FAQs on ZNU goes Zero
1. What does "ZNU goes Zero" mean?
To counteract ongoing climate change the ZNU – Center for Sustainable Leadership at faculty of Management and Economics of Witten/Herdecke University, has set the target for the ZNU Network of partners (approx. 70 companies as of June 2018) to do (net) climate-neutral business at all locations by 2022 and beyond.
With this joint initiative communicated in spring 2018 for the first time the ZNU wants to make a clear statement in terms of entrepreneurial climate protection so as to do even more justice to its responsibilities for coming generations.
2. What does climate-neutral "net zero" mean?
Complete climate neutrality is not achievable at this point in time. In order to reach “net zero” the ZNU focuses on a step-by-step procedure acting as a “Quality Assurer” and driving force. Once the status quo has been captured thoroughly using climate balances in accordance with recognised procedures such as the greenhouse gas protocol as a basis, the next steps are the avoidance and reduction of GHG emissions. This can be achieved by heat recovery systems, state-of-the-art light sources such as LEDs, prevention of coolant leakages, utilisation of geothermal energy or regulations for company car usage. The next step to be taken is the consumption of “good green power”. The choice should consider new expansion effects, the origin of the green power and the renewable energies projects supported. As a last step unavoidable GHG emissions are also compensated for at other locations by means of climate compensation.
3. How is that target achived and verified?
ZNU views itself as a “Quality Assurer” for these five steps in order to afford the participating companies with the assurance and basis also for credible communication. (For proof see FAQ 5 and 6)
4. How is greenwashing avoided?
The gradual approach allows savings potentials to be established, and emissions to be reduced and avoided in each of the consecutive steps. Each of these steps must be evidenced to the ZNU (see FAQ 5 and 6). The focus here is on the first three steps before the use of green electricity and compensation comes into play.
Long-term cost savings are achieved through energy efficiency measures which the companies are working on purely out of self-motivation. Since compensation for climate change causes recurring, annual costs, it contradicts business sense
5. What proof is required for the implementation of Steps 1-3?
Companies certified in accordance with the ZNU Standard - driving sustainable change are audited annually by independent certification bodies and thereby credibly prove the steps they have initiated and completed and the targets they have set themselves.
To avoid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions companies have to systematically capture, document and analyse these. To this end at least all of the emissions governed by Scope 1 and 2 in the GHG Protocol are captured on the basis of international standards (GHG Protocol, ISO 14064). The goal is to have as much primary data as possible.
Possible proof here includes corporate and/or location climate footprint for example (e. g. GHG Protocol or ISO 14064), Critical Review, data on location-related greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption (including transport fuel) and coolant losses (e.g. on the basis of ISO 50001, a product life cycle assessment, energy balance or product climate balance).
Furthermore, targets, measures and cooperations with climate protection stakeholders must exist, e.g. climate protection programme.
6. Does that mean, their products are climate neutral?
No. ZNU goes Zero refers to the GHG emissions at the company’s location, where potential can be exploited in a pragmatic and immediate way, rather than to individual products. Cooperative climate protection across the value chain remains a crucial issue to also be addressed in the medium term.
7. Can everyone join in? Or is this just an exclusive club?
So far, the ZNU Partner Network comprises some 70 small and medium entrepreneurs and undertakings from Germany that represent 80,000 employees and a total turnover of approximately EUR 25 billion.
The cross-section of partners also reflects the approach of considering the complete value chain.
Alongside numerous companies from industry there are upstream suppliers, service providers as well as other networks and scientific institutions. This sustainable mind-set is rounded off by the corresponding media representatives.
The prerequisite for taking part in ZNU goes Zero is a partnership with ZNU.
In terms of perspective, however, we would like to make our know-how available to everyone in the sense of a transformational process and motivate "followers". First concrete results will be presented at the XI. ZNU-Future-Conference on 2/3 April 2019.
8. What in particular distinguishes climate neutrality with ZNU goes Zero?
Whereas the compensation for other models of carbon neutrality ceases with the purchase of a certificate, such as Gold Standard, ZNU goes zero partners move one step further. In addition to the certification with recognized standards, companies invest in tree plantings, in soil conservation projects and train and educate young people to be bearer of climate justice (so-called Climate Justice Ambassadors). A partner here is Plant-for-the-Planet.
The trees are decisive in many ways: On the one hand they absorb CO2, on the other hand they provide employment for people in countries of the Global South as well as a secure income and future prospects. By promoting the Climate Justice Ambassadors of Plant-for-the-Planet, companies enable the education of future generations in climate issues so that they can share their knowledge with others.