Direct and indirect emissions from paper receipts

In the production of paper and cardboard, Germany alone emits an average of around 10 million tonnes of CO2 (Statista, 2020). This value has been stable since 2006, but is difficult to reconcile with the ambitious targets of the new climate protection law. The new edition of the law has once again tightened Germany's climate protection targets. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 65% (compared to 1990) by 2030. Paradoxically, there are provisions for how the Cash Receipt Requirement Actwhich directly contradicts this goal.

06/21/2021, Cleverbon

direkte und indirekte Emissionen bei der Kassenbonherstellung

The Climate Protection Act nevertheless sets the pace for the decarbonisation of society and thus primarily of the manufacturing industry. These companies are therefore faced with the challenge of drastically reducing their emissions. However, before a structured plan to reduce emissions can be put in place, companies first face the challenge of finding out how high the company's emissions are in the first place, because: "You can't manage what you can: You can't manage what you can't measure. SOKR supports its customers in recording their emissions and developing strategies to permanently reduce emissions - always with a clear business case.

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A company's emissions are defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol in 3 categories, or scopes.

What does Scope 1 stand for and what are direct emissions?

Scope 1 describes all Directly internally generated emissions of a company. This can include, for example, the emissions from the chemical processing of raw materials into thermal paper (as the basis for cash register receipts) or the emissions from a company's fleet of trucks.

What is Scope 2 and what are indirect emissions?

Scope 2 describes all indirectly internally generated emissions of a company. This usually includes emissions that result from the purchase of energy sources derived from fossil fuels. If a company's energy mix for the production of thermal paper as a basis for the cash register receipts, for example, is obtained from fossil fuels, the company is responsible for the emissions resulting from the energy production.

Which emissions are included in Scope 3?

Scope 3 describes all indirect emissions in the upstream and downstream value chain of a company. Scope 3 comprises the largest share of the emissions structure for most companies. Included here are all emissions that arise during the transport of purchased goods to the own company (upstream value chain) and the distribution of the product to the customer (downstream value chain). Due to the global value chains of many companies, there are long delivery routes for which the company must also account. For example, if the rolls for the cash register receipts are produced in Asia, shipped to Germany and finally delivered to restaurants or supermarkets, the emissions in all these steps should be taken into account in the survey.

On what basis are the CO2 calculations based?

The calculation of emissions is based on so-called CO2 equivalents. CO2 equivalents indicate the ratio of the so-called global warming potential of a greenhouse gas to the most prominent greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Methane, for example, corresponds to a CO2 equivalent of 25, because it has a 25-fold higher impact on climate warming over 100 years than CO2.

CO2 equivalents are attributed to many substances and products by various organizations (e.g. the Federal Environment Agency) based on scientific studies. Based on the master data of these databases, total emissions for a company over a defined period can be derived accordingly. Since the emission data cannot be collected directly for organizational reasons, most calculations are based on estimates.

How can companies manage their emissions?

There is a rule of thumb that most issuance strategies follow: 

  1. Avoid - The avoidance of commercial activities that emit greenhouse gases when conducted.
  2. Reduce - The increase of energy efficiency in the implementation of unavoidable commercial activities.
  3. Compensate - The external offsetting of internally generated greenhouse gas emissions from commercial activities

First and foremost, companies should ensure that they avoid emissions altogether. This lever is by far the most important, because emissions that are not emitted in the first place logically have the lowest carbon footprint. most positive influence on the climate

Solutions like Cleverbon allow customers to dispense with their paper receipts by digitizing the receipt, making it possible to there is no demand for the production of the paper rolls. The entire production chain with all its emissions is eliminated and only has to be offset against the expense of the greenhouse gases produced during the development and maintenance of the software. The savings are therefore immense.

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For the emissions that cannot be avoided, measures should be taken to ensure that existing processes are made more efficient in terms of their energy consumption. For example, a company building could be better insulated and thus more energy efficient. Finally, the unavoidable emissions can also be offset against the company's CO2 budget. This can be done, for example, by purchasing GHG certificates or by supporting internationally recognized reforestation initiatives.