Environment & Climate

AFC's commitment to the environment – ISO 14001 certified and climate neutral

 Environmental Management System according to ISO 14001

As environmental aspects are becoming more and more important in our daily work, AFC strived for an Environmental Management System standard (ISO 14001) certification for its premises in Bonn.

Deriving from AFC's Environmental policy,  the following environmental objectives were defined, to further reduce our environmental footprint:

  • Reduction of CO₂-emissions from flights by 1% within one year
  • Reduction of energy consumption by 1% within one year
  • Reduction of copy/printer paper consumption by 4% within one year
  • Enhanced waste separation
  • Reduction of water consumption by 1% within one year
  • Striving towards purchasing more regional, sustainable and ecofriendly office material

For every environmental goal, AFC’s GreenTeam came up with a set of initial measures, which is regularly updated and monitored. Also, our colleagues in Bonn had the opportunity to contribute their ideas how to best attain our goals.   

In implementing the Environmental Management System (EMS), AFC has achieved certification of its Environmental Management System Certificate according to ISO 14001 in November 2020.

Read our article for more information: AFC’s Environmental Management System is now certified!

 

AFC’s EMS initiatives and measures

Reduction of CO₂-emissions from flights:

  • We strictly avoid flights within Germany. AFC also assesses whether flights to neighbouring countries can be replaced by train rides.
  • We choose airlines that minimise the environmental effects from civil aviation activities and have action plans on CO₂-emission reduction, carbon-offsetting programmes and recycling programmes.
  • We help our employees to find environmentally-friendly transport alternatives to travel to the airport or office by promoting job ticket, job bike and BahnCard 50.
  • We promote video-conferencing.

Reduction of energy:

  • We replaced electronic paper shredders with a locked box for sensitive documents.
  • We avoid stand-by mode and switch off our electronic devices when they are not in use. We installed plug boards from which we can switch off complete systems.
  • We regularly delete the electronic waste bin and obsolete mails.

Reduction of paper:

  • We have a container to collect scrap paper at each printer for further use.
  • We have clearly labelled bins and removed obsolete bins.
  • We store documents digitally instead of print-outs.
  • If we print, we print duplex as default setting.

Enhanced waste management:

  • We have introduced the organic waste bin.
  • We have improved waste separation in kitchens, offices and the server room.
  • We collect coffee ground separately for reusing.
  • We collect paper towels in sanitary rooms separately for recycling.

Reduction of water:

  • We monitor the water meter monthly.
  • All AFC employees are aware of water saving measures.
  • We only switch on the dishwasher when it is fully loaded.

General aspects:

  • We avoid sending offers in plastic envelopes.
  • We keep and reuse cardboard boxes and envelopes.
  • We purchase more regional, sustainable and ecofriendly office material.
  • We have rechargeable batteries.

In June 2021, we evaluated the effects of the measures we had implemented over the first year after the start of our EMS, being fully aware that those months were extraordinary due to the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions. Here are the results:

  • Reduction of flight emissions by 69% within one year
  • Reduction of electricity consumption by 27% within one year
  • Reduction of the number of print-outs by 36% and reduction of numbers of copies by 59% within one year
  • Reduction of water consumption by 2% within one year

Following the success achieved in the first year, we have now set the environmental goals for the second year:

  • Flight emissions stay below 200t CO₂ per year
  • Electricity consumption stays below an average of 2,000 kWh per month
  • Paper consumption stays below an average of 10,000 print-outs and below 1,500 copies per month
  • Water consumption stays below an average of 11m³ per month

Climate-neutral AFC

Holistic climate protection is based on the following guiding principles: to avoid unnecessary emissions, to reduce emissions, and to offset unavoidable emissions. To address this challenge, we have instructed the company ClimatePartner to evaluate our Carbon Footprint in compliance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. In total, AFC’s Corporate Carbon Footprint for the year of 2020 amounted to 179 t CO₂.

 

ClimatePartner also offers a mechanism for compensating for those emissions. AFC chose the Gold Standard project, “Clean cookstoves, Nyungwe, Rwanda” as compensation project. “Gold Standard” guarantees that the shares of the compensation project are traded internationally and will be deleted once they have been purchased by AFC, i.e. they will not be sold twice. The project introduces efficient cooking stoves made of local clay and sand. The so-called Canarumwe model is produced by a local cooperative and consumes two thirds less fuel than the three-stone fire. The stoves are offered at a subsidized price so that low-income households can afford them. By purchasing stakes in this project, our Corporate Climate Footprint has been fully compensated. As a result, AFC is a certified climate-neutral company since May 2021.

We keep working on further avoiding and reducing emissions whenever and wherever possible to further reduce our corporate carbon footprint.