Climate neutrality

  • Fabian Sinner
  • March 8, 2024

Table of content

    Climate neutrality

    As the digital transformation progresses and awareness of environmental issues grows, companies, governments and private individuals are focusing on climate neutrality. The concept of climate neutrality is becoming an essential objective in the fight against global warming.

    Climate neutrality implies that the overall balance of greenhouse gas emissions is reduced to zero, which can be achieved through a combination of emissions reduction and offsetting.

    Special challenges and solutions for achieving a climate-neutral IT industry are particularly relevant in the context of information technology (IT). From energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies to comprehensive sustainability reports – the path to climate neutrality is complex and requires a coordinated approach from all parties involved.

    What is climate neutrality?

    Climate neutrality means that an individual, company or country has no negative impact on the climate by reducing its net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to zero. This is usually achieved through a combination of reducing emissions and offsetting the remaining emissions by investing in climate-friendly projects, such as reforestation, renewable energy or other methods of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

    Climate neutrality is an important goal in the fight against climate change as it helps to stabilize global temperatures by limiting the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Various countries and companies have already set targets to achieve climate neutrality in order to be in line with the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

    What is climate neutrality in relation to the IT industry?

    Information technology (IT) carbon neutrality is a state in which the IT industry has no negative impact on the climate by minimizing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it produces and offsetting any remaining emissions through emission reduction or compensation measures. This includes various strategies and practices in all phases of the IT lifecycle, from the manufacture of hardware to the operation of data centers and networks to the use and disposal of IT equipment.

    How can the IT sector become climate neutral?

    There are a number of approaches that can help make climate neutrality in the IT industry more achievable. Improving the energy efficiency of data centers, servers, network devices and end-user devices is critical to reducing energy consumption and associated emissions.

    The transition to renewable energy sources for data center and office operations reduces dependence on fossil fuels and supports a sustainable energy future.

    The environmentally conscious design, production, use and disposal of IT equipment can help to minimize the ecological footprint of IT.

    The promotion of cloud computing, virtualization and other efficiency-enhancing technologies helps to reduce the number of physical devices and servers and thus reduce the environmental impact.

    For emissions that cannot be avoided or reduced, companies can invest in climate protection projects to offset their carbon footprint. This can be done by supporting reforestation projects, renewable energy projects or other initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases.

    Companies are increasingly setting specific targets for achieving carbon neutrality and reporting transparently on their progress. This often involves the use of internationally recognized standards and frameworks for measuring and reporting emissions.

    What is the difference between climate neutrality and carbon neutrality?

    Climate neutrality and carbon neutrality are terms that are often used in the context of climate change action, but they refer to slightly different concepts.

    Carbon neutrality refers to the state in which the activities of an individual, company or country have no negative impact on the climate by reducing the net emissions of all greenhouse gases (GHG) to zero. Greenhouse gases include not only carbon dioxide (CO2), but also other gases such as methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated gases, which also contribute to global warming.

    Climate neutrality is achieved by reducing emissions of these gases and offsetting the remaining emissions through measures such as reforestation or investment in climate-friendly technologies.

    Carbon neutrality focuses specifically on achieving a net zero balance of carbon dioxide emissions. This means that for every amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere, an equivalent amount of CO2 is either avoided or removed from the atmosphere, for example through the use of carbon capture and storage technologies. Carbon neutrality does not directly address emissions of other greenhouse gases.

    The main difference between the two concepts therefore lies in their scope: climate neutrality looks at all greenhouse gases, while carbon neutrality focuses exclusively on carbon dioxide. As CO2 is the main driver of anthropogenic climate change, carbon neutrality is an important step towards climate neutrality, but does not cover the full range of greenhouse gas emissions that need to be addressed in order to achieve the comprehensive goals of climate protection.

    Climate neutrality: solutions for companies

    In order to become climate neutral, companies should go through a multi-stage process that includes assessing, reducing and offsetting their greenhouse gas emissions.

    Emissions inventory:

    • Determining the carbon footprint: The company must first determine its carbon footprint by calculating all direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions generated by its activities. This includes emissions from its own operating resources (Scope 1), indirect emissions from the use of purchased energy (Scope 2) and all other indirect emissions that arise in the value chain (Scope 3).

    Emission reduction:

    • Identification of reduction potential: Based on the emissions inventory, the company identifies areas with the greatest savings potential and develops strategies to reduce these emissions.
    • Implementation of reduction measures: These include measures such as increasing energy efficiency, using renewable energy, optimizing production processes, reducing waste and promoting sustainable mobility.

    Offsetting the remaining emissions:

    • Investment in climate protection projects: Unavoidable emissions can be offset by supporting external climate protection projects. These projects can be in the areas of reforestation, renewable energies or energy efficiency, for example, and must demonstrably reduce or bind greenhouse gases.

    Certification and reporting:

    • Proof of climate neutrality: Many companies strive for independent certification of their climate neutrality to ensure credibility and transparency.
    • Communication: The measures taken and progress made should be regularly communicated internally and externally in order to inform stakeholders and raise awareness of climate protection.

    Continuous improvement:

    • Monitoring and review: Companies should regularly review and update their emissions data to measure progress and identify further reduction potential.
    • Adaptation of strategies: Based on the knowledge gained, adjustments and improvements can be made to the climate protection strategy in order to secure and improve climate neutrality in the long term.

    These steps require an ongoing commitment and willingness to invest in sustainable technologies and practices. By achieving carbon neutrality, companies can not only make a contribution to global climate protection, but often also improve their operational efficiency and save costs in the long term.

    What Link11 is doing

    Link11 is committed to carbon neutrality by aligning all processes to minimize our environmental impact. We are aware of the growing importance of cyber resilience and the associated energy requirements, especially of data centers, and are taking proactive measures for green initiatives.

    These include giving customers the option to opt for “green” services, carefully selecting environmentally friendly partners and supporting projects to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, the Green Web Foundation recognizes Link11 as a green provider.

    As part of our commitment to carbon neutrality, Link11 works closely with ClimatePartner. This partnership enables us to accurately calculate our carbon footprint and offset it through targeted carbon reduction projects.

    Through this strategic cooperation, we not only strengthen our sustainable business practices, but also offer our customers the opportunity to actively participate in reducing emissions and thus make a positive contribution to climate protection. Find out more about climate neutrality at Link11 now.

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