Climate footprint 2023: encouraging results
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Climate footprint 2023: encouraging results

Translation: Katherine Martin

Galaxus missed the mark on reducing its climate footprint in 2023. Despite this, we’re still on track to meet the long-term carbon-reduction goals we’ve defined. By transitioning to renewable energy sources for heating, we’ll significantly reduce our emissions. When it comes to commuter traffic, on the other hand, fresh ideas are needed.

In the 2023 financial year, the company’s own* greenhouse gas emissions were 36% lower than in 2019, the reference year. This means we’re on track to halve our climate footprint by 2030. We also managed to beat our reduction targets in packaging, business travel and commuting – areas where our experts had identified potential savings. However, achieving our climate targets continues to be a challenging balancing act. Sales and output are increasing year on year, with emissions needing to be continuously reduced at the same time. It’s remarkable how much progress has been made in reducing emissions per parcel shipped. However, this is only visible to a limited extent when you look at the absolute figures.

It was to be expected that reducing the company’s own greenhouse gas emissions would be tough in 2023. Galaxus continued to grow rapidly in the last fiscal year, with sales rising by 13.1 per cent. We also shipped around 21 per cent more parcels from our warehouses in Switzerland and Germany than the previous year. What’s more, 2023 saw us invest heavily in the expansion and development of our logistics infrastructure. Part of this involved expanding the warehouse space at our Wohlen site in order to be able to process our steadily increasing order volumes on time as per usual.

A speedy transition away from natural gas

It’s positive and encouraging to note that our operating emissions only moderately increased despite these extensive investments. Especially since increasing warehouse space also means increasing heating. As a matter of fact, 90 per cent of our total operational greenhouse gas emissions can be chalked up to heating. Fortunately, we’ve launched a project focused on rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels. Step by step, the heating systems at our logistics locations will be converted from natural gas to renewable energy sources from 2024 onwards. According to initial projections, this should more than halve the company’s own greenhouse gas emissions within the next two years.

New box sizes for parcels – more packaging-free flash deliveries

Our successes in reducing packaging material continued in 2023. In fact, we smashed the targets set out in our plan. Emissions per unit shipped from our own warehouses fell by just under 5% compared to the previous year. This is down to two measures we implemented. Firstly, the new and improved box sizes for parcels we introduced in November 2022 have helped reduce parcel volumes and, subsequently, the amount of packaging material. Secondly, the number of same-day delivery parcels has doubled since we rolled out our flash delivery service across Switzerland. Flash-delivery parcels are sent to customers without packaging, which has a positive impact on our reduction targets.

Put into context, our emissions generated by business travel are very low. Even so, we want to improve the figures by 30 per cent per full-time employee by the end of 2025 compared to the reference year. Last year, at 112 kilogrammes of CO₂ per head, we were already 20 per cent below the 2019 reference year, putting us below the figure defined in our reduction path. However, due to the increasing level of cross-border cooperation between our locations in Switzerland, Germany and Serbia, coupled with the return to business as usual after the pandemic, travel-related emissions more than doubled compared to 2022. Over the next few years, we’ll have no choice but to consider new measures to achieve our savings targets.

It’s a similar story when it comes to commuter traffic, where we’re seeing an increase in emissions. In 2023, many colleagues returned to our Zurich head office after working from home during the pandemic. However, more than 80 per cent of these employees take public transport or cycle to work. At our logistics locations, it’s a different story. Due to the fact that shift work starts early and finishes late, many colleagues in Wohlen, Dintikon and Krefeld rely on their cars to get to work. As a result, 85 per cent of all emissions caused by commuter traffic are attributable to our logistics locations. However, a glance at the total emissions in relation to the number of kilometres commuted shows our employees are increasingly travelling to work in environmentally friendly ways, including taking public transport, cycling and walking.

Still a long way to go

As a first interim target, Galaxus has committed to halving its operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to the reference year 2019. Even taking into account the emissions yet to be produced by our newly planned warehouses, we’re optimistic that we’ll achieve this goal. As far as reducing packaging material is concerned, we’re on the brink of meeting the target we set for 2030. However, that’s no reason to rest on our laurels and get complacent. The notion that we have plenty of time until we have to meet our 2050 net-zero target is simply an illusion.

*When referring to «the company’s own» climate footprint, we’re referring to operational greenhouse gas emissions subsumed under scope 1 and scope 2 of the SBTI model.

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Tobias Billeter
Head of Corporate Communications

Making sure employees and media know what's up at Digitec Galaxus is my job. But without fresh air and a lot of exercise, I basically stop functioning. The great outdoors provides me with the energy I need to stay on the ball. Jazz gives me the tranquilityto tame my kids. 

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