Sustainability report 2019

For DNS Belgium, being more sustainable not only means having less negative impact on nature, but also making a positive contribution to the well-being of everyone in our society. The best proof of this: the various projects we carried out in 2019, of which we are very proud. We continue to focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility and strive to become the best student in class. Moreover, we want to be a source of inspiration for all stakeholders we are in touch with. So there is still work to be done, but we continue to do our best!

In 2019 DNS Belgium took part in the VOKA Sustainable Business Charter with 17 actions for the third year in a row. We carried out all of them with a lasting impact on the company and society. They included e.g. the release of the Codekrakers, a module in the Ava & Trix study package on how the Internet works and we set up a new non-profit association: DigitalForYouth.be

On the cyber security front, we became a member of the Cyber Security Coalition and invested in the robustness of Internet traffic in Belgium by installing local anycast servers in the network of the largest operators in our country. 

The policy of giving employees a say through various workgroups for the “inspiring workplace” goal remained in force. We also focused actively on the physical and mental health of our employees. 

We also assumed our role as climate ambassador for the province of Flemish Brabant in 2019 and took further steps to limit our CO2 emissions as much as possible. We can be rightly proud of our efforts. We reduced our climate footprint enormously for the third year in a row. By lowering our emissions by no less than 111.9% compared with 2018, we arrived at 187 tonnes of CO2 for 2019. All our colleagues did their bit in this respect, thereby attesting to the result of employee mobility. C02 emissions for this component dropped by no less than 29.5%. The footprint per full-time equivalent fell by 17% to 5.8 tonnes of CO2. The footprint per domain name is 117 grams of CO2, the same as the direct CO2 emissions of a 740-kilometre drive with an average car. 

Inspiring workplace

In 2019, we continued to build on the attainments of past years as regards the HR component of our sustainability strategy. We maintained the continuous feedback system and continued to focus on the training, personal growth and involvement of our employees. More and more of our colleagues drew up a personal development plan. Twenty-five colleagues in all attended 56 different training courses amounting to 694 hours of education and training. 

Special attention was paid to the physical and mental health of our colleagues. We organised various workshops on burnout prevention, mental rest and energy. In the fit@work programme we combined various sport challenges with a fitness test.  The number of colleagues who committed themselves to making a contribution to the mobility shift was up also. In 2019, we covered 29,118 km of commuting by bike. Fourteen colleagues did so using a lease bike.

Leader in security

In 2019, cyber security remained an important point of focus in our corporate strategy. After a positive screening we extended our ISO27001 certification for the next 3 years.

We invested in local anycast nodes which we placed in the networks of the various Belgian Internet service providers in particular in order to boost the robustness of the Belgian internet.  Our cooperation with the FPS Economy and our own efforts to detect malicious domain names yielded a record number of 5734 withdrawn .be domain names. 

We became a member of the Cyber Security Coalition, a unique partnership in which stakeholders from academia, public authorities and the private sector pool forces and resources to fight cybercrime. We paid extensive attention to online security in our communication via our website and the social media. In October we supported the national cyber security campaign of the CCB and the Cyber Security Coalition through our own communication channels. 

We also cooperated internationally with our fellow registries in CENTR and ICANN .

Digital awareness 

In March we launched the Codekrakers in the presence of Minister Philippe De Backer and Professor Em. Pierre Verbaeten. An episode in the Ava & Trix educational game, it explains how the Internet works in an accessible and playful manner to third-year primary school children. One out of two elementary schools in Flanders play the game. 

In 2019 we took a strategic decision to provide structural support to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by including SDG icons in our communication via our website and the social media. 

We have been working together with the non-profit association Close the Gap vzw for PC Solidarity since 2008 and had distributed 8086 PCs in this way to more than 900 projects in Belgium up to 2018. In 2019 we took the strategic decision to privatise this project. We set up a new non-profit association for this purpose: DigitalForYouth.be in an effort to provide all young people secure and easy access to ICT. We launch various calls and projects to support schools and organisations that commit themselves, together with us, to closing the digital gap in Belgium. In November 2019 we launched a first call for projects in cooperation with the King Baldwin Foundation

Sustainable chain 

CO2 emissions 2019 

We use the Carbon Balance methodology to determine our environmental footprint. This is in accordance with the ISO 14064-1 standard (for companies and associations) and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.  

The ISO standard accordingly divides our carbon footprint into three domains: 

  • Scope 1 consists of direct greenhouse gas emissions on the site or from our own company cars, i.e. it concerns our own fuel consumption for heating, machinery and mobility, and any leakages of cooling gases from cooling installations. 
  • Scope 2 consists of indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the direct consumption of electricity purchased on the site. These indirect emissions stem from the electricity generation facilities. 
  • Finally, Scope 3 comprises all other indirect emissions: for the production of purchased items (goods and services), the treatment of waste, commuting, transport and business travel exclusive of our own company vehicles. 

The table below shows the carbon footprint per impact category and ISO domain. The total footprint for 2019 amounts to 187 tonnes of CO2, i.e. 5.8 tonnes per FTE or 117 grams CO2-eq per domain name. The latter corresponds to direct fuel emissions of just under 740 kilometres of driving. 

Carbon footprint 2019 (in tons of CO2)
  ISO Scope 1 ISO Scope 2 ISO Scope 3 Total %
Direct energy consumption of buildings 3 12 15 8,1%
Purchases and inputs      4 4 1,9%
Waste treatment      0,1%
Employee mobility      87 87 46,4%
Travel abroad for business      24 24 13,0%
Fixed tangible assets      57 57 30,5%
Total 3 12 172 187  
Per domain name       0,00012  
Per FTE       5,8  

The largest part of the carbon footprint is determined by Domain 3: indirect emissions of mainly mobility (commuting and travel using company cars).

The direct energy consumption of the buildings includes the electricity consumption of data centres (Amazon Web Services (AWS)). Employee mobility includes not only commuting, but also private use of company cars and travel at home and abroad with company cars. This mobility accounts for approximately 46.4% of our carbon footprint. Travel abroad for business accounts for 13%. 

When treating waste, 1.1 tonnes of CO2 is avoided by recovering energy from the incineration of residual waste (avoiding emissions from new electricity generation) and recycling of paper and PMD (whereby we avoid emissions from the production of new paper, plastics and metals).

Comparison with 2016 – 2018 and our climate plan 

The table below presents a comparison of our carbon footprint for 2016 to 2019. 

Carbon footprint 2016 - 2019 (in tons of CO2)
  2016 2017 2018 2019 Reduction '16-'17 Reduction '17-'18 Reduction '18-'19
Direct energy consumption of buildings  75 39 15 15 - 47,9% - 61,4% 0,0%
Purchases and inputs  2,9 3,7 3,6 3,5 30,2% - 3,3% - 1,3%
Waste treatment  0,2 0,3 0,3 0,3 50,5% 0,0% - 12,5%
Employee mobility  129 117 123 87 - 9,1% 5,2% - 29,5%
Travel abroad for business  38 48 21 24 26,7% - 57,2% 18,1%
Fixed tangible assets  46 51 50 57 11,9% - 3,4% 14,9%
Total 290 259 212 187 -10,7% - 18,2% - 11,9%
Per domain name 0,00019 0,00016 0,00013 0,00012 - 12,7% - 18,1% - 11,9%
Per FTE 11,5 8,9 7,1 5,8 - 22,9% -20,1% -17,4%

There is a drop in the total carbon footprint of nearly 12% in 2019 compared with 2018. 

Employee mobility registered the sharpest decrease, i.e. 29.5%. This explains also the drop in the total carbon footprint, as mobility accounts for about half of DNS Belgium’s total emissions. We achieved this result through our efforts to make commuting as economical as possible and by using cars as little as possible. We cycled 29,000 kilometres while commuting from home to work in 2019, thereby saving 5 tonnes of CO2-eq compared to the same number of kilometres in an average car. 

The carbon footprint for travel abroad for business in 2019 is up compared to 2018. 

There is a slight increase in the carbon footprint because two company cars were added to our fleet and more ICT equipment was purchased compared with last year. 

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