In 2020, Springer Nature became, for the first time, net carbon neutral for emissions associated with our offices, fleet and flights. We report our carbon emissions in three ways: gross carbon emissions (13,663 tonnes of CO2 equivalent); net carbon emissions, calculated to include the reduction in emissions from buying renewable electricity (8,086 tCO2e), and net carbon emissions with the effect of purchasing carbon offsets applied (Zero tCO2e).
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Net figures includes supplier-sourced green electricity and purchase of additional renewable electricity certificates; excludes offsets.
In 2020, Springer Nature became, for the first time, net carbon neutral taking into account emissions associated with our offices, fleet and flights (scopes 1, 2 and partial scope 3), building on consistent emissions reductions over the previous three years. We were already purchasing green electricity, backed by renewable energy certificates, for several of our largest sites; in 2020, we expanded this to cover electricity use at around 140 sites across 38 countries.
We have purchased certificates in order to compensate for 8,086 tonnes of carbon related to our offices, fleet and flights that we are not yet able to reduce in other ways. Since 2019, our carbon offsets have supported CommuniTree, a project in Nicaragua, certified by Plan Vivo, which gives local farmers the chance to earn more from reforesting their land with indigenous trees than deforesting it.
The effect of the COVID‑19 pandemic is clear in all our environmental data for 2020. COVID‑19 restrictions led to office closures and a large drop in business travel, resulting in a decrease in emissions and resource usage. Looking to the future, the lessons we have learned about virtual working will aid us in embedding long-term sustainable reductions in our emissions from travel and other business operations.
CommuniTree is the largest reforestation programme in Nicaragua. It helps farming families grow forests on their own land while creating long-term sustainable livelihoods. Certified under Plan Vivo, CommuniTree is a model for best-practice reforestation around the world.
Springer Nature has been supporting CommuniTree since 2019. The project has engaged with thousands of smallholder farming families and the CommuniTree project team has created its own world-class technology platform, Farm Trace. This innovative technology continuously monitors and communicates on the growth of the forests. It is creating sustainable, long-lasting indigenous forests that provide long-term benefits to climate, people, and ecosystems and the climate.
“C Level was one of the first to agree to support CommuniTree when it was founded 10 years ago. We have watched it grow and it was a big step when Springer Nature chose to carbon balance a significant proportion of its own carbon footprint through CommuniTree. The level of support and the commitment to the project is helping it scale further.”Daren Howarth, C Level CEO & Founder
At Springer Nature, we have a committed and passionate network of employees in more than 20 of our locations around the world who volunteer their time to help make our offices a greener place to work.
In 2020, with offices forced to close and colleagues working almost entirely remotely, the Green Office Network found new and inspiring ways to connect and keep their momentum during a challenging year. Local networks met virtually for the first time, uniting colleagues around the world. We shared tips and ideas to make working from home more sustainable. Our ambassadors set challenges to upcycle their old household items and we encouraged each other to step out into nature, sharing photos and stories via the intranet.
To help keep climate action front of mind for our colleagues, despite office closures, we hosted ‘Green Week’ – a week of activities and communications to promote sustainability at Springer Nature and to reflect on the progress we’re making as a sustainable business. It was an opportunity to thank everyone who made our progress towards carbon neutrality possible. The week included meetings between our Green Office Ambassadors and Facilities teams, a talk from a leading climate scientist, an interview with our carbon offsetting advisors and a virtual game show hosted by the Green Office Network in Berlin.
“The Green Office Network is important to us because it helps us to reduce our burden on the environment. In 2020, the network met virtually and we shared tips on recycling, reusing and upcycling. We invited speakers to talk about sustainability and what it means to have a zero waste lifestyle. We also ran a nature photography competition during the lockdown to remind everyone of when we could travel freely and appreciate nature. In 2021, we are looking to involve more colleagues in our activities and meetings so that we can all be prepared for a green and sustainable ‘new normal’.”Members of Green Office Network, India
We aim to contribute to progress towards SDG 13: Climate Action, and especially Target 13.3, which highlights the need to improve education, awareness raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation and impact reduction and early warning. Our journal Nature Climate Change is the most highly cited climate change journal in the world and is constantly publishing the most up-to-date research on climate science.
During 2020, along with our sister companies within the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, we organised a series of talks for colleagues to hear from experts who could shed light on the global impact of COVID‑19. Professor Corinne Le Quéré FRS CBE spoke to employees about the implication of the pandemic for climate change. Colleagues heard about the latest research on the temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID‑19 forced confinement, and the potential for any longer term impact. This research, published in Nature Climate Change, was later featured in the 2020 edition of the Altmetric Top 100 annual list of research that most captured the public’s imagination.