Climate Labels Amid Profound Transformations

Is the CO2 Neutral label still fit for purpose? An EU review

The European Commission proposed changes in how companies can talk about their sustainability efforts, tackling greenwashing. Responding to unsubstantiated claims like ‘eco-friendly’, ‘carbon neutral’ or ‘biodegradable’, the EU legislators have set some clear parameters through two legislative instruments, which are being finalised: Empowering Consumers Directive and the Green Claims Directive.

The Empowering Consumers Directive will regulate vague, unsubstantiated environmental claims such as “eco-friendly,” “natural,” “biodegradable,” “carbon-neutral,” or “eco”. This will mean that only labels based on official certification schemes or established by public authorities will be permitted in the European Union. Environmental claims suggesting that a product has a neutral, reduced, or positive environmental impact due to emission compensation programs, like offsetting, will be restricted and subject to conditions. The Green Claims Directive will require companies who make claims to have verified evidence that is easy for consumers to access. It will also place some harsh penalties on companies who don’t conform.

CO2 Neutral label from CO2logic addresses many greenwashing concerns

CO2logic has proudly used its ‘CO2 Neutral’ label for the past 15 years. The label already focuses on increasing its ambition in terms of emission reductions, demands official accountability from the client’s top management in the implementation of a climate strategy, ensures the transparency and comparability of data through its QR code and strengthens credibility with the mandatory third-party verification performed by a third party verifier, Vinçotte.

When will the EU changes be applicable?

In about two years, these changes will be enforced by EU member states. At the moment, the EU is finalising the regulatory process for the Empowering Consumers Directive and the Green Claims Directive. Both legislative instruments will be published by the end of this parliamentary session in May 2024.

Always keeping a close eye on changes.

CO2logic, a South Pole company, is closely monitoring the dynamic regulatory advancements in the EU and other jurisdictions. We want to ensure the CO2 Neutral label remains an effective tool to fight greenwashing and elevate climate ambition..

We believe companies must continue to communicate their environmental ambitions and strategies, especially when their claims are verifiable! The latest Net Zero report from South Pole, based on interviews with CSR executives from major companies, confirms the trend outlined in 2023, showing that more and more companies are deliberately limiting or avoiding climate communications. Legislative changes like the Green Claims Directive and the Empowering Consumers Directive will ensure that greenwashers are driven out of the market, giving companies confidence to communicate accurately about the impact their businesses have against climate change.

If you have specific questions about your approach to emissions reporting or using a label, please contact co2neutrallabel@southpole.com.

CO2logic has awarded the first companies with their new CO2 Neutral label

CO2logic, a South Pole company, has awarded the first 85 companies pioneering climate action with their new CO2 Neutral label

Updated in 2022 with a revised protocol and the introduction of individual QR codes on each label, the new version of the CO2 Neutral label enables companies to communicate transparently on their commitment and their climate action plan.

It responds to growing public and corporate awareness of climate issues, and anticipates regulatory and market expectations by certifying that the carbon footprint of a product, service or organization is accurately measured, that emission reduction actions are prioritized and that the company finances certified climate projects to offset its residual emissions.

The new version of the label also introduces a graded approach (bronze, silver, gold) that reflects every companies’ level of maturity and concrete progress made, while enabling consumers to compare the level of environmental performance of committed companies.

Learn more about the label in this video (in French) on trends.levif.be 

A gold label to showcase Sodexo’s inspiring climate commitments in Belgium

Following CO2logic’s label upgrade in 2022, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services (Sodexo BRS) obtained the first-ever Gold Company CO2 Neutral label demonstrating its engagement and strong ambition on its way to net-zero.

Greg Renders, Corporate & Social Responsibility Manager at the Belgian office, tells us everything about the meaning of the certification and the way forward; delivering a powerful message to all other businesses.

Sodexo has been granted the first Gold label at the level of the Belgian entity of Benefits and Rewards Services. Following the launch of the upgraded CO2 Neutral label, based on a robust science-aligned Protocol, improved processes and holistic approach covering calculations, reductions and offsetting; CO2logic is proud to have guided Sodexo on its climate journey and recognises the efforts and measures taken by the company on their climate strategy.

Greg Renders, has accepted to talk us through their plan to reduce their carbon footprint, the underlying challenges but also the expected outcome and impact at a much broader scale.

In order to reach its climate ambition, Sodexo BRS must shoulder its responsibilities, rethink its customers’ solutions and its corporate culture.

Sodexo BRS has established a strong reduction plan with more than 20 actions with the objective of reaching its net zero ambitions by 2035. Amongst these actions, two of them are meant to tackle their main emissions hotspots (responsible for up to 80% of their total carbon footprint). Greg reports these two actions detailing the issue, its corresponding actions as well as the challenges for implementation:  

One of the hotspots of emissions is directly linked to the mobility of its employees, more precisely the use of company cars and the second hotspot lays on the production, transport and distribution of the payment solutions (paper and digital vouchers and sodexo card).

To tackle these main two emitting factors, Sodexo is working on an extensive and holistic approach, with both measures that can be implemented in the short to medium term but also looking into the future:  

1) A radical transformation of the mobility behaviors and policies is needed to reduce emissions from company cars and employee commuting in general. After an in-depth analysis of commuting habits, Sodexo realized the office location greatly influenced the employees’ choices related to transportation means. Their current office is based at the exit of the highway with limited public transportation alternatives and many parking spots available. They came to the realization that in order to promote sustainable commuting, they had to come up with attractive options, while solving the main issue: office location. Therefore, a bold decision was made to relocate their office (planned for Q4 2023) in the center of Brussels to a more environmentally responsible and easy to access building (with limited parking possibilities). 

For a company with 70% of journeys done by car, this is a radical and difficult shift to make. This decision triggered many internal discussions but it is the most effective way to bear our responsibilities and substantially reduce our impact.” Furthermore, to make this work, Sodexo is rethinking its mobility plan and teleworking policies to maintain employee engagement and comfort. According to a preliminary assessment, these measures could reduce their car fleet by 75% which would significantly reduce scope 1 emissions.  

2) Reducing emissions related to the payment solutions is a real challenge that requires a revolution in mindsets. In order to reduce to a maximum the emissions arising from payment solutions in the near future, Sodexo first needs to digitize all the payment modes and fully dematerialize them at a later stage. As a first step towards this massive change, Sodexo will be collaborating with pilot-clients (startups) to implement test projects aiming at better anticipating and preparing for “a revolution”:

Moving from paper vouchers to digital ones was a first revolution; fully dematerializing payments (meaning not having a card at all and paying only with a phone, for example) will be the second one. The market is not mature yet for this drastic change but mindsets will have to evolve”.

An upgraded label as a tool to transparently recognise the efforts of each company and a way to motivate all businesses to embark in a climate journey to attain one common objective: scaling impact to help tackle climate change

The Gold label responded perfectly to our ambition since we measure all three scopes and have submitted targets to the Sciences Based Target initiative”. According to Greg, the upgrade of CO2logic’s CO2 Neutral label was vital in order to transparently and consistently show the ambition and progress of each company on their climate strategy.  In addition, Greg also believes that the label is a useful tool to draw attention and open up the discussion around climate topics that are not always easy to grasp. Without such a tool, it is challenging to bring sustainability topics to the table. 

“Awareness is key to understand that we all have a role to play” 

Change isn’t easy and while deep adjustments await Sodexo to ensure they reach their environmental objectives, Greg emphasizes the importance of becoming aware of climate change and its challenges. The stakes are too high and every single individual and company (whatever its sector or size) has a role to play and must start acting now. For this, he advises all businesses to start measuring and understanding their impact, developing measures to address their emissions and prepare for a low-emission future.  

CO2Logic launches new CO2 Neutral label

« Communicating better to drive global climate action »

Faced with the urgency, the evolutions of scientific knowledge on climate and to ensure companies and the general public get the most reliable communication possible, CO2logic launched on 20th of September, in the presence of Zakia Khattabi, Federal Minister of Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal, a new version of its CO2 Neutral label.

From left to right, Antoine Geerinckx, founder of CO2logic, Zakia Khattabi, Federal Minister of Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal and Mathieu Cribellier, Managing Director CO2logic, a South Pole company.

This update of the CO2 Neutral label meets a triple objective: more ambition, more transparency and more impact. To reach the emissions reduction target necessary to keep global warming below 1.5°C by 2050, having an ambitious reduction plan in line with science is now essential for all companies.

Committing to a carbon neutral approach means choosing to take responsibility immediately and implementing the necessary strategies to reduce our impact, without transferring the cost to future generations.

Find out what the press has to say: L’Echo, 20th of September 2022

a first: the 763 Delhaize stores are CO2-Neutral

04 / 2021

Brussels – Delhaize is proud to announce today that all 763 of its stores in Belgium are now CO2 neutral. Thanks to drastic measures, in just over 10 years Delhaize has succeeded in reducing the CO2 emissions of all its stores by 70%. The remaining 30% are offset by launching or supporting sustainable projects in Belgium and abroad. By the end of 2021, Delhaize aims to become completely CO2 neutral for all its activities and thereby show that it is possible to take effective measures in the fight against CO2 emissions.

Our planet is home to humans, animals, plants and trees. It provides us with food, fresh air and a liveable climate. In short, it has taken care of us for millions of years. But studies show the planet is not in good shape. Due to our way of life, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased significantly over the past 100 years, which has a negative impact on the climate. It is time to take action, the moment for carbon neutrality has arrived if we want to guarantee a liveable planet for our future generations.

The issue of CO₂ is one of our main priorities today because we must act now to leave a healthy planet for future generations. As one of the largest retailers in Belgium, we want to create a positive impact and our CO₂ emissions are part of our responsibility. Carbon neutral stores are a step in the right direction, and it shows that together we can make a difference, we can work towards a drastic reduction in CO₂”, says Xavier Piesvaux, CEO of Delhaize.

Our mission: reduce CO2 emissions to the absolute minimum

Reducing CO2 emissions has been a priority for Delhaize for several years now and has gained momentum thanks to The Lion’s Footprint program launched two years ago. The first “CO2 project” Delhaize tackled is the item that emits the most: all 763 of its stores, this concerns both integrated supermarkets and independent Delhaize stores (AD Delhaize, Proxy Delhaize and Shop&Go). Together, the 763 stores are responsible for more than three-quarters of all CO2 emissions from Delhaize. It was therefore obvious to focus on this priority.  

How did Delhaize go about it? Thanks to a series of drastic measures, Delhaize has succeeded in reducing CO₂ emissions drastically in just over 10 years. For example, green electricity was unanimously chosen for all our stores, and heat pumps were installed. Solar panels were also placed on store roofs when their structure permitted. In terms of lighting, Delhaize has opted for energy-efficient LED lighting and natural light wherever possible. For refrigeration, Delhaize has chosen energy-efficient refrigerators and freezers, and doors have been placed on many of the refrigerators.

Leaks of refrigerant fluids are major polluters and for years now, Delhaize has replaced a large proportion of the refrigeration units which used HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) gases; instead, Delhaize uses natural refrigerants. Delhaize is a pioneer and ahead of the F-GAS legislation which limits the use of refrigerant gases with high global warming potential (GWP) from 2030.

A saving of 93,000 tonnes of CO per year, the equivalent of 25,833 fewer cars on the roads

Thanks to a series of measures, Delhaize has succeeded in reducing its CO₂ emissions by as much as 70% compared to 12 years ago. This represents over 93,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions less per year. These are mind-boggling numbers that are difficult to grasp. It is therefore easier to express them with concrete examples. This annual saving is equivalent to 25,833 fewer cars on Belgian roads or the emissions of more than 11,000 households on an annual basis.

This is therefore a great improvement, but unfortunately it is not yet possible to completely eliminate CO₂ emissions because the available technologies do not allow it. But that does not mean that Delhaize does not take responsibility for them. What cannot yet be avoided is therefore compensated. For this purpose, Delhaize has hired CO₂ Logic to select and support climate projects in Belgium and abroad. This is because CO₂ emissions do not stop at our borders and, at the end of the day, we all share the same atmosphere. By supporting external projects, Delhaize is trying to launch a dynamic in order to generate even more attention around CO₂ and its reduction.

Delhaize is thus supporting a project in Ghana which aims to purchase Gyapa stoves for the local population. These small ceramic cooking fires use less charcoal, so less wood is needed to cook. The result is a reduction in charcoal consumption by 50%, deforestation by 50%, and therefore CO2 emissions by 50% as well.

In Rwanda, Delhaize is supporting the repair and maintenance of wells so that the local population has access to drinking water. In many cases, they only have unsuitable water which must first be boiled before consumption, resulting in additional CO₂ emissions and deforestation. This project has already made it possible to save 280 ha of forest and avoid 15,686 tonnes of CO₂ emissions. In the near future, projects with the same objective will be launched in Belgium.

Step by step towards a CO2 neutral world

Carbon neutrality for all of its stores is only the first step. Delhaize offices, distribution centres and trucks are also part of this reducing exercise. Every day, Delhaize seeks solutions to further reduce its carbon footprint (bicycle delivery, new LNG trucks, etc.). In this context, its ambition is to organize all its activities in a CO₂ neutral manner by the end of 2021, always starting from the same philosophy: limiting CO2 emissions to the absolute minimum and offsetting them if necessary.

Delhaize is taking up this challenge in collaboration with its suppliers to jointly reduce the environmental footprint of products. Together, we seek to innovate and educate consumers by offering carbon neutral products. An example is CO2 neutral bananas or coffee and we aim to gradually expand this assortment.

In addition to these neutral products, we actively invite all our suppliers to take an interest in the climate and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Preaching the good word outside our walls is the commitment that Delhaize has signed with the Belgian Alliance for Climate Action.

The Lion’s Footprint: less plastic, less CO2, less food waste

This is not a “one shot” project, it is part of a larger program. In 2019, Delhaize launched “The Lion’s Footprint”, an ambitious sustainable development plan in which the company is 100% committed to the environment and thus aims to reduce its ecological footprint. This plan has three major ambitious components: achieving plastic neutrality, reducing (food) waste and aiming for carbon neutrality by the end of 2021.

100% Carbon Neutral from Source to Consumer

Spadel Group awarded CO2 neutral label

2020 has been a milestone year for the Spadel Group in more ways than one. And although we have achieved many goals, being awarded with the CO2 Neutral label is a particular source of pride. Back in 2010, they set themselves the ambitious goal of becoming completely carbon neutral by 2020; something that they have now achieved as the first mineral water group in Europe. This means that when you buy a bottle of SPA, BRU, Wattwiller, Carola or Devin, the carbon impact is completely neutralised.

Carbon Neutral from company to product level

In 2015 Spadel already became carbon neutral at the company level by reducing the direct and indirect emissions of our offices and factories, and of our energy use. Now, in 2020, they’re exceptionally proud to announce that all Spadel brands are carbon neutral at the product level. This means across the entire product life cycle: from the transport of materials to our factory to the production of our waters to recycling packaging after it has been used.

“Climate change is a major societal challenge and we take our responsibility very seriously. Instead of transferring the impact of our activities to future generations, we are choosing to invest in CO2 neutrality across the entire value chain.” – Marc du Bois, CEO Spadel Group

Concretely, they took the following actions between 2015 and 2020:

  • they optimised their storage, loading (robots, electric lifts, LED lighting) and transport (eco-combi, LNG trucks) processes. Per litre bottled, energy consumption fell by 50% between 2010 and 2019.
  • They installed almost 10,000 photovoltaic panels on the roof of our Belgian factories to increase our access to renewable energy.
  • Their revised our purchasing policy to favour local suppliers (in 2019, nearly 90% of suppliers were located in a 500km radius of our factories and 100% are within a 1300km radius).
  • Their multi-pack films and crates are made from 100% recycled materials.
  • Their bottles have been redesigned to use less plastic.

Reduction and offsetting

Carbon neutrality implies a balance between the carbon emitted and the carbon absorbed out of our atmosphere. The first focus is on reducing their emissions. However, there are some emissions that they have not yet been able to get rid of completely. To cancel out their impact, they invest in carbon compensation, or offsetting programmes.

The partnership with Water Access Rwanda is the perfect example of how carbon offsetting programmes can help our world achieve carbon neutrality. By rehabilitating boreholes in rural Rwanda and providing citizens with clean, safe drinking water, Spadel was able to avoid 400,000 tonnes of CO₂ from people boiling water over open fires. This ‘saving’ offsets the remaining cost of their activities.

This has allowed them to achieve the CO2 Neutral label, as independently verified by CO2Logic and Vinçotte.

Further reduction via Science Based Targets

Spadel’s commitment on carbon does not end here, now that they are carbon neutral.

Going forward Spadel will work hard on further reducing their carbon emissions. Their Science Based Targets guide them to remain within the Paris framework, and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. And ultimately, in 2050, they want to achieve zero net emissions.

This commitment is hugely important for Spadel. Their carbon ambition creates the boundaries in which Spadel operates. New products, packaging and business models have to comply with the carbon limits. That’s why carbon is an integral part of Source of Change, Spadel’s sustainable packaging commitments 2025

A clean energy future with hydrogen could be closer than we think

  • The cost of hydrogen is expected to drop sharply and imminently.
  • Hydrogen technologies could provide 20% of the world’s CO2 abatement needs by 2050.
  • Now it’s up to policy-makers and investors to jump start this transition.

Could 2020 mark a major turning point for the global clean energy transition – with hydrogen at its core? Is this the beginning of a new decade in which governments, industry and investors shift gears together and move more rapidly towards scaling up hydrogen-based solutions for cleaner transport, heating, and industry? On the third anniversary of the Hydrogen Council’s launch at Davos in January 2017, the stars seem to be aligning to make this happen.

According to new data from three global agencies, NASANOAA and the UK Met Office, the 10 years to 2019 were the warmest on record, and this comes after the IPCC’s warning of the expected impacts of 1.5°C of global warming. In the future, we may look back at this past decade as being the one that fully recognised the climate challenge – while the next decade, starting now, offers an opportunity to address it. So while these global organizations have been working to gather data, we – the hydrogen industry – have been working hard to identify solutions to help tackle the issue.

Today, we have the opportunity to tap into the enormous potential of hydrogen for a range of applications, from fuelling passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks to heating buildings and powering industry. It can help us decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors such as heavy transport, steel and aviation; and, most importantly, it generates zero emissions at the point of use, can be produced from renewables such as solar and wind, and provides a solution in instances of excess electricity production, as it allows for long-term energy storage. In fact, if we focus on scaling up in the next decade, hydrogen could meet 18% of the world’s final energy demands by 2050 and provide roughly 20% of the CO2 abatement required to limit global warming.

The cost of hydrogen will fall sharply and sooner than expected

Until now, the biggest challenge for hydrogen energy has been its price tag. The costs associated with hydrogen for everyday use has put it out of reach compared to other options, but this is about to change. A new report entitled Path to Hydrogen Competitiveness: A Cost Perspective, launched by the Hydrogen Council – a CEO-led coalition of now more than 80 companies working to bring the benefits of hydrogen to the world – shows that by massively scaling up hydrogen production, distribution, equipment and component manufacturing, the cost of hydrogen solutions is projected to decrease by up to 50% by 2030 in a wide range of applications, making hydrogen competitive with other low-carbon alternatives and, in some cases, even conventional options.

Significant cost reductions are expected across different hydrogen solutions. For more than 20 of them, such as long-distance and heavy-duty transportation, industrial heating, and heavy-industry feedstock, which together comprise roughly 15% of global energy consumption, the hydrogen route appears the decarbonization option of choice – a material opportunity. This cost trajectory can be attributed mainly to scale-up that positively impacts the three main cost drivers:

· A significant fall in the cost of producing low-carbon and renewable hydrogen.

· Lower distribution and refuelling costs thanks to higher load utilisation and scale effect on infrastructure utilisation.

· A dramatic drop in the cost of components for end-use equipment from scaling up of manufacturing.

The report debunks the myth that a hydrogen economy is unattainable and demonstrates that the possibility of a clean energy future in which hydrogen plays a major role may well be closer than we think.

The conditions and timing are right
The conditions and timing are rightImage: The Hydrogen Council – Path to Hydrogen Competitiveness report

Investing in hydrogen now for a clean-energy future

To deliver on this opportunity, policy-makers need to help create the right market conditions. Governments in key geographies will need to put in place supporting policies, and investment support of around $70 billion will be needed from various sources over the next decade in order to scale up and achieve hydrogen cost-competitiveness. While this figure is sizeable, it accounts for less than 5% of annual global spending on energy. For comparison, global yearly spending on energy amounts to $1.85 trillion, while subsidies provided to renewables in Germany totalled roughly $30 billion in 2019 alone.

The momentum in the hydrogen sector is strong. Deployments, strategies, alliances and technology developments are progressing in wider geographies and sectors. Still, some key high-potential projects are yet to take off. Similarly, while some measures and supporting financing tools are in place, many of them are lacking in terms of scope and impact to firmly bring the sector to scale. In the last year, the industry has been establishing partnerships with a clear commitment to scale up. Through the Hydrogen Council, we have – for example – partnered with the European Investment Bank to identify the right innovative financing schemes, hosted industry leaders and members of the investment community at an Investor Day at the G20 Summit in Japan, and brought investors onboard with a new Investor Group – all steps in defining and implementing how to accelerate major investment in large-scale commercialisation of hydrogen solutions across industries worldwide.

2020 could indeed mark the beginning of a new era for clean energy. If we step up investments in hydrogen technologies and succeed in developing the right policy framework to turn hydrogen into a major part of our global energy system, hydrogen can help us lower our emissions while significantly improving energy security and resilience. If we are to collectively reach our global climate goals and reap the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen, now is the time to act.

source: World Economic Forum

Belfius becomes the first major bank in Belgium to be certified CO2-Neutral®

Partnering with CO2logic, Belfius also helps businesses and Belgian local authorities to become carbon-neutral 

Belfius has become the very first big Belgian bank to be awarded the CO2 Neutral® certification label, validated by Vinçotte and issued by CO2logic, a Belgian specialist advisory organisation in climate-related projects which enjoys international recognition. Through the ‘CO2 Impact Loan’, Belfius also aims to help businesses and local authorities in Belgium to become carbon-neutral by providing advice and setting specific borrowing conditions. In doing so, they will become more economical with the energy they use, whatever their commitments, maturity and objectives. This is how Belfius is now emphasising its intention to work towards achieving a sustainable environment, both for the organisations themselves and for their employees and customers. 

Belfius already makes a major effort each year to reduce its direct impact on the environment and climate. In fact since 2012, Belfius’s carbon footprint has been reduced by no less than 21%. By becoming involved in a highly ambitious carbon-reduction programme, combined with the offsetting of its residual emissions, Belfius is ramping its commitment up a gear in conjunction with CO2logic. And as a reward for these efforts, Belfius has now become the very first big bank in Belgium to be awarded CO2-Neutral certification by CO2logic. Residual emissions are offset by climate projects certified by Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, Plan Vivo or UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change. 

Jos Clijsters (Chairman of the Board of Directors of Belfius Bank & Insurance): “Through this ambitious programme, we are setting the right example to our own staff, as well as to our customers – and in doing so we are also showing the way to Belgian businesses. Working with CO2logic, we have identified all of our CO2 emissions. These include the energy consumed by our buildings and by our staff’s journeys to and from work. We have also made reductions in waste and the consumption of paper, as well as having a more environmentally friendly fleet of vehicles. A comprehensive analysis, in fact. We offset our residual emissions of CO2 directly via accredited projects that benefit the climate, both in Belgium and abroad. We are very proud of this recognition, but we will certainly not be resting on our laurels. As a result, Belfius intends to stop supporting certain unsustainable activities. This is the only credible way of generating long-term value for the Belgian community.” 

Antoine Geerinckx (CEO CO2logic): “CO2 Neutral certification identifies businesses that are taking responsibility for their climate impact so as to avoid passing on its associated cost to the community and to future generations. We are also very pleased to have been able, with Belfius, to set an additional benchmark in this direction, and to be able to facilitate and support investments aimed at carbon-neutrality in order to respond to the climate emergency and speed up energy transition.” 

Dirk Gyselinck (member of the management board of Belfius Bank): With the CO2 Impact Loan, we support companies and local authorities from A to Z in their efforts to reduce their CO2 emissions, whatever their commitments, their maturity and their ambitions. Thanks to a quick scan, we detect and identify their needs. We offer our clients a truly global approach, ranging from the reflection work to describing and realizing their climate objectives, and providing the most appropriate financing solutions. Belfius thereby confirms its desire to fully support initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment and on society. 

About CO2logic CO2logic specialises in climate-related projects. The organisation enjoy international recognition and works in line with the strictest standards and methodologies. Its processes for achieving CO2-neutrality are validated by the external independent auditor, Vinçotte. The CO2 Neutral® label is the first CO2- neutrality standard based on the PAS2060 standard to gain international recognition. More information on co2logic.com

About the CO2 Impact Loan Through its ‘CO2 Impact Loan’, working via consultancy services and specific borrowing conditions, Belfius is helping organisations to translate their climate-related aims into practical long-term targets. Working with CO2logic, a pathway is defined to enable businesses and local authorities to gradually become 100% carbon-neutral, as well as more economical with the energy they use. As a player in the energy transition process, Belfius already had various programmes and solutions in place designed to support its customers with their energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. 

About Belfius Bank & Insurance Belfius is an integrated bank and insurance company, firmly established at a local level. It operates its commercial business in 3 key areas in Belgium: Retail, Commercial & Private Banking and Wealth Management customers; financial services to customers in the public, social and business sector; and, finally, insurance. With experience stretching back 150 years in the public sector, Belfius has always positioned itself as the preferred partner of public and social sector customers, as well as the many SMEs and midcorps in Belgium. Belfius offers its customers a comprehensive and integrated range of banking and insurance products and services. More information on belfius.be

Media contacts 

Belfius Bank & Insurance Ulrike Pommée, Head of Media Relations:

+ 32 2 222 02 57, ulrike.pommee@belfius.be or press@belfius.be 

CO2logic Eric Dierckx, Partners & project director CO2logic,

+32 477 39 44 97, eric@co2logic.com

ION’s CO2-Neutral building site

ION, together with weather forecaster Jill Peeters and minister Bart Tommelein call for as many construction projects as possible to build in a climate-neutral manner.

Monday 26 November 2018- Building a large industrial site of 11,597m2 without any impact on the climate? It seems impossible, but it is exactly what they have done with the construction of Waregem Business Park. It is the first industrial site in our country that is build in a CO2-Neutral way. This was possible thanks to, among other things, heavy efforts in terms of materials selection and energy consumption. Even the exhaust fumes from the trucks entering and leaving the site were compensated by investing in a special climate project in Uganda. In total, no less than 16 579 tonnes of CO2 have been neutralised. It is project developer ION who can claim this honour and immediately calls for more construction projects in our country to be built this way. We would be able to avoid +- 13 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, which is gigantic if that would happen. Weather forecaster and climate expert Jill Peeters and Flemish Minister of Energy Bart Tommelein support this call and consider the Waregem site as a exemplary project.

A 35% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030: that is the aim for Belgium set by Europe. An enormous challenge to which everyone has to contribute, not least the business world. In recent months, the real estate sector has already made a good start with the launch of the first fully climate-neutral business site in our country. It concerns the ‘Waregem Business Park’, an industrial site of almost 11 600 m2, or the size of almost 2 football fields.

CO2 reduction

The unique project is a collaboration between project developer ION and CO2logic, which specialises in calculating, reducing and compensating CO2 emissions. This team started by meticulously calculating how much carbon dioxide would be emitted in total for the construction of the business park. That proved to be exactly 16 579 tonnes, comparable to the annual emissions of 1 550 Belgian households, or over 99 million kilometers driven by car. They then worked out how they could avoid greenhouse gas emissions on the one hand and compensate them efficiently on the other.

In the end, local contractors and supplies were called in, which led to a significant reduction in truck emissions and ION kept a close eye on energy consumption during construction. In addition,  the project developer made use of numerous climate-friendly building techniques. Just think of geothermics, climate ceilings, green roofs, rain water buffering, extra sunproof glass and LED lighting.

“We did this project with strong beliefs. Climate-neutral construction is a social obligation for us. It is the way in which we can effectively make our contribution to the climate challenges that await us all. As a company, we really want to set an example for the entire sector.”

Davy Demuynck, Managing partner ION

African cookstoves

What makes the initiative even more remarkable, is that it also intervened on emissions that could not be reduced by climate-friendly building materials, or other sustainable techniques. These ‘unavoidable’ emissions were compensated through financial support for certified climate projects in Africa, which help the local population to reduce their CO2 emissions. ION supported as such, the ‘Saving Trees’ project in Uganda, which provides for the distribution of more efficient ovens to the local population.

“Today, no less than 3 billion people still cook on an open fire. 93% of the population in Uganda burns wood or charcoal to make food every day. Large quantities of CO2 are pumped into the air and large areas of forest disappear. With the ‘Saving Trees’ project we have found a solution that both protects forests, as improves the quality of life of the local population. It concerns efficient ovens, which require only have of the wood or charcoal families use and ensure that they emit an average of 2 tons less CO2 per family per year.”

Antoine Geerincks, Managing director CO2logic

Public invitation to the industry

The project in Waregem is the first to be built completely CO2-neutral, but it doesn’t stop there, if it depends on ION. The company, together with climate expert and forecaster Jill Peeters, is calling for as many construction projects as possible to be built in a CO2-neutral way. If every real estate project in our country were to be built this way, it would save +/- 13 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

“Seven out of ten Belgian companies still don’t know how big their impact is on our climate today, let alone that they would be willing or be able to do something about it. That has to improve. The project in Waregem shows that it is possible to tackle the climate disruption, and that it also benefits you as an entrepreneur. The knowledge about sustainable entrepreneurship is available, we now only have to have the common sense and energy to get started.”

Jill Peeters, forecaster and founder of Climate without Borders

Flemish Minister of Energy Bart Tommelein, also supports the proposal and emphasises that building the climate-neutral way can take our country a long way in the fight against global warming.

“In fact, all companies should build like this. Some companies need a little push. Others, like ION, do it on their own. I can only applaud them. If all companies take their responsibility, we would be a big step closer to meeting the climate targets.”

Bart Tommelein, Flemish Minister of Energy

ION received the CO2-Neutral® label for the construction of the new business site in Waregem. This was developed by CO2logic, in collaboration with the independent international certification body Vinçotte, based on the internationally recognised standard.

Proximus reaches its goal to become climate neutral

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  • Having reduced its carbon footprint by more than 70% between 2007 and 2015, Proximus has reached its objective to become a climate neutral company in 2016.
  • The “CO2 Neutral” label recognizes the significant efforts made by Proximus to reduce CO2emissions directly linked to its activities (vehicle fleet, heating in buildings, data centers, fixed and mobile networks) but also to reduce indirect emissions, particularly the home-work commute, business travel, and the energy consumption of decoders and modems.
  • The results are impressive: in six years, Proximus managed to reduce its energy consumption by 22% (-3% in 2016) and its carbon emissions by 32% (-4% in 2016).
  • And it doesn’t stop there: Proximus aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by an additional 30% by 2025, and to reduce its indirect emissions by 50% by 2040, in particular by raising awareness among customers and suppliers.
  • At the same time, Proximus will continue to offset its remaining emissions by supporting international climate projects, especially in Africa.

Alignment with scientific objectives

On a global scale, 15 of the 16 hottest years on record were in the 21st century. Today, the effects of global warming are clearly being felt in countries throughout the world. As a socially responsible company, Proximus plays an active role in the fight against climate change and wants to set an example in this area by aligning its objectives with the objectives fixed by scientists at the Paris COP21 in 2015 to keep global temperature rise below 2°C. Thanks to Proximus’ efforts over the past decade to reduce its environmental impact, it has become one of the first BEL 20 companies to be recognized as climate neutral. Proximus is also the only Belgian company to receive the CDP Climate Leadership Award which recognizes initiatives taken by listed companies to reduce their CO2 emissions, thereby limiting their impact on climate change. Last October, Proximus received this award for the fourth consecutive year.

Very encouraging results

At Proximus, sustainability is not new. Since 2007, the company has reduced its CO2emissions for its Belgian activities by more than 70%. How? Notably, by using 100% green electricity; by improving the energy efficiency of its fixed and mobile networks; by reducing electricity consumption in its data centers; by renewing heating installations in its buildings; by switching to a greener vehicle fleet; and by encouraging the use of public transport and bikes for the employee commute.

These different measures, which are described in detail in the new Proximus CSR Report for 2016, have led to some impressive results:

  • Carbon emissions of the Proximus Group have fallen by 32% in six years.
  • Energy consumption of the Proximus Group has fallen by 22% in six years.
  • Fuel consumption per vehicle has fallen by 22% in 9 years.
  • 99.6% of company vehicles currently report CO2 emissions under 145 g CO2/km, compared to 56% in 2010.
  • 47% of employees who have a company car have chosen to replace it with public transport for the home-work commute.
  • 88% of Proximus waste was recycled in 2016 (compared with 85% in 2015).
  • Thanks to the new V5 and V5 Compact decoders, which consume more than 50% less energy than their predecessors, the average consumption of all TV decoders used by Proximus customers has fallen by 33% in the past three years.

Further reducing our environmental impact

Now that we have a good momentum going, there’s no stopping us. Proximus is determined to continue and even intensify its efforts to protect the environment in order to achieve an additional 30% reduction of its CO2 emissions by 2025.

In the longer term, Proximus also wants to exert more influence on the reduction of indirect emissions resulting from its activities, in order to reduce these emissions by 50% by 2040. In practice, this means that Proximus will have to continue its efforts to reduce waste reduction, purchase sustainable goods and services, and reduce the ecological footprint of Proximus devices supplied to customers.