Integrated Company Report 2018

Sustainable development means dealing responsibly with the environment, the climate and natural resources. This is the only way to ensure that future generations will have opportunities for development. GIZ has drawn up its own Environmental Mission Statement to implement the strategy to become a climate-neutral company. On this basis, the company devised the objectives for the Environmental Programme 2016-2020. Accordingly, by 2020 GIZ plans to reduce its per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2.5 per cent per annum in Germany and by 2 per cent outside Germany. From 2020 onwards, GIZ aims to be climate neutral at home and abroad.


In Germany, GIZ implements the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) – the world’s most ambitious certification for corporate environmental management. In other countries, our environmental management is decentralised. GIZ developed the Corporate Sustainability Handprint® (CSH) for activities outside Germany as an alternative to EMAS. CSH provides staff with a uniform framework for evaluating their corporate sustainability and, thus, for environmental management.

Both EMAS and the CSH provide data for the calculations of GIZ’s GHG emissions, which we publish annually in the Climate and Environmental Report. We are guided in this by the international standard known as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP). The GHGP distinguishes between direct and indirect emissions within three scopes:

  • Scope 1: Direct sources of GHG emissions that are owned or controlled by the company, such as fuel for cars or heating energy
  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions from purchased energy such as electricity or district heating/ cooling
  • Scope 3: Other indirect emissions along the value chain, which are therefore also the company’s responsibility. This includes business trips.

GIZ aims to avoid GHG emissions, reduce emissions that cannot be avoided and offset all other emissions. We are already offsetting GHG emissions at our German locations since 2013. From 2020 onwards, this will also happen outside Germany.

Moreover, GIZ has developed approaches to assess the impact of its projects on the climate. The impact can be positive if GHG emissions can be reduced by advising project partners. However, it can also be negative if, for example, GHG emissions are produced by the construction and operation of infrastructure. Systematic steps in project appraisal aim to increase the positive impact and keep the negative impact to a minimum.


In its Environmental Programme 2016-2020, GIZ set itself the objective of reducing its own GHG emissions per employee by 2.5 per cent per annum in Germany and by 2 per cent in other countries. Under its Sustainability Programme, GIZ also committed to promoting healthy and environmentally friendly mobility by 2019. Business trips and commuting by employees are GIZ’s main sources of emissions and therefore offer the greatest potential for reducing GHG emissions. GIZ will put business trips and commuter traffic on a more sustainable footing.

We have identified the company’s 2018 regulations governing the reimbursement of travel expenses as a significant lever for establishing more sustainable travel arrangements. As a step towards greater sustainability, GIZ launched an initial analysis of the regulations in 2019. By 2020, we will review the recommendations derived from this analysis to determine their GHG reduction potential and incorporate them into the regulations in line with their ecological relevance, taking account of social and economic factors.

In 2018, GIZ took steps to promote sustainable commuting. These included providing a job ticket, which entitles holders to use public transport free of charge between their homes and their workplace, promoting public transport at all major German locations and organising targeted cycling campaigns as part of the German Sustainability Action Days. In addition, GIZ has been improving its cycling infrastructure. The GIZ locations have numerous comfortable, covered, weather-proof and theft-proof bicycle parking facilities in underground garages and outdoor parking areas. Shower rooms and lockers for employees are also available. Two bicycle repair stations were set up in Eschborn. At the Kottenforst location, a private operator is introducing a bicycle rental service for participants on the Academy grounds.

All of these steps have led to, that B.A.U.M., the German Environmental Management Association, certified the Eschborn, Bonn and Berlin locations as bicycle-friendly. The Eschborn and Bonn locations both received the highest distinction. Furthermore, the GIZ vehicle fleet has been reduced and converted: GIZ courier trips are now carried out by two electric vehicles. In 2020, all these measures will be brought together in an overarching company-wide mobility concept. This will ensure a common understanding of sustainable mobility within the company and that relevant targets are clearly worded and communicated.

GHG emissions from mobility* Germany
2016 2017 2018
Total GHG emissions from mobility [in t] 19,779 22,396 25,378
Total GHG emissions from mobility per staff member [in t] 6.51 5.60 5.76


GHG emissions* Germany
2016 2017 2018
Total GHG emissions
Total GHG emissions [in t] 21,674 25,166 28,142
GHG emissions per staff member [in t] 7.08 6.26 6.35
Scope 1
Natural gas heating [in t CO2e] 1,406 1,920 1,873
Fuel for company vehicles [in t CO2e] 39 53 40
Coolants [in t CO2e] 77 62 125
Generators [in t CO2e] 3 3 3
Scope 2
District heating/ cooling [in t CO2e] 286 365 383
Electricity [in t CO2e] 124 420 380
Scope 3
Commuting [in t CO2e] 2,842 3,143 3,483
Business trips (flights) [in t CO2e] 16,898 19,200 21,855
GHG emissions Abroad
2016 2017 2018
Total GHG emissions
Total GHG emissions [in t] 108,850 103,852 100,327
GHG emissions per staff member [in t] 7.19 6.54 5.98
Scope 1
Natural gas heating [in t CO2e] 1,344 686 847
Fuel for company vehicles [in t CO2e] 11,238 10,637 8,949
Generators [in t CO2e] 1,466 1,746 1,577
Scope 2
Electricity [in t CO2e] 12,577 12,292 10,473
Scope 3
Business trips (flights) in CSH [in t CO2e] 82,225 78,491 78,481


Other air emissions include emissions resulting from flights and other business trips, and those generated by company vehicles, commuting by employees, and electricity and heating consumption.

Other air emissions* Germany
2016 2017 2018
NOx (nitrogen oxides) [kg] 9,788 12,120 13,878
SO2 (sulphur dioxide) [kg] 7,543 9,225 10,622
PM10 (particulate matter) [kg] 363 482 549

* Note: In 2019, a new calculation tool was introduced for collecting and assessing data for GIZ locations in Germany as of 2018. To ensure that individual years are unambiguously comparable and developments are not misinterpreted, 2017 and 2016 were partially reassessed. The revised assessments are presented in this report.

More on this topic

We work to reduce GHG emissions in our in-company processes and our projects.

Find out more about our climate management in our 2018 Climate and Environmental Report and the 2019 EMAS Environmental Statement (German only).