Sustainability report 2018

In 2018, we got off to a flying start with the VCDO. Our biggest challenge was embedding the sustainability strategy in our company's DNA. And it worked particularly well. Every colleague contributed which resulted in a reduction of 18% in CO2 emissions despite the fact we hired one extra FTE. I am also particularly proud about our co-operation with Coderdojo and the FPS Economy.

Philip Du Bois, General Manager

A busy year

In terms of sustainability, 2018 was a busy year for DNS Belgium. For the 2nd time we participated in the VOKA Sustainable Business Charter with as many as 30 successful completed campaigns. 

In terms of climate, it was the first full calendar year in which our climate measures had an effect, resulting in a significant reduction of our CO2 emissions. We were rewarded for this with a nomination as climate ambassador for the province of Flemish Brabant. And at the start of 2019 we were actually elected. 

Our sustainability strategy

Our sustainability strategy was established in 2016 and was further developed in 2017 through working groups consisting of staff members. Our sustainability strategy comprises four pillars. Each pillar has its own goals: 

  • Inspiring workplace: 
    • We want to be a workplace where the right people can do the right work in a healthy way, a place where employees can develop their talents and are given the space to do great things. 
    • Our aim is to be a workplace where people made a conscious choice to work there. An employer or choice. This is to find good new people faster and easier, but also to keep the good people and get the right people in the right positions. 
  • Leader in security:
    • We continuously innovate our security policy with the goal of zero incidents that affect the uptime of our infrastructure and a reduction in the number of cases of misuse. 
    • We take on a participating role as an expert in the Belgian cyber security landscape to be able to give relevant input to security authorities and the press. 
  • Digital awareness: 
    • We raise awareness about the use and positive aspects of the internet among certain target groups (children, the elderly, people with disabilities, SMEs that are not yet online). 
  • Sustainable chain:
    • We take on an exemplary role within our sphere of influence by encouraging our partners (suppliers and sales channels) to develop their own business in a sustainable manner. 
    • We draw up an action plan of social and environmental initiatives that we are going to undertake in the coming years and ensure that sustainability is embedded in our immediate environment. 

The development of each pillar is in the hands of a working group composed of staff members. 

Office where two people are working with computers. The man is sitting on a big ball, the woman is lifting weights to stay fit at work. There are two plants in the office and a big window.

Inspiring workplace

2018 was a year in which we made a major shift in our HR policy towards a more sustainable support and evaluation of our employees. Instead of an annual evaluation, we switched to a system of continuous feedback and an open coaching culture. We opted for an approach that is more in line with the day-to-day way of working together, not hierarchical but based on mutual respect and 2-way feedback. 

In addition, we continued to focus on the sustainable deployability of our colleagues with a focus on physical and mental health, resilience, engagement and talent development. We are fully committed to physical health with 3 fitness measurements and attention to healthy food and drinkable tap water. 

DNS Belgium pursues an HR policy in which we aspire to communication, transparency and equality. The working groups responsible for the development of the sustainability strategy for each pillar are a good example of this. 

We offered our employees the opportunity to opt for sustainable mobility through the cafeteria programme. Almost half of all employees opted for a sustainable mobility shift by giving up their parking space in exchange for, among other things, the possibility of leasing a bicycle. 

Finally, 2018 was a year in which we invested heavily in talent development. The focus was on external training, self-tuition, on-the-job learning and coaching. For example, we organised a Ripe training course in autumn, which we opened up to participants from various European countries.

Two people working in an office. Woman is securing the cloud, man is searching for security issues online.

Leader in security

In drawing up our sustainability strategy in 2016, operational stability, privacy and information security and policy compliance emerged as the most important themes. 2018 was a challenging year for us in this respect, particularly with the introduction of the European Privacy Directive (GDPR)

With the introduction of the GDPR, we chose to share our knowledge with our registrars through an information campaign via newsletters and publications on our website. We translated the directive into a practical manual for our registrars. 

On a European level, together with our fellow registries, we worked on the development and promotion of the CENTR Member Security Maturity Model. This model allows the registries to compare themselves with others in terms of the resilience of their own information security. It also provides them with an insight into the extent to which they are armed against possible future information security incidents. 

In 2018, we also worked with various policy makers in Belgium to increase the security of the Belgian internet. In December 2018, for example, we concluded a cooperation protocol with the FPS Economy to quickly take fake internet shops offline. We also worked together with the CERT and the CCB (Centre for Cyber Security Belgium), the FPS Interior and Child Focus in this context. 

Our own efforts to detect fake internet shops resulted in 2,931 domain names being taken offline. 

Person teaching all about the internet to a child, an entrepreneur and and older person.

Digital awareness

One of the main accomplishments in 2018 was the release of our new corporate website with the AnySurfer certificate. Dnsbelgium.be is now perfectly accessible for poor-sighted and (colour) blind, elderly and disabled people. 

We also invest heavily in education and training of young people. We hosted the CoderDojo of Leuven, which allowed about 40 children to learn how to program with Scratch. 

With Curious Cats, the developers of the educational game Ava & Trix, we launched a process to develop an episode on how the internet works. The aim of this teaching package is to make children, especially girls, enthusiastic about science and technology. 

Office with parked bicycle, a woman who drinks sustainably produced soup, a windmill and a garbage can with e-waste.

Sustainable chain

CO2 footprint

2018 was the first full year in which the results of our climate actions from previous years became visible. This resulted in a significant drop of our CO2 emissions by no less than 18% compared to 2017. 

Carbon Footprint (in tonnes of CO2)
  ISO Scope 1 ISO Scope 2 ISO Scope 3 Total Avoided %
Direct energy consumption buildings 3 12 - 15 - 7,1%
Purchases and inputs - - 4 4 - 1,7%
Waste processing - - 0,3 0,3 - 1 0,1%
Mobility employees - - 123 123 - 57,9%
Foreign travel - - 21 21 - 9,7%
Tangible fixed assets  - - 50 50 - 23,6%
Total 3 12 198 213 - 1  
Per domain name       0,00013    
Per FTE       7,1    

The direct energy consumption of the buildings, and in particular electricity consumption, showed the sharpest drop of more than 60%. This has two reasons: less electricity consumption and a larger share of green power.  The amount of air travel (in kilometres) was also significantly lower. 

One of the actions we took to achieve this was our support for the CENTR Remote Participation Project. Because our employees were able to participate remotely in the CENTR workshops, there was less need for air travel. In addition, more colleagues were able to follow the debates. This opportunity was offered to all CENTR members. 

Comparison footprint (in tonnes of CO2)
  2016 2017 2018 Reduction 16 - 17 Reduction 17 - 18
Direct energy consumption buildings 75 39 15 - 47,9% - 61,4%
Purchases and inputs 2,9 3,7 3,6 30,2% - 3,3%
Waste processing 0,2 0,3 0,3 50,5% 0,0%
Mobility employees 129 117 123 - 9,1% 5,2%
Foreign travel 38 48 21 26,7% - 57,2%
Tangible fixed assets  46 51 50 11,9% -2,6%
Total 290 259 213 - 10,7% - 18,0%
Per domain name 0,00019 0,00016 0,00013 - 12,7% - 18,0%
Per FTE 11,5 8,9 7,1 - 22,9% -20,0%

Mobility accounted for the most significant increase in footprint in 2018, particularly in terms of the number of work vehicle movements. The mobility footprint (travel plus commuter traffic) increased by 5%. This is mainly due to the fact that the total distance by car increased by 0.6% compared to 2017. As the workforce (in FTEs) increased by 2.4% in 2018, an increase of 0.6% in the total car distance is still limited. 

In 2018, we organised an eco-driving course for all employees. Unfortunately, it did not have the desired effect. Based on accurate, up-to-date emission data of work vehicles, it appears that 18 of the 23 cars had a higher consumption and CO2 emission per kilometre, while only 5 showed a drop. As a result, the average direct CO2 emission per kilometre in 2018 increased by about 3% compared to 2017.

In 2018, the global footprint was almost a third below the reduction scenario of the climate plan and almost a quarter below the 430 ppm reduction scenario per domain name. In 2017, the footprint per domain name (all activities required for a domain name for a full year) still corresponded to the direct CO2 emissions of 1 km driven with an average car. In 2018, the footprint corresponded to a distance of 820 meters driven with a car.

Climate neutral certificate

Offset of our CO2 emissions

We offset our 2018 CO2 emissions by supporting various VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) or Gold Standard certified projects. This year we support:

  • Reforestation projects in Kenya and the Amazon
  • A project in India and Kenya on energy efficient cooking stoves 
  • A water well programme in Uganda 
  • A geothermal power plant in Indonesia that generates energy from natural hot springs. 

More information about these programmes is available on the website of www.carbonfootprint.com

In addition to these projects abroad, we also supported a reforestation project in Essene, Vlaams Brabant via www.planteenbos.be

VCDO Laureaat 2018

VCDO

Just as in 2017, we took part in the Voka Sustainable Business Charter. This time we signed up with 32 campaigns, of which we managed to accomplish 30. An important campaign was the further integration of our sustainability policy into our business operations. That is why we introduced a compulsory sustainability check for all projects, in addition to the existing checks on privacy and information security and finance. 

The majority of these campaigns has already been described above. Below are a number of small campaigns we launched in 2018: 

  • An awareness campaign about pollution by tin cans.
  • Participation in sporting events such as 
  • Awareness campaign about switching off the lights after a meeting.
  • Inclusion of sustainability requirements when purchasing consumables, catering and IT equipment.
  • Switching to an organic fruit supplier who delivers fresh organically grown fruit to our office every week. 

Unfortunately, not all the campaigns we submitted were successful. Due to circumstances, we did not succeed in having staff members trained by Child Focus to give the internet safe & fun workshop. They were thus unable to give this workshop on safer internet day as we had planned. 

However, the 30 successful campaigns were more than enough to award us the charter.

Stakeholder management

In developing our sustainability strategy, we defined several key stakeholder groups. We consulted them in the development of our sustainability strategy. In addition, DNS Belgium has a long tradition of stakeholder consultation. 

In 2018, we organised several meetings with our main stakeholders. The registrar forum, the consultative body with our registrars, was held three times. The strategic committee for the .be, the consultative body in which representatives of the various federal public services have a seat, met once and our policy council met four times.

SDG 17: partnerships for the goals

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