BSR’s Climate Goal hero image

BSR’s Climate Goal

As a mission-driven sustainable business network and consultancy, BSR focuses on impact in everything we do in our work with business and other partners to create a just and sustainable world.

Like all organizations, our day-to-day activities impact the environment. From the offices we use, to our business travel, and the products and services we buy, we generate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

It is therefore important that we follow our own suggested best practices, by measuring and minimizing our negative climate impact using the same sustainability principles we advise to our member companies.

BSR began to measure its GHG footprint in 2022 across Scopes 1, 2, and 3, in line with the GHG Protocol, and we continue to measure it annually. BSR is committed to transparency and publicly sharing its GHG footprint information, as well as information on our sustainability progress.

With the support from our expert team and partners, we aim to continually iterate on and further our sustainability efforts over the years.

BSR will always opt for the most ambitious and impactful emissions reduction solutions available and feasible for our organization and will always have an eye on pursuing long term impact over short term or one-off gains.

We hope that others will be inspired by our ambition and commitment to deliver tangible, positive impacts for the planet and society, as well as our commitment to being transparent in our work to further instill sustainability best practices into our operations and culture.

The first step is measuring our GHG footprint yearly across Scopes 1, 2 and 3, in line with the GHG Protocol. We have partnered with Optera to do so, and we will continue to improve the accuracy of our calculations year after year.

The second step is publicly reporting on our GHG footprint transparently. As a service-based organization, our main GHG hotspots are in Scope 3 (business travel and purchased products & service) and Scopes 1&2 (office heating and electricity). Starting in 2023, we are publicly reporting our GHG footprint on a yearly basis on our website.

The third step is to set an emission reduction target in line with climate science. BSR endorses the SBTi Net Zero standard, and while as a non-profit we cannot officially commit to the Science-Based Target initiative, we have set for ourselves a 1.5°C-aligned net-zero target that follows SBTi guidance.

Using our 2021 GHG footprint as the baseline, we have committed to:

  • A near-term (2030) target, to reduce Scope 1&2 emissions in absolute terms by 50%, and our top emitting Scope 3 emissions in absolute terms by 42%.
  • A long-term (2040) target, to reduce Scope 1&2 emissions in absolute terms by 90%, our Scope 3 emissions in absolute terms by 90%, and to reach net-zero by neutralizing residual emissions with permanent removals.

Moreover, starting in 2023, we will apply a carbon price to our Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, and we will use such amounts to invest in climate solutions that contribute to global net zero beyond our value chain. In 2023, we have decided to use the US Government Social Cost of Carbon as the basis for our investments.

We know our climate target is ambitious—achieving it will be a journey that we build and iterate year after year. As a small organization, BSR has limited leverage on our Scope 3, and we don’t have all the solutions now, or the resources of the large companies with which we work. However, we are committed to playing our part in achieving global net-zero and leading by example. We will review our approach regularly and will openly communicate on our thinking and progress.

We believe it is important to lay out our ambition in scientific terms by clearly defining the levels of GHG reduction we expect.

However, we also know it is important to understand what the numbers mean in real-world actions. Simply speaking, our climate ambition explained above means we will:

  • Our Scope 1 & 2 GHG footprint mostly comprises natural gas usage for office heating/cooling and electricity consumption—across our offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. Achieving our near-term and long-term goal will require moving away from natural gas and moving to renewable electricity. We will evaluate what we can do right away in our leased offices, what future leverage we can apply in such offices and/or what we could do in new office leases in the longer term. As remote working is now part of the day-to-day of many of our staff, we will also consider its impact on our GHG footprint.
  • Our Scope 3 GHG footprint mostly comprises the services we buy—contractors make up over 80% of our Scope 3—and our business travel (mainly air travel and hotel stays). We have a long list of very diverse contractors, ranging in size from individual, small-scale consultants (many operating in the global south) to established businesses, and varying in geography and scope of work. We do not believe it is realistic for our 2030 target to cover all contractors, so we are focusing now on the top 60% by spend, where we have the largest relationships, and therefore, in theory, the most influence. Achieving our Scope 3 target will require us to set clear policies on how and when we travel and what realistic requirements, we should have for our main contractors.

Our GHG Data

In 2022, we calculated BSR’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) footprint, based on 2021 data and in line with accounting standards provided by the GHG Protocol. We plan to calculate and publicly report our GHG emissions data yearly.

Our detailed GHG emissions data relative to 2021 is as follows:

Total GHG Footprint, 2021

Our 2022 GHG footprint was mostly relying on spend-based data. We are committed to improve accuracy and move to primary data wherever possible, year after year. Scope 3 is by far the largest part of our GHG footprint.

Pie chart, total GHG emissions for Scope 1, 2, and 3
Full GHG Footprint, 2021 Total
GHG Footprint Scope mtCO2e
 Scope 1
 Scope 2
 Scope 3
Scope 1, 2, and 3 Total for 2021 842.1

GHG Footprint, Scope 1 and 2

Scope 1 and 2 data relate to our geographic footprint, accounting for BSR’s offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Pie chart, breakdown of GHG emissions, Scope 1 and 2
GHG Footprint, Scope 1
GHG Footprint, Scope 1 mtCO2e
 Natural Gas
Scope 1 Total 39.774
GHG Footprint, Scope 2
GHG Footprint, Scope 2 mtCO2e
Scope 2 Total 36.163

GHG Footprint, Scope 3

Scope 3 is the largest contributor to BSR’s GHG footprint. Our top emitting categories are:

  • Purchased Good and Services (Scope 3, Category 1) which relates to our contracted services and partners, and products we use in our day-to-day operations;
  • Business Travel (Scope 3, Category 6).
Pie chart, breakdown of GHG emissions, Scope 3
GHG Footprint, Scope 3
GHG Footprint, Scope 3 mtCO2e
 Purchased Goods/Services
 Hotel and Accommodation Stays
 Air Travel
 Electricity (Scope 3)
 Natural Gas (Scope 3)
Scope 3 Total 766.171