We offset our unavoidable CO2 emissions

Michelle Unternährer
August 16, 2021
Whether we like it or not, our activities as a company result daily in greenhouse gas emissions and thus contribute to the climate crisis. Since 2020, we have been offsetting what remains after avoiding emissions and increasing efficiency at Baloise. This article presents a selection of our projects from Switzerland, Germany and Brazil and explains why offsetting is not the solution, but an important part of our efforts for protecting the environment.

The idea: offset certificates

We do not achieve our commitment to climate protection exclusively by offsetting our emissions.

Gert De Winter
Group CEO

Too much CO2 in the atmosphere

Oil for heating, fuel for the car, coal-fired power for the fridge: Fossil fuels are still the biggest source of energy used to meet our everyday needs. These fossil fuels took centuries to form, and the greenhouse gases they contain – measured as CO2 equivalents – are released again when the fuels are burned, and go on to enter the atmosphere. Due to the increase in greenhouse gases, our planet is slowly but steadily becoming warmer, more uncomfortable and more unpredictable.

We offset our unavoidable emissions

For 2020, we are offsetting all emissions resulting from the direct use of energy for electricity, heating and business transactions, etc. for the first time. This has all been presented in our life cycle assessment (PDF 79 KB). But aren’t we taking the easy way out? “No,” says Kim Berrendorf, Sustainability Communications Manager for the Baloise Group: “In a first step, we try to avoid emissions as far as possible, i.e. to prevent them from arising in the first place. Wherever this is not possible, we reduce them to a minimum. Only then do we consider offsetting.”

1. Prevent, 2. Reduce

Our direct CO2 emissions have fallen continually by 74.4 per cent since 2000, with just 1.9 tonnes of CO2 emitted per employee in 2020. Contributing factors include our climate-friendly company buildings and the purchase of electricity from renewable energy sources at all locations where we can determine the mix ourselves. We are also tackling our indirect emissions, which are not yet documented in our life cycle assessment, with our responsible investment policy.

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Our commitment for the environment: climate protection

3. Offsetting – but how?

The idea of carbon offsetting

Companies and individuals can offset their own greenhouse gas emissions by buying CO2 certificates from climate protection projects. Such projects promote, for example, the expansion of renewable energies (solar power, biogas, hydropower) and thus reduce the consumption of fossil energy or bind greenhouse gases (e.g. through reforestation). Each certificate corresponds to one tonne of CO2 that is not emitted thanks to this project. The companies and individuals can consider themselves climate-neutral if they buy enough certificates to compensate for their emissions. For us, however, climate-neutrality is about more than simply offsetting everything. We want to avoid as much as possible, reduce as far as possible and only then offset all emissions that cannot be avoided. In order to be able to implement this even more carefully in the future, we are currently working towards obtaining a better overview of our direct and indirect emissions.

Together with Swiss Climate

We selected three certified projects in cooperation with Swiss Climate to offset the approximately 11,000 tonnes that we as a company emitted Group-wide in 2020. The projects are both related to countries in which we are active, and international in character – because emissions know no national borders:

Sustainability

We create sustainable value.