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Climate management in the spotlight

GIZ works on the principle of first avoiding greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) wherever we can, before reducing them and finally offsetting emissions where neither is possible. We are systematically mapping our GHG emissions as we move towards becoming a climate-neutral company. The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is our tool of choice in Germany, while we use a tool developed in-house, the Corporate Sustainability Handprint ® (CSH), to identify emissions in other countries.

In recent years, GIZ has reduced its overall GHG emissions per staff member in Germany. Our new buildings were constructed to the most rigorous energy-efficiency standards. GIZ locations in Germany use almost exclusively green electricity. The consumption of conventional electricity stems from the use of common spaces, such as reception areas and lifts. Since GIZ rents some buildings, it has only limited influence on the choice of electricity product. GIZ was certified as a bike-friendly employer thanks to our work to upgrade the bicycle infrastructure at German locations. It also encourages staff to choose sustainable options for their commute to work by taking part in the Jobticket scheme in Bonn and Eschborn, under which employers can buy discounted season tickets for their employees.

On the road to climate neutrality

Travel is part of everyday life for GIZ staff. Digital technologies like online conferences can replace some, but not all, of this travel. After all, personal interaction is critical for GIZ to work effectively in many cases. The maxim of first avoiding (verifying the need for travel), then reducing (making business trips climate-friendly) and finally offsetting GHG emissions applies here too.

GIZ has been climate-neutral in Germany since 2013. All of our GHG emissions in Germany are offset, not only those produced by commuter travel and flights by Germany-based staff, but also those from other sources, such as natural gas heating and emissions from coolants. Starting in 2020, GIZ aims to offset all of its GHG emissions outside Germany, too.

In 2019, GIZ emitted 29,669 tonnes of
greenhouse gases in Germany from:



2,454 tonnes

Natural gas heating,
fuel for company vehicles,
coolants and generators


921 tonnes

Electricity and/
District heating/


26,293 tonnes

business trips by
Germany-based staff

GHG emissions outside Germany stand at
approximately 115,586 tonnes, including:


86.254 tonnes

Business trips

GIZ’s contribution to
greenhouse gas emmission savings:



Skype or other
video conferences
per year

Climate impacts of our projects

The projects that GIZ carries out often have a positive impact on climate change mitigation and adaptation by directly or indirectly reducing or avoiding GHG emissions. In 2019, projects implemented by GIZ avoided around 32 million tonnes of GHG emissions (CO2e) directly or indirectly, including 29.5 million tonnes from projects commissioned by BMZ. These figures were gathered in a company-wide survey based on an ex post method of estimation.

In Morocco, for instance, conventional energy sources have been replaced by installing solar panels on mosque roofs. And in a number of partner countries, we provide advice on mainstreaming long-term national programmes to promote electricity generated from renewable sources. These initiatives can yield significant indirect reductions in GHG emissions if fossil energy sources are removed from the grid.

But GIZ’s work can also have negative impacts on the climate if it generates GHG emissions that harm the climate directly or indirectly. GIZ examines potential negative climate impacts prior to commissioning using the Safeguards and Gender Management System (SuG). If a risk is identified, the project team has to perform an in-depth climate assessment and develop appropriate measures to avoid or reduce significant emissions.

Safeguards+Gender Management System 
Our climate management activities in Germany and abroad

Graphic: GIZ: SDG 7 Affordable and clean energy
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 13 Climate action
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 15 Life on land

GRI standard 102-15, 305; UNGC 7, 8, 9; The Code 5, 13