Why the carbon footprint means a "new" way of thinking and working

At allsafe, we drew up our firstcarbon footprintback in 2011. I had read the book "Green Recovery" by the American Andrew S. Winston. The author had calculated the CO2 footprint for many products of daily consumption. It was with him that I first read the terms Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. I found that exciting. And inspiring. I thought: That can't be so complicated, we're doing that at allsafe too now ... Well, it's not complicated either. If you stick to Scope 1 and Scope 2. But if you want to do it right - and that means tackling Scope 3 - then it's a different ball game. Because what happens then is this: You discover that you have to rethink your business model, how you manage and operate ...

At this point most stop

If you calculate thecarbon footprint ofyour company, then determine the consumption of primary energy in the company for Scope 1, e.g. gas, coal, oil, fuel. Scope 1 includes the primary energy you need for the operation of your company, the heating, the process heat, as fuel for your company vehicles. Scope 2 results from secondary energy consumption, i.e. electricity consumption in and for the company. You can easily read off Scope 2 from your electricity bill.

That's pretty much it. And optimizing thecarbon footprintbased on Scope 1 and Scope 2 is relatively simple: The answer is to save. Optimize your processes so that you consume less energy.

So far so good. And this is where most people stop. Because it gets complicated now. Because most companies are afraid of the consequences of looking at Scope 3 as well. They prefer to stick to simple optimization - but this optimization is no longer enough.

Why optimizing is not enough

With Scope 3, you record everything that is required outside the company in terms of energy during the production of raw materials, refinement, transport before and after, and also during the use of the goods produced, right through to disposal and recycling.

This is really complicated. Also because you usually have hardly any usable data to begin with. At the beginning, you have to work a lot with simplifications and estimates. And that's why many say: "We'll take care of Scope 3 later, when we have better data, when we don't have to simplify anymore ..." - that's understandable, because with such an approach you make yourself vulnerable should someone take a close look at your database. But nevertheless, with regard to sustainability and the so urgently needed reduction of theCO2 balance ofus humans, this is simply too little.

Why? At allsafe, only 3 to 4 percent of ourcarbon footprintfalls under Scope 1 and Scope 2, so we can optimize that a lot - if we don't take care of the other 96 percent of ourcarbon footprint, we won't make any progress. And for most companies that produce goods, that's how it will look. Which is why I say: Optimizing is not enough. You have to tackle the 96 percent of yourcarbon footprint, because then you can really make a lasting difference.

However, this means that you will have a drastic realization that most people still shy away from today: This more than 96 percent of yourcarbon footprint, which is accounted for by Scope 3, is rooted in your business model. So you have to get to grips with your business model!

What this means for our business model

I was wondering at allsafe what we can do. Saving 50 percent of the 4 percent that goes into Scope 1 and 2 in energy, that's nice. But we can't do a significant part of saving our planet and also our prosperity with that. We need to get to Scope 3 and the 96-plus percent - to our business model. We have to rethink the way we do business.

Our economy, the production of more and more of the same, growth as a business model, is responsible for the enormously badCO2 balancethat threatens us as humanity.

But not growing anymore - and then not being successful in business and having to close the store at some point?

A real dilemma. It took me a few years at allsafe to solve it.

So how can the economy function, how can growth be generated without producing more and more of the same?

The idea was to rethink business and growth in terms of a circular economy. The idea was to use instead of own.

Rethinking pays off for you

When our customers no longer buy the goods we produce, but it is more attractive for our customers to simply use these goods. If our customers pay for the use of load restraints, beams, rails, nets - just as many today no longer buy CDs or records or DVDs, but simply secure the benefit via music subscriptions, via movie subscriptions: just to be able to listen to music, to be able to watch movies whenever you want ... - then we at allsafe could do without more and more production and still do business.

We then spent several years working on the implementation of this idea and experimented a great deal on the market. We failed several times with our implementation approaches.

But I was convinced that the rethink would pay off. The idea of a circular economy, our new business model of 'using instead of owning' will pay off.

We have learned a lot from the setbacks. And today in 2022 we have a new business model that has been working for three years: all:change, repair instead of throwing away and buying new. And we do this for all bars, beams that our customers use - no matter where our customers once bought these products.

We have learned from ourcarbon footprintdata. We have accepted the challenge to rethink how we define growth and economic success.

Sounds simple and logical after all - but what sounds so simple and logical in retrospect is often a long road. Don't be afraid to take this path.

Detlef Lohmann

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