In 2022 we again outperform our climate goals

18 April 2023

Each year, Ecolife calculates the carbon footprint of DNS Belgium as part of our policy on sustainability. A company’s carbon footprint reflects the effect that the company is having on global warming.

DNS Belgium’s carbon footprint in 2022 was 131 tons of CO2eq. That’s 0.075 kg of CO2eq per domain name. This was an increase of 8.1% compared with the previous year, but a decrease of 29.9% compared with 2019, the reference year from before the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the rise, the figure comfortably exceeds DNS Belgium’s carbon target for 2022.

In making its calculation, Ecolife divides our carbon footprint into 3 scopes:

  1. Scope 1 (direct emissions) is made up of direct greenhouse gas emissions at the DNS Belgium site or from its own company vehicles. These emissions include the company’s fuel consumption for heating, machinery and mobility, as well as any leaks of refrigerant gases from cooling systems. Scope 1 represents 34.9% of our emissions.
  2. Scope 2 (indirect emissions related to electricity) consists of indirect greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the direct consumption of electricity purchased at the site (as well as consumption by our datacentres). These indirect emissions make up only a small part of our total emissions (2.9%).
  3. Scope 3 (other indirect emissions) include all other indirect emissions and represent the largest share (62.2%) of our carbon footprint. They include emissions for the production of purchased products (goods and services), the processing of waste, travelling to and from work, transport, business travel, excluding our own company vehicles and visitor mobility.

Employee mobility is the main source of emissions, at 41.9%. Tangible fixed assets are the second-largest contributor to our carbon footprint, at 39.7%. Foreign business travel (9.6%) represents the third-largest part of our carbon footprint.

Mobility has increased compared with 2021

A carbon footprint is expressed in CO2 equivalents, abbreviated to CO2eq. It is done this way because, obviously, a great many different gases are responsible for total emissions. Using CO2eq as a unit makes it possible to compare the effects of the various gases with each other. For example, 1 ton of methane is the equivalent of 34 tons of CO2.

Overall, our total carbon footprint rose by 8.1% in 2022, compared with 2021. The main reason for this was air travel. In 2021, the aftermath of the pandemic meant that there was no foreign business travel. In 2022, though, a distance of 57,168 km was travelled by plane, resulting in 13 tons of CO2eq.

Despite the slight increase in our emissions in 2022, we are still doing a lot better than the suggested reduction and reference scenarios.

Then, because we spent part of our time again in the office in 2022 (the rate of working from home fell from 84% in 2021 to 65% in 2022), there was a 165% increase in purchases of office equipment and printing paper. It also meant more commuting. As a result, the mobility of our staff generated 3.8 tons of CO2eq more than in 2021. As an important side note here, we should also point out that we went from 32 FTEs to 35 in 2022.

Energy consumption fell sharply compared with 2021

Our consumption of electricity again fell dramatically in 2022. Whereas we consumed 58,440 kWh in 2021, our overall consumption was just 15,736 kWh in 2022. This was due to a number of energy-saving measures:

  • LED lighting
  • less capacity consumption by our office datacentre
  • which also meant that the air-conditioning used less electricity
  • the removal of the drinks dispenser

There was also a 10.5% reduction in tangible fixed assets (51.9 tons of CO2eq in 2022, compared with 58 tons of CO2eq in 2021). There was one less company car in 2022.

Much better results than the reduction scenarios

Despite the slight increase in our emissions in 2022, we are still doing a lot better than the suggested reduction and reference scenarios.

The chart below plots two business-as-usual reference scenarios.

  • The first starts from the footprint according to the baseline measurement in 2016 and extrapolates that footprint to subsequent years, based on the number of FTEs.
  • The second reference scenario uses the number of domain names to extrapolate to the following years.

Based on these two reference scenarios, there are two other scenarios that correspond with the Paris climate targets (limiting global CO2 concentration to 430 ppm). With this information, Ecolife has worked out a reduction scenario in our climate plan, based on simulations. Remarkably, the 2022 footprint is below half of the reduction scenario stated in the climate plan.

This outstanding result is due to systematic working from home, which we have continued to do since the end of the pandemic. But, of course, it is also due to the great efforts we continue to make to reduce and offset our climate footprint. In 2021, we offset our carbon footprint by supporting the Soubré hydropower plant in Ivory Coast. This water-powered facility generates an average of 1,170 GWh of green electricity each year.

The offsetting scheme is approved by PAS 2060 (Verified Carbon Standard and Clean Development Mechanism).

With this article, we support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.