As in previous years, DNS Belgium succeeded in achieving its climate targets in 2021 also. We have our climate footprint calculated every year by Ecolife. The results achieved are compared with those of 2019 and 2020 and with the climate plan that DNS Belgium had Ecolife draw up for the period 2016-2021.
In 2021, we had a climate footprint of 121 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. This is a reduction of 1.8% compared with 2020 and 35.3% compared with 2019, the reference year before the coronavirus pandemic. This more than meets the 2021 climate targets. Incidentally, those 121 tonnes of CO2 equivalents correspond to 69 grams of CO2 equivalents per domain name we manage. To give you an idea: that is what an average car emits on half a kilometre.
The pandemic lent a hand
We emitted two tonnes less than in record year 2020, in which we reduced our emissions by a whopping 34% compared with the previous year. Admittedly, the pandemic had a positive effect on our CO2 emissions as of March 2020. Working from home enabled us to reduce our fuel consumption by 30% while using a bit less electricity - which was green anyway. The effect is not so great, however, because we settled a surplus in our emissions for working from home in both 2020 and 2021. That measure is structural, so we will apply it every year.
Needless to say, our office is not getting smaller because fewer people were working there: we could save a little on electricity, as mentioned, but not on heating.
The ban on business travel since the outbreak of the pandemic had a bigger effect on our CO2 emissions. There were no foreign business trips by train or plane in 2021, which meant a 100% reduction compared with 2020.
DNS Belgium remains committed to reafforestation in its own country too.
Reafforestation at home and abroad
To offset the emissions we cannot reduce, we supported several reafforestation projects at home and abroad in 2021. For example, we supported a renewable energy project in Patagonia (Argentina). And we extended our cooperation with the non-profit association Planteenbos.be vzw for four years at home. DNS Belgium remains committed to reafforestation in its own country too.
Delayed delivery of electric cars
These ecological windfalls notwithstanding, the electrification of our vehicle fleet has been somewhat delayed. The delivery of all new cars has been delayed worldwide due to the shortage of chips and semiconductors. Only two of the eight electric cars ordered could be delivered. This is very unfortunate because mobility accounts for a substantial part of our emissions (41.8%) produced by commuter traffic, private trips with the company car as well as domestic business trips.
In 2021, we also had to purchase new ICT equipment. This weighs heavily on the final ecological balance sheet, as fixed tangible assets remain our largest emission item (48.2%). There was a slight decrease compared with 2020 despite the new equipment.
Better than the predetermined scenarios
In 2016, we drew up two reference scenarios based on that year's baseline. One reference scenario extrapolates that footprint to the following years based on the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs). When the workforce (expressed in FTEs) grows by 10% therefore, the footprint also increases by 10%. The second scenario uses the number of domain names to extrapolate.
These are reference scenarios that assume 'business as usual', with no additional efforts since 2016. Ecolife relied on those reference scenarios to devise two reduction scenarios for us: one that matches the international climate goals that propose an annual footprint reduction of 3%; and a more ambitious plan that goes well beyond what the international climate goals require. We remain well ahead of both reduction scenarios ever since they were devised.
A fine result
It is therefore fair to say that 2021 was another successful year. Our CO2 emissions did not drop enormously overall, but DNS Belgium is climate neutral for the umpteenth year in a row and we have far outpaced the targets set in our 2016 climate plan.