Our climate footprint, 2020

Monday 25 January 2021

You may remember our 2019 climate footprint analysis. Back then we tried to track our emissions to see where we can make the biggest impact. We have an update on the past turbulent year.

As a software company, unlike, for example, a factory, we burn relatively little (fossil) fuels ourselves. Our CO₂ footprint is therefore mainly from so-called Scope 2 and 3 emissions: indirect (power consumption) and even more indirect (transport and products). It is thus less about how many gram of CO₂ in the atmosphere are attributable to us, and more about what impact our choices make.

An overview

To get an overview, we have broken down the problem into several individual parts: utilities, transport, food and other products. In 2019 our footprint was as follows: 31.2 t CO₂e, of which about half could be traced back to transport, one third to utilities, and the rest to products and food. Our ambition was to make a similar analysis on 2020 in order to calculate the difference.

The pandemic

With the pandemic we started working from home. This complicates our tracking and calculations, because a large part of our emissions suddenly moves to our colleague’s homes, and thus technically disappears from our spreadsheets. On the one hand it means less commuting, which has a net positive result on emissions, on the other hand, many houses are now heated that would usually remain cold during the day. To get an "honest" picture of the difference in emissions from 2019 to 2020, we also included the emissions at home *.

Looking at the numbers

This brings us to the final score.

Transport: we see a ~ 50% reduction in emissions in the category of transport. Less commuting means fewer kilometers travelled by car, although many of us already come by bike or public transportation. We also took merely 1 flight in 2020.

Products: we bought more products this year, especially electronics. This equates to ~ 40% extra emissions in this category.

Food: This has always been the odd one out in our calculation. Because we were unable to collect accurate data on this, we used the same numbers from last year.

Utilities: This is the largest category this year. The extra heating required to enable working from home provides an increase of ~ 70% in this category.

The estimated emission of 2021 comes down to 33.1 t CO₂e. A little more than last year. Because the calculation this year is extra uncertain, it may be that in practice we end up a little lower or a little higher. But there is certainly no clear reduction compared to 2019.


2021 will be unpredictable. We are still working from home for the time being, going back to working from the office is not in sight yet. A plan to reduce YIPP emissions has not yet been made. Without a plan, it is likely that emissions will be higher in 2021.

During our Christmas party, virtual this year, we gave a short internal presentation on these results. We planned on doing that a year earlier, which is why it's mostly about 2019.
Check out the PDF!

*by "emissions at home" we mean the difference in emissions at home between 2019 and 2020, for example because the heating is more on. This has been calculated on the basis of what employees report about this.