Behind the scenes

Our climate compensation model

Alex Hämmerli
Pictures: Manuel Wenk
Translation: Eva Francis

We’ve developed a model that reflects the emissions caused by every product in our range. As a result, you know all the facts and can decide for yourself whether or not to compensate for the carbon emissions of your purchase.

We offer you the chance to make up for the carbon footprint caused by your purchase. Let’s take a look at a few examples: for a smartphone, the carbon offset is 3.50 francs; for a mobile phone cover, 10 rappen and for a leather sofa 120 francs. How do we calculate these voluntary fees?

We use the following formula:

Carbon compensation = product carbon footprint in CO2 tons * price of compensating one ton of CO2

The price for carbon compensation is CHF 22.– per tonne*, whereby other greenhouse gas emissions such as methane, nitrous oxide or fluorocarbons are indicated equivalently in tons of CO2. By making a contribution, you support climate protection projects from the portfolio of our climate partner South Pole. These projects protect our environment and contribute to sustainable development for local communities. Here’s a description of the projects.

Let’s break down the carbon footprint of the products in our range:

Footprint of the product in CO2 tons = (CO2 intensity of the product brand correction) weight in tons + (distance from the warehouse in Wohlen AG to the delivery location in km delivery efficiency weight in tons * return factor)

Let’s take a look at an example. For a table made of wood and metal, which weighs 25 kg and is transported 50 km from the warehouse to the recipient, the calculation looks as follows: 6.1 kg CO2 / kg product × 25kg + 50km × 0.025 t × 0.67 kg CO2/tkm *1.05 = 153.38 kg CO2 The compensation fee for the table is therefore 0.153 t × 22 CHF/t = 3.37 CHF.

South Pole assigns each product group a so-called intensity. The greenhouse gas footprint is calculated in line with the two accounting and reporting standards Greenhouse Gas Protocol and ISO 14040 Life Cycle Assessment. The CO2 intensity includes all emissions that occur from the extraction of the raw materials to the transport to our warehouses. The calculation model takes into account the product category, product group, weight and brand.

Provided that the information is available, the composition of materials is also considered in the calculation. For instance, if a sofa is made of genuine leather, the intensity value is higher than for a sofa made of synthetic materials, because the production of genuine leather is more carbon-intense. If no information on the material composition is available, we make assumptions.

We also take into account whether top brands have committed to the RE100 initiative. If so, this is included in the brand correction. RE100-certified companies are committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity globally in the shortest possible timeline.

The emission value of RE100 brands is reduced by 10% in our calculation if a company’s products are made with at least 75% renewable energy. RE100-certified brands include, for example, Google, Philips, LEGO, Microsoft and Apple.

When calculating the delivery efficiency, we use the emission of conventional delivery vans (0.67 kg CO2e/tkm).

The distance from our warehouse to our customers’ is calculated based on the postcode of the delivery address. We estimate the return factor with a flat rate of 1.05 to reflect the percentage of orders that are sent back to us.

We’re aware that this calculation isn’t perfect and are continuously improving our model. If you have any feedback or suggestions, let us know by commenting below this article.

Refunds and price limits

Once an order is ready for delivery, any climate contribution you’ve made can’t be refunded. The amount is forwarded to our partner South Pole and invested in certified climate protection projects. If an order is cancelled prior to delivery, no compensation fee will be charged.

The minimum compensation contribution per product is CHF 0.10.– and the maximum is 5 percent of the sales price for the time being.

*The costs for IT and development are included in the price of CHF 22.– per tonne of CO2.

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Alex Hämmerli
Senior Public Relations Manager

At Digitec and Galaxus, I’m in charge of communication with journalists and bloggers. Good stories are my passion – I am always up to date.

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