic in accordance with the GRI Standards. In addition to these topics, we report on resource efficiency, which also includes the circular economy/waste and recycling, water and responsible use of other resources.

When selecting our office buildings, we place great emphasis on sustainable building features. In Munich, we work in a building that was awarded the gold certificate of the "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" (LEED) in 2019 - a rating system for energy-saving construction. The new office building for up to 800 employees in Berlin is also expected to contribute to a further reduction in energy consumption; Scout24 moved into the building at the end of November 2020. Its smart building technology was adapted over the course of 2021, providing the basis for further optimisations from 2022 onwards. With its ecologically sustainable design and high energy efficiency, the building meets high sustainability standards and is expected to be certified according to the platinum standard from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). It is also the first building in Germany set to receive the WELL Gold Core & Shell pre-certificate from the International WELL Building Institute. In November 2021, our office was also awarded the public-choice award from the German Property Federation (ZIA).

Our Climate Strategy 2.0

In 2020, for the first time, we compiled a carbon footprint for 2018 based on the Green House Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) - in the mandatory areas of Scopes 1 and 2 as well as the optional Scope 3. Based on the carbon footprint determined, we developed a cross-site climate strategy for the German companies Immobilien Scout GmbH, Scout24 SE and FLOWFACT GmbH. Our approach: avoid, reduce, compensate. The previous goal of our climate strategy was to reduce our absolute emissions by 60 percent by 2025 compared to the base year 2018 and to compensate for the remaining unavoidable emissions by investing in certified climate protection projects. By 2020, we had already succeeded in reducing our emissions by around 60 percent to 2,423 metric tons of CO2 compared to 6,123 metric tons in 2018.

This is why in 2022 we are reviewing our climate strategy: We want to track our emissions more closely, integrate new sites and set ourselves ambitious targets for further reducing our carbon footprint.

Environmental and climate-friendly mobility

Our new travel policy was introduced in July 2021. It prioritises rail transport and only permits internal flights in Germany to be taken without additional approval if the journey cannot be made within 4.5 hours by train. The policy also encourages employees to hold meetings virtually more often. We provide comprehensive video and web conferencing systems for this purpose and offer video conference rooms at all sites. This has been successful and our employees are making more and more use of these options and travelling less. The CO2 emissions from business travel in 2020 were 80 per cent lower than in 2019 – aided of course by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We also put a firm emphasis on electric vehicles to prevent CO2 emissions. For instance, we are planning to convert our entire fleet to electric vehicles and establish a supporting charging infrastructure at the office sites. We have already achieved this in Berlin and the necessary negotiations with landlords and suppliers are under way in Munich and Cologne. We are also planning to install a charging point for employees with company car permissions and make bicycles available for employees.

Conserving natural resources

The consumption of resources within the organisation relates mainly to the use of paper and IT equipment, including consumption associated with their production, plus water consumption at the sites. Scout24 is paying attention to resource efficiency too and, where possible, procures products that have been manufactured using recycled materials. We are currently carrying out analyses in order to develop a general strategy to record and reduce our consumption of resources.

The most frequently used resource at Scout24 is paper. Double-sided printing or personalised print requests are attempts to keep paper consumption as low as possible. We pay attention to sustainable use of resources right from the procurement stage.

Waste and recycling

We avoid producing waste to the extent possible and we ensure waste separation and disposal in accordance with statutory regulations. For example, we cooperate with our partner AfB Social and Green IT, which professionally recycles IT equipment in Berlin and Munich and reconditions it where possible. In some cases, we make reconditioned devices available for our employees to buy privately. In the reporting year, a total of 230 IT and mobile devices weighing 952 kg were processed as part of our partnership with AfB. AfB was able to remarket 86 per cent of the devices after carrying out a data wipe, hardware test, repairs, upgrades and cleaning.