DNS Belgium knows better than anyone that registries have an impact on the sustainability of digital society. By playing a pioneering role in this respect, we are able to inspire our partners, customers and stakeholders. Together, we can change the world: for ourselves, but even more importantly for future generations who depend on us to act now.
That was the message Arnaud Recko, our sustainability coordinator, gave during a webinar on sustainability organised by CENTR for its members. He was given the opportunity to explain how DNS Belgium has successfully implemented its sustainability strategy for several years now. Together with his EURID colleague, Giovanni Seppia, he provided more information about the project that EURID, AFNIC, the Swedish Internet Foundation and DNS Belgium carried out within CENTR. In collaboration with Ecolife, this work group developed a model that allows registries to calculate their carbon emissions according to general standards to compare their activities. However, the main objective is to inspire and encourage other registries to start thinking about their own sustainability and carbon emissions.
Ensuring a sustainability strategy is in place
Having a sustainability plan is an important first step in becoming a more sustainable organisation. DNS Belgium developed its sustainability strategy in 2016. We defined objectives and determined the KPIs and actions to achieve our goals and have been implementing these in our organisation since 2017.
Just like DNS Belgium, the Swedish Internet Foundation, the French AFNIC, EURid, the manager of .eu, also have sustainability programmes. An important conclusion from the comparative study of these programmes is that a climate plan or policy is an important first step. But more is needed. To successfully take the crucial next steps, you need to:
- Get to work on sustainability within your organisation and encourage sustainable practices and initiatives.
- Take cost-effective sustainability measures - it is possible to save money and save the planet at the same time.
- Sharing objectives within your organisation, with your stakeholders and within your sector.
Reduce your carbon emission…
One of the objectives we set ourselves in 2016 was to become carbon neutral. To achieve that, you need a solid carbon policy. This can start, for example, with a Baseline Emission Inventory in which you measure your carbon footprint as a benchmark for the future.
To subsequently reduce your carbon footprint, you can take a whole series of measures and actions. You can meet digitally as much as possible, choose a green electricity supplier and green hosting , buy locally, etc.
DNS Belgium also pursues a sustainable mobility policy. In concrete terms, this means that we encourage our employees and visitors to use public transport and cycle as much as possible. Employees have the option of exchanging their company car for a lease bicycle. It earned us the Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate of the Fietsersbond.
… and offset what you don't reduce
You can reduce your carbon emissions, but you can go a step further and offset your current and historic carbon emissions. There are many carbon offset projects that offset your organisation's emissions by financing an equivalent carbon saving elsewhere.
DNS Belgium did this by sponsoring the Carbon Footprint Gold Standard VER projects (Verified Emission Reduction). These are projects in developing countries that benefit the climate. Closer to home, we are also reducing our carbon emissions by supporting the Planteenbos.be non-profit organisation. This non-profit organisation carries out afforestation projects in Flanders.
Success stories of sector colleagues and competitors are always motivating and inspiring.
Share success stories with your sector
Success stories of sector colleagues and competitors are always motivating and inspiring. To compare efforts and results in our own sector, Ecolife consultants have helped registries compare their sustainability statistics to come to a shared model for measurement and performance indicators.
This is not an easy exercise as registries operate in a specific, local context with different laws, economics, etc. Ecolife therefore recommends the use of two carbon footprint indicators. The first measures the amount of carbon emitted (kg CO2eq) per domain name. This indicator can be used for the internal sustainability policy. The second indicator measures the total amount of carbon emissions of the organisation and can be used for carbon offsetting.
Compare emission and calculate the offset
By using a shared model that includes the same emissions data, registries can compare the results of their sustainability efforts.
To calculate offsets, the Ecolife model takes into account all emissions except for European flights. These are covered by the European Emissions Trading Scheme, as are the energy consumption of data centres and emissions generated by the cooling of data centres. Office space and car parks are included in the calculation of emissions to be offset, but not in the emissions per domain name. According to Ecolife, this is a condition to call your organisation climate neutral.