On track for net zero emissions by 2028

On track for net zero emissions by 2028

Sustainability projects in India, Congo, Rwanda and Uruguay

By the time we have reduced our carbon emissions to zero by 2028, we will also be carbon neutral because we're offsetting our current emissions by funding projects that reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The environmental and social projects we support are located across three continents, including initiatives in Uruguay, Congo, Rwanda and India.

Carbon offsetting – how it works

Through our business activities, we currently produce and offset around 36,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents. We offset carbon emissions by purchasing carbon credits. Each credit represents one ton of CO2 avoided or removed from the atmosphere. To ensure that the projects are credible and of high quality, each carbon credit is certified by independent standardization agencies. Roland Berger purchases only quality credits that meet either the Gold Standard or the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).

All of the projects contribute to CO2 reduction by either preventing its release (offsetting) or physically removing it from the air (sequestration). Broadly speaking, there are four main types of carbon offset projects: renewable energy projects, energy efficiency projects, deforestation-related projects, and reforestation projects. We have chosen to support one project from each of the four categories.

Our environmental and social projects across three continents

All our projects are united by the goal of not only helping protect the climate, species and natural resources, but also benefiting local people: through new economic prospects, better living conditions, clean water or access to educational initiatives.

The project we are supporting in Congo, for example, is saving nearly 200,000 hectares of extremely species-rich rainforest from deforestation and conversion into agricultural land. The construction of solar power plants in three Indian states prevents the emission of 3.5 million tons of CO2. It also creates skilled jobs and helps set the course for a diversified, sustainable energy mix for the rapidly growing country. In Rwanda, the project we are investing in supplies almost 70,000 people with safe, clean drinking water. In Uruguay, a viable and sustainable timber industry is being created with our support. We are carrying out all of the above initiatives in partnership with South Pole, a leading project developer and provider of global climate services.

Protecting the rainforest in the Congo Basin

Sustainable forestry, not deforestation. The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to much of Africa's tropical rainforest. Although the pace of deforestation is relatively slow here, the biodiverse area is nevertheless under massive threat from industrial and agricultural expansion.

The Isangi project is protecting nearly 190,000 hectares of rainforest from conversion to agricultural land. By providing new sources of income for the local population, such as in tilapia farming or forestry, the project helps avoid further deforestation. In addition, local people are taught about sustainable agriculture.

That has reduced the rate of deforestation in the affected area by 30 to 100 percent. This saves 324,000 tons of CO2 annually and protects the biodiversity of the ecosystem. The Isangi project also funds local education programs and helps preserve traditional cultural and spiritual identities.

Infobox

- Around 400 new jobs created
- Three schools and three bridges built
- Workshops held on topics like sanitation, education, waste management, biodiversity, etc.
- Around 325,000 tons of CO2 saved per year
- Almost 190,000 hectares of land protected

Solar energy for a clean future

More jobs, less emissions. India is the second largest country in the world by population. Due to its booming economy, the demand for energy is also increasing exponentially. Investments in renewable energies are therefore an important success factor for the country's sustainable evolution and future prosperity.

The project in the states of Telangana, Gujarat and Rajasthan comprises five solar photovoltaic (SPV) arrays with a total installed capacity of 205 MW. They provide zero-emission energy to India's power grid, replacing other carbon-intensive energy sources.

During its initial ten-year crediting period, the project will avoid the emission of more than 3.5 million tons of CO2. It will also create new jobs in the surrounding communities and fund educational initiatives for local schoolchildren.

Infobox

- Approximately 380,000 MWh of renewable power generated per year
- New earning opportunities created for skilled and unskilled local workers
- Technical training for employees

Safe water supply in Rwanda

Clean drinking water and climate protection go hand in hand. To get drinking water, families in Rwanda often have to either boil the available water over inefficient wood fires or walk long distances. Many people suffer from respiratory disease because they breathe in smoke from the fires in their homes.

Wells provide access to clean water and eliminate the need to use fuel to boil it. However, communities are often unable to maintain their wells long term. The South Pole project in Rwanda is restoring and repairing existing freshwater wells in partnership with local communities. This leads to improved family health while also reducing emissions and protecting the forests.

Easy access to safe drinking water has major benefits for the communities concerned. Women and girls in particular are relieved of the burden of having to collect firewood. They are then able to start (small) businesses or attend school instead. Cases of respiratory disease have also become much less common.

Infobox

- 68,000 people benefit directly from improved quality of life in the communities
- Local people gain access to 50 million liters of clean water
- 125,000 metric tons of CO2 saved annually because wood fires are no longer needed to boil the water
- 85,000 tons of wood are not burned, protecting the surrounding forests

Recultivation of the Guanaré forest in Uruguay

New forest plantations grow on degraded grasslands. The rural regions in eastern Uruguay are heavily marked by livestock farming. In the area where this project is being conducted, overgrazing has led to erosion, depleted soils and a massive decline in biodiversity. As a result, women and young people in particular suffer from unemployment and precarious working conditions.

As part of the Guanaré forest project, four grassland areas are being restored into complex habitats through the planting of eucalyptus trees. This improves soil quality and fosters biodiversity, and carbon is also sequestered in the soil. Furthermore, the project strengthens regional development by establishing a sustainable timber industry (FSC standard) with qualified jobs, increasing exports and developing new production chains.

Infobox

- Nearly 130,000 metric tons of CO2 saved per year
- Around 21,000 hectares of land reforested

Further readings