Emissions Report 2021

Discover our corporate carbon footprint
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As a company, our objective is to become the most sustainable version of ourselves. To realise this ambition, we established the Sustainability Initiative - an action team of Plan A employees who define, manage, and steer our drive towards sustainability.

We are thrilled to announce the publication of our Emission Report 2021. This marks an important milestone in our sustainability journey. The quality of the data we used when assessing our emissions for 2021 provides us with a reliable benchmark to set our reduction targets and decarbonise our operations.

Through this Emissions Report, we aim to inspire more businesses to begin their own net-zero journey.

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Emissions management

Our carbon accounting methodology

Our carbon accounting methodology aligns with the GHG Protocol, guaranteeing that we accurately cover scopes 1, 2, and 3 of carbon emissions. Our approach is certified by TÜV Rheinland, a highly respected certification body in the German-speaking world. We employ the same rigorous emission accounting process with our clients and for our own emissions accounting.

We mainly gather primary activity and qualitative data and supplement it with national averages as a last resort to account for any missing emissions. For instance, we conduct surveys with employees to collect emissions data on business travel and commuting, and we collect energy consumption data from our building operator and supplement it with national averages when necessary. At Plan A, we are committed to transparency and accountability in our carbon footprint calculation.
In alignment with
CErtified by
TÜV certification logo
Emissions management

Our Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF) for 2021

Using the Plan A Sustainability Platform, we have generated the following data. Our total corporate carbon footprint for 2021 was 44.29 t CO₂e.*

According to the GHG Corporate Standard, we have broken down our total carbon footprint per quarter to comprehend our emissions over the year 2021. Our emissions slightly decreased from Q1 to Q2. However, there was an increase of 7.60 t CO₂e between Q3 and Q4, which can be explained by the substantial growth of the company during this period and increased energy consumption in winter.
As a point of comparison, 1 t CO₂e is roughly equal to the emissions of a single passenger flying ≈6500 kilometres, or roughly the radius of the planet.
As reflected in our target setting report, we are shifting 2021 as our base year to reflect the new way of operating Plan A.
Emissions chart for 2021 by quarter

Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions

According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) disclosure guidelines for SMEs, it is essential to cover Scope 1 and 2 and make a continuous effort to expand coverage by measuring various categories applicable to Scope 3 emissions.

Plan A is a B2B SaaS company. Our business model and use of SaaS providers mean that we do not have any direct emissions (Scope 1). We strive to minimise our Scope 2 emissions (purchased electricity and heating) as they are significant contributors to our overall emissions profile. Therefore, our electricity comes from renewable energy, resulting in a substantial reduction in emissions. In 2021, our Scope 2 emissions were 14.53 t CO2e.

Our indirect emissions for 2021 were 29.75 t CO2e (Scope 3), which include emissions from employees working from home, waste generated, suppliers, cloud servers, business travel, and employee commuting. Our Scope 3 emissions are the most significant source of emissions for Plan A.

The category "other scopes" refers to emissions related to the virtual events we organised during the year. The total of our "Scope 4" emissions was 0.01 t CO2e.
Emissions by scopes and categories desktopscope 1 2 3 emissions bar chart mobile

Breakdown per categories

For transparency and accountability, we provide a breakdown of our emissions per categories using solely primary activity data. Our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint is a critical part of our mission to drive positive change for the environment.
scope 1 2 3 emissions categories breakdown bar chart desktopscope 1 2 3 emissions categories breakdown bar chart mobile
Emissions management
building edge

Getting primary Scope 2 data

As an SME SaaS company, a significant part of Plan A's emissions fall under the Scope 2 categories of purchased heating and electricity. When accounting for our emissions, our goal is to rely on primary data rather than national averages. To determine our Scope 2 data for heating and electricity, we require information about our users. This information is provided in the annual bill sent to a tenant by the landlord. However, in Germany, the landlord has up to a year to send the bills. In Plan A's case, this means that the landlord did not have to send the bill for 2021 before 31 December 2022. Unfortunately, this prevented us from achieving our goal to publish our Emission Report 2021 by September 2022.

To ensure the quality of our emission reporting, we decided to wait for the data provided in the bills. An alternative solution to this common challenge is to supplement data gaps with national averages, although this may reduce the data's quality. Another possibility is to install smart meters to track the data ourselves. Since Plan A has just moved to its new offices, we are currently investigating the feasibility of this solution to make the calculation more efficient and accurate in the upcoming reporting periods.
Emissions management

Getting primary waste data

Part of Plan A's Scope 3 emissions arise from the waste category. To ensure accurate emissions accounting, Plan A aims to avoid using national averages for waste and instead use actual weight measurements for different waste types.

Usually, the workspace company or waste contractor is legally required to weigh each load of waste they receive. However, in Plan A's case, obtaining this data is difficult as the responsible cleaning person changes frequently, and their cleaning schedule is unpredictable. Therefore, there was no way to assign weight numbers to specific days.

As a solution, we decided to request our landlord to stop collecting our waste and allow a newly established team of Plan A volunteers to weigh the waste themselves. The team of volunteers collected data for six months and determined Plan A's waste data averages. As the team was established only in 2022, we will be unable to use our averages for 2021, and for that year, we will still need to rely on national averages.
stacked plastic bags
Next steps

What comes next?

Having a good estimate of our 2021 carbon footprint across Scopes 1, 2, and 3 is just the start of our journey towards becoming the most sustainable version of ourselves. By calculating our 2021 emissions, we have established a benchmark for our decarbonisation pathway and can now follow the typical net-zero process:
Set science-based
By setting a science-based target, we aim to establish a GHG emissions reduction target in alignment with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. To guide our methodology, we are taking into consideration the recommendations of the Science-Based Target Initiative.
Decarbonisation pathways plan until 2030
After setting our target, we will establish a decarbonisation pathway with clearly defined steps that will guide us towards becoming the most sustainable version of ourselves.
Implement decarbonisation action
Aligned with our core values of self-reflection, honesty, collaboration, and empowerment, we aim to exceed expectations in our commitment to sustainability. Our goal is to integrate sustainability into every aspect of our activities and operations, ensuring we achieve our decarbonisation targets.