Let's talk about… sustainability & climate officers
In our "5 questions with…" section, we regularly introduce you to our PIABO colleagues and share their expertise in communication and PR strategies. Today: Ann-Kathrin Marggraf, Senior Communications Consultant and PIABO Climate Officer. In this article she will talk about what her role entails and how she is making PIABO climate-neutral.
1. Ann-Kathrin, you are not only a Senior Communications Consultant, but also PIABOs very own Climate Officer. What are your responsibilities in that position?
As Climate Officer, I am responsible for determining PIABO's annual carbon footprint and then developing measures to continuously improve it together with the team. This involves, for example, avoiding business trips and only taking the train if they are necessary, relying on a green electricity provider, ordering only veggie catering or moving our IT to the cloud. In addition to my job as a PR consultant, I have set aside extra time for this.
2. How does a company become climate-neutral? What steps need to be taken?
The first step is to take stock: How are we positioned in terms of mobility, energy supply and heating, IT or office materials? And how can these metrics be converted into CO2 emissions? To do this, we use the know-how and CO2 calculator of Leaders for Climate Action. And the tips from Stiftung Allianz für Klima und Entwicklung (Alliance for Climate and Development Foundation), which we recently joined, are also very helpful. After we have determined the CO2 footprint, we offset the emissions that we could not avoid. Last year we decided to use the certified projects of atmosfair to do so. There are different options here – it is important to make sure that the projects are certified, for example with the Gold Standard. But the real work only starts after the offsetting process – because our goal is to operate with less CO2 emissions over time and step by step, which means we regularly consider how we as an agency can position ourselves to be even more climate-friendly.
3. It’s common knowledge at this point that something needs to be done about climate change, and urgently. What can everyone do to improve the climate balance?
Leaving the car at home and cycling, taking public transport or walking to work instead is certainly a good start, as is switching to a green electricity provider. These are things that each and every one of us can implement into their lives relatively quickly and easily. No action taken fits everyone, so you shouldn't follow a strict dogma. I think it should be fun to behave in a more environmentally and climate-conscious way in everyday life, however it feels good and right for the individual. In my view, the main responsibility lies with the CO2-intensive sectors of the economy, but also with politics, which must set the framework for urgently needed climate protection measures. And fortunately, there are a lot of innovative greentech start-ups that are helping to protect the climate with their solutions. Our contribution in the Greentech Unit is to give these companies a voice in the social discourse.
4. What advice would you give to someone who also wants to become a climate officer in their company?
First of all, I would say: Go for it! And: There are a lot of organizations that can support you with knowledge and a good network, for example Leaders for Climate Action, but also PlanA or planetly. It makes me very happy to know that my efforts have a measurably positive impact.
5. Let's have an outlook: Do you think that companies are or will become aware of their ecological responsibility?
Now, there is potentially a lot to be said here. I think a blanket answer is difficult, because there are certainly sectors that are doing better than others and some companies are more aware of their responsibility than their competitors. But a sense of responsibility does not yet mean taking action as well. However, especially among PIABO's clients, and of course with us in the Greentech Unit in particular, I see many approaches to solutions in this field that really give us hope. I really enjoy working with these bright minds and seeing that they really want to make a difference. I'm thinking, for example, of SPRK.global, refurbed or Envision Digital.