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Climate management at GIZ

GIZ works on the principle of first avoiding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions wherever we can, before reducing them and finally offseting emissions where neither is possible. To this end, we systematically map the emissions we cause. 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 partner countries.

In recent years, GIZ has taken important steps to reduce its worldwide GHG emissions. Our new buildings in Germany, like the Campus Forum in Bonn, were planned in compliance with the most rigorous energy-efficiency standards. Furthermore, all GIZ locations in Germany have switched almost exclusively to green electricity. We also aim to cut emissions in partner countries. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, for instance, staff were surveyed to find out more about their mobility. The findings led to recommendations on how to avoid business travel and thus reduce greenhouse gases. Other offices are looking at switching to renewable energy sources, for instance by installing photovoltaic panels.

More than three quarters of GIZ’s GHG emissions are caused by travel, especially air travel. A combination of mandatory regulations and guidelines will be needed to achieve a significant reduction here. With a view to changes in mobility, we are looking in particular at business travel and helping staff to consider whether a trip is really necessary. We also see scope to cut emissions with respect to the vehicles at our sites and the means of transport that staff use to come to work. How we intend to handle these and other changes is laid out in our Sustainability Programme.

GIZ’s approach to climate management

The following priorities were identified: 1. Avoid CO2, 2. Reduce CO2, 3. Offset CO2. Examples of avoiding CO2: Organise a video conference rather than a face-to-face meeting involving air travel; Use an electric car or bicycle rather than a car with a combustion engine; Use green electricity rather than electricity from a conventional energy mix; Use electricity from our own solar panels rather than from the socket. Examples of reducing CO2: Take a train or other public transport rather than flying; Live in rural areas rather than a concrete jungle; Use electrical devices with optimum energy efficiency rather than ordinary devices. Examples of offsetting CO2: Gradually enhance our carbon footprint; use carbon certificates.

Climate impacts of our projects

On behalf of the German Government and other international commissioning parties, GIZ works actively to mitigate climate change and support adaptation to the effects of climate change. More than one third of all projects directly address climate impacts. Climate change mitigation and adaptation measures are fairly well balanced in our portfolio.

In many partner countries, GIZ fosters climate change mitigation in value chains. In Costa Rica, for instance, we are helping small farmers grow sustainable coffee. Improved farming methods and enhanced processing make an important contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Shade trees, for example, are planted to protect other plants from excessive sunlight. They also improve the soil, bind carbon dioxide and provide timber. Costa Rica now intends to apply the experience it has gained in coffee production to other agricultural produce, including bananas, rice and sugarcane. In the long term, targeted climate change mitigation interventions and the conservation of biodiversity in value chains will help achieve the objectives of international agreements including the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

When projects are planned, GIZ ensures that they do not generate any additional risks to the climate. Our Safeguards+Gender Management System helps us recognise hazards of this sort at an early stage, allowing us to take action to minimise risks. We use the system to examine every new project for any adverse impacts on the climate. It also checks for any risks in the field of adaptation to climate change and ensures that the consequences of climate change are taken into account when projects are developed.

If we can see that a project might directly or indirectly cause additional GHG emissions, or that the consequences of climate change have not been adequately taken into account, this is examined in more depth at the planning stage. We also identify additional measures that must be included in the project concept.

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

Graphic: GIZ: SDG 7 Affordable and clean energy
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 13 Climate action

Information on the following sustainability standards can be found on this page:
GRI standard 102-29; UNGC 7, 8, 9; The Code 13