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Mobility is becoming more eco-friendly

GIZ has set itself the goal of improving its ecological balance as one of the three dimensions of sustainability. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by changing our behaviour with regard to commuting and business trips makes an important contribution to this. In 2020, GIZ conducted a survey on the issue among staff at its Berlin, Bonn and Eschborn offices. The aim was to build a database to calculate the emissions generated during journeys to work up to 2020. We also wanted to gain a picture of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mobility and mobility habits, thereby enabling us to better plan infrastructure at our different sites – bike racks and charging points for electric cars, for example.

One of the key findings was that greenhouse gas emissions from commuting by GIZ staff in Germany were 18 per cent lower in 2019 than in 2017 – despite a rise in the number of people employed. This was possible primarily as a result of mobile working, for which standard arrangements were put in place in the Employer/Staff Council Agreement on Flexibilisation of Working Hours and Locations in January 2019, i.e. before the pandemic began. 

As to be expected, the coronavirus pandemic further boosted the trend towards remote working. Whereas staff previously worked one day a week from home on average, this figure has risen to four days a week since the start of the pandemic. 

Cycling to work instead of driving also cuts emissions, and GIZ encourages its staff to make this switch. The German Environmental Management Association (B.A.U.M.) has certified that GIZ is bicycle-fit, with two sites joining the list in 2020. Certification had already been granted to the Bonn site on Friedrich-Ebert-Allee in 2012 and 2018. The buildings on Kottenforst Campus in Bonn-Röttgen and the Bonn Campus that were completed in 2018 were then certified in 2020. GIZ also supports the use of public transport with schemes such as the ‘Jobticket’, whereby it pays for season tickets for commutes to work in Bonn and Eschborn.

Photo: A woman stands in a large hall next to a bicycle lift with a bicycle on it.
Among the things that attracted praise were the weatherproof, covered bike racks that give protection against theft, the modern showers and lockers as well as the facilities for drying wet clothes. In addition to this, there is no fee for charging e-bikes, and 20 company bikes are available for short-distance business errands.
(© GIZ / Deniss Kacs)

The country offices – an example from Namibia

The country offices use the Corporate Sustainability Handprint® (CSH) to report how they have reduced their environmental footprint, and continue to come up with new initiatives in this area. The country office in Namibia, for example, conducted a nationwide survey of its staff to identify environmental sustainability potential during the COVID-19 pandemic. It included a question about the extent to which staff in the individual projects have an opportunity to reduce their air travel in connection with the project in the coming years. A six per cent average reduction was calculated from the responses. This figure is now the target for lowering greenhouse gas emissions from air travel in Namibia. 

In figures

GIZ carried out a survey of staff at three sites in Germany, asking them about their mobility habits. The 2020 survey produced the following results:

GIZ staff commutes generated 18 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 than in 2017 – despite a rise in the number of staff.
Over half of the workforce (55 per cent) would like to replace between 30 and 50 per cent of business trips within Germany with virtual meetings.

Information on the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be found on this page:

Graphic: GIZ: SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities

Information on the following sustainability standards can be found on this page:
GRI standard 305; UNGC 8, 9; The Code 13