Behavioral aspects and inequality consequences of climate change are an important part of the briq research agenda. In order to also make our own contribution to limiting global warming, we have reduced our carbon footprint and acquired climate certificates to offset our remaining greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, events, and business travel.
Academic research at an internationally oriented institute like briq strongly relies on the scholarly exchange of thoughts and ideas. Current COVID-19 restrictions aside, regular visits by guest researchers and conference participants from all over the world cause CO2 emissions that cannot be fully avoided.
By implementing a number of targeted measures, including the modernization of our heating and lighting, we have been able to substantially reduce briq’s carbon footprint over the past years. For domestic business trips that cannot be substituted by videoconferencing, the preferred mode of transport is the German railway, whose long-distance trains run on green energy. Employees at briq are incentivized to use public transport for the commute to work and will soon have the option to use job bikes as well. Catering for seminars, workshops, and conferences has been switched to vegetarian meals that can be produced with significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meats.
The remaining CO2 emissions stemming from briq’s business activities, as calculated for the year 2019 and certified by TÜV Rheinland, have been offset through investments in climate protection projects supported by the myclimate foundation. In line with our research focus, we have chosen to invest in projects that also contribute to a reduction of economic and social inequality. These include a project in Kenya enabling women through savings groups to afford an efficient cook stove which reduces the demand for firewood, as well as a project in Myanmar that combines mangrove restoration and women empowerment.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn global attention away from the climate crisis even though climate change will likely pose a far greater threat to humankind. Tackling this huge challenge requires a contribution by everyone, no matter how big or small. By achieving carbon neutrality at briq, we hope to set an example for others to follow suit,” says briq Director Armin Falk.