The topic of sustainability is occupying us with increasing intensity and we are making considerable resources available to achieve greater success in a shorter period of time. Our guiding principles are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in 2015, which we can and want to contribute to achieving.
To achieve the goals, we rely on three pillars that lie within our direct sphere of influence:
1. Education for Sustainable Development.
In the meantime it is obvious: In a world with seven billion people and limited resources, we cannot avoid to learn quickly how sustainable living together works. There is no alternative! We must learn that our actions today have an impact on the lives of tomorrow!
As a chocolate museum, we have more than 550,000 visitors from all over the world every year. We are convinced that this is the right place to provide people with knowledge and values for sustainable development. We want to encourage our museum guests to contribute to a sustainable world.
This whole complex is summarized under the theme: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). At the same time, it is also the key to building a sustainable society.
Therefore, we invest in education for sustainable development. Thus, we are the first museum to be certified as an educational institution for sustainable development by both UNESCO (2019) and the state of NRW (2018).
2. Reducing our own carbon footprint.
A very important task in order to achieve defined climate targets is to reduce the company’s own CO2 emissions by using new, forward-looking technologies and avoiding waste of the energy used. To this end, numerous measures have been and will continue to be taken at the Chocolate Museum.
Since 2016, we have been relying on the resource-saving energy use of 100% green electricity. We obtain our district heating from a highly efficient combined heat and power plant. Last but not least, our e-bike as a cargo bike for inner-city delivery trips makes a small but highly visible contribution to improving our climate footprint. As does the renewal of our lighting by completely switching from incandescent bulbs to LED lights.
3. Climate neutrality through compensation measures.
In 2018, we at the Chocolate Museum set ourselves the goal of achieving CO2 neutrality in 2023. We have already replaced this goal with a better one in 2019:
We act now and make ourselves not only climate neutral but climate positive from 2019 onwards.
Since it is not yet possible to compensate for the museum’s CO2 footprint with technical measures, Gold Standard certificates have been purchased, thus removing CO2 certificates from the market.
In addition, the Chocolate Museum, together with its partner Plant for the Planet, www.plant-for-the-planet.org, will in future plant around
35,000 trees each year. In 2019, this happened in Constitution on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This significant overcompensation means that the Chocolate Museum will be permanently climate-positive, i.e. it will remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than it emits.
These 33,500 or so trees represent a significant overcompensation of our CO2 footprint, so we are climate positive and will offset our CO footprint in the years to come, all the way back to the year of our founding in 1993. We believe this is a groundbreaking measure.
Even if, due to the Corona pandemic, these issues have somewhat receded into the background of reporting, they remain an important component of our corporate development.
We hope you enjoy reading our report and look forward to your feedback.
Annette Imhoff and Dr. Christian Unterberg Imhoff