Ecolife again calculated DNS Belgium’s carbon footprint in 2022 and once again we were found to be climate-neutral. You can read Ecolife’s report here. Ecolife is a knowledge centre for footprinting and ecological behaviour change. Ecolife supports government departments, organisations and businesses in achieving their ecological goals.
In its report, Ecolife maps the carbon footprint of our operations for the year 2022, showing us to be compatible with Bilan Carbone®, ISO 14064 and the GreenHouseGas (GHG) Protocol. It distinguishes between direct emissions on-site (scope 1), indirect emissions from the use of electricity (scope 2) and indirect emissions from the purchase, waste and use of products and services, commuting and foreign business trips, among others (scope 3). The results were compared with those from 2020 and 2021. The data was provided by DNS Belgium and processed by Ecolife.
In 2022, DNS Belgium’s carbon footprint was 131 tons CO2eq. Although this was a rise of 8.1 per cent compared with 2021, it was still a good deal better than in 2019, the reference year from before the coronavirus pandemic. Compared with 2019, our carbon footprint has fallen by a huge 29.9%.
Travel by employees is the largest emitter, at 41.9%. In addition to commuting, air travel is mainly responsible for emissions. Unlike in recent years, when the effects of the pandemic were still being felt, we again had some foreign travel in 2022.
Compared with 2019, our carbon footprint has fallen by a huge 29.9%
Because we spent more of our time back in the office in 2022 (working from home dropped from 84% in 2021 to 65% in 2022), there was a 165% increase in the purchase of office supplies and printing paper. As mentioned about, this also caused more commuting.
Through our adjusted cafeteria benefits plan, we encourage our employees to exchange their company car for a leased bicycle. Employees who cycle not only receive a maintenance contract for their bicycle, but those who commute to work by bike receive an allowance for the kilometres cycled. A total distance of 10,228.80 kilometres was commuted by bicycle. We started nine new ongoing bicycle leases in 2022. Three leases expired in 2022 and one new bicycle lease was started.
We encourage visitors to come by bike to our office, which is easy to reach from Leuven station. Visitors can request a blue bike voucher that allows them to hire a blue bike free of charge for the short ride from the station to our office.
We also continue to focus on the electrification of our fleet of vehicles and we regularly take part in sustainability campaigns, such as Sustainable Mobility Day, the Bike to Work Summer Challenge, national applause day for cyclists, Car Free Day – and so on.
Much better results than reduction scenarios
Against this slight increase in CO2 emissions, our energy consumption fell dramatically in 2022. We have been offsetting the CO2 emissions we cannot reduce for years through internationally recognised offset projects. In 2022, that was the Soubré hydropower plant in Côte d’Ivoire, which generates an average of 1,170 GWh of green electricity annually.
In 2022, we are still way ahead of the reduction and baseline scenarios set out in our 2017 Climate Action Plan
Despite the slight increase in our emissions in 2022, we are still way ahead of the reduction and baseline scenarios set out in our 2017 Climate Action Plan, which is based on the targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement. We have set two KPIs for this segment of our strategy. The first is to be and remain climate-neutral. We have had that status since 2018. We achieve it by calculating our footprint annually and offsetting actual CO2 emissions through renewable energy projects. We also have a KPI that stipulates we must stay below the absolute limit of 180 tons of CO2 equivalent annually. This KPI was also achieved in 2022.
E-waste, recycling and purchasing policy
By 2022, we donated our discarded IT equipment to Digital For Youth. This was the first time since 2019 that we have made such a donation, so we had collected quite a bit of equipment since then. In total, we donated 106 items, including 22 laptops, 24 screens, 20 switches, 13 servers, 2 projectors, 3 access points and some other small equipment. 19 items were no longer fit for use and were recycled. The remaining devices were repurposed through Digital For Youth projects.
At DNS Belgium, we have intentionally opted for a decentralised purchasing policy. Instead of adopting a central procurement system, we give our self-directed teams the responsibility to make their own decisions about purchasing products and services. This approach allows us to bring decision-making as close as possible to the teams that actually use the products. Sustainability aspects are factored into the decisions made. To this end, we have developed the CSR matrix, a tool that can be used to identify the sustainability aspects of decisions. However, the volume of goods purchased is low, so the impact is small, too.
In 2022, we effectively engaged our key stakeholders in our operations and built valuable partnerships. We define our stakeholders based on our sustainability strategy and consider what impact we have on which target groups. We include both negative and positive impacts in this process.
For Inspiring Workplace, all DNS Belgium employees are our main stakeholders. They are represented by the CSR committee, which met four times in 2022 to monitor the progress of sustainability projects. Through this body, they have a say in the strategy applied and provide sustainability advice to the organisation.
For Leader in Security, the main stakeholders are spread across three categories: international ( CENTR and ICANN ), national (Cyber Security Coalition) and government (CCB – safe on web, the BIPT, FPS Economy). We conducted intensive consultations in 2022 with these partners and worked with them on cybersecurity, resilience and awareness. After the outbreak of war in Ukraine, we reported on cybersecurity risks to the BIPT on a daily basis.
For Digital Awareness, the main stakeholders in 2022 were Digital For Youth, the e-inclusion taskforce, Mediawijs and DigitAll. All of these organisations are leading players in the area of digital inclusion in Belgium.
For Sustainable Supply Chain Management, the main stakeholders for governance are the members of our governing body. They represent members of the non-profit organisation. The governing body is made up of nine members, two women and seven men. All members are delegated by the founding and effective members of DNS Belgium. Member selection is carried out autonomously by the members themselves. When nominating new members, we ask them to consider diversity and inclusion. Directors receive an expense allowance, as stipulated in the articles of association. ESG criteria are not included in determining this remuneration.
But our registrars are also important stakeholders. They are united through the registrar forum and the Belgian Registrar Association (Bereas). For our sustainability policy, VOKA is an important stakeholder and partner.
In order to achieve all of its objectives and ambitions while having as much impact as possible, DNS Belgium is a member of numerous federations and associations
We play an important role as part of CENTR: our Managing Director, Philip Du Bois, sits on the CENTR board. Lut Goedhuys and Kristof Tuyteleers are responsible for marketing and cybersecurity respectively. To inspire other foreign registries with our sustainability principles, we actively promote so-called ‘remote participation’ within CENTR. By having meetings conducted online as much as possible, we are able to dramatically reduce the number of flights taken by CENTR members.
In order to achieve all of its objectives and ambitions while having as much impact as possible, DNS Belgium is a member of numerous federations and associations: CENTR, ICANN/ccNSO, ICANN/RySG
Geo gTLD IVZ, VSDC, Beltug, Ripe NCC, Cybersecurity Coalition, VOKA, Unizo, Digital For Youth, Leuven klimaatneutraal 2030 and DigitAll.
In addition, we also pay contributions to DNS-OARC, APWG, Bike to Work and The Shift.
As part of the Sustainable Supply Chain Management segment, we defined the following KPIs:
- To produce a maximum of 0.10 kg CO2-eq per domain name and 4.83 tons CO2-eq. per FTE in 2022. This target was achieved. For 2022 this was 3.7 tons CO2-eq. per FTE and 75 grams CO2-eq. per domain name.
- Civic engagement: To submit an annual action plan for the Voka Sustainable Business Charter and complete at least 10 programmes that contribute to the SDGs. In 2022, we submitted 14 programmes for the Voka Sustainable Business Charter. These were all implemented in full.
- Sustainable mobility: Transition of our fleet of vehicles to electric by 2025. We are on schedule. In 2022, we ordered three electric vehicles and took delivery of four others. In 2022, three employees opted not to have a company car as part of their mobility budget. That brings the total to ten employees who have chosen not to include a car in their mobility budget any longer.
- Stakeholder engagement: To hold at least two Registrar forums annually whose reports we make public. This was achieved in 2022, when we organised three registrar forums.
- Customer satisfaction: After a contact with our support services, we ask the user to complete a satisfaction form. We aim for scores of 8/10 (for non-registrars) and 8.35/10 (for registrars) or higher. In 2022, this target was achieved for both registrars (9.29/10) and non-registrars (8.60/10). The overall score was 8.95/10.
- Transparent communication: To publish a general, financial and sustainability report. These reports are available here: https://www.dnsbelgium.be/en/about-dns-belgium/annual-reports