Fairly packaged: The Gigaset sustainability promise
Thinking and acting sustainably
This is an important balance. Over 90% of Gigaset’s product packaging is made up of recycled material — and has been for many years already. After all, we shouldn’t simply throw out valuable raw materials when collecting and recycling paper and cardboard is very straightforward. The benefits of this are twofold. On the one hand, less waste is produced and, on the other hand, recycled packaging material is a good replacement for fresh raw materials from forest management. This also doesn’t involve cutting down more trees.
This new generation of packaging continues to rely on corrugated cardboard. Thanks to its mechanical properties, it is the ideal choice for protecting sensitive devices like smartphones and it also offers good recycling standards. This means that safely-packaged products and environmental awareness are not mutually exclusive.
What goes into our packaging is also important to us. Generally speaking, Gigaset does not use plastic components and we replace cable ties and plastic bags with paper tape wherever possible. We are always looking for alternative materials and methods and we have already completely banned the use of Styrofoam. That's a good start but that’s by no means all. Thinking about sustainability is an important aspect of our work — yesterday, today and tomorrow. So Gigaset will continue to look for solutions to protect our environment.
Recycling and preserving forests
As you know, what goes around comes around. Because as well as forests being home to countless animal, fungi and plant species, humans also depend on intact forest ecosystems. Without forests we cannot survive, they are the basis of our existence. More than ever, we should therefore look after them and make sure that forest areas that are as large as possible are preserved. If you recycle wood, cardboard or paper products, you are also actively protecting the environment. Here at Gigaset, we have also been investing in recycling for years and more than 90% of the material used in our product packaging is recycled.
We intend combine this philosophy with making our production methods even more accountable and transparent. That is why Gigaset has joined forces with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is an independent and non-profit organisation. The FSC is committed to a more sustainable management of forests and issues certificates to forest owners who comply with ecological and social rules. We like this approach, so we are investing in the latest environmental standards according to the FSC when it comes to the material used in our product packaging.
Recycling protects resources
Reuse, don’t produce. If you reuse materials instead of producing new ones, you are making a responsible contribution to how we use our resources. That is why recycled material is a welcome part of the FSC world. Here at Gigaset, we use corrugated cardboard for our packaging. As this is a lightweight and durable material, our products are perfectly protected. And of course we use recycled material for this.
But which materials are actually suitable for recycling? This is regulated by the FSC standard, which defines the requirements for a verification system for recycled material. At the same time, this standard is regularly checked by independent auditors. This also benefits companies like Gigaset. Anyone whose recycled packaging material enters or is processed in the FSC product chain is certified under the FSC recycling standard. And this means that here at Gigaset, we know exactly who is qualified to provide our product packaging.
Reducing and offsetting CO2
Here at Gigaset, if we want our products to arrive safely and in one piece, we have to use packaging — there’s no way round it. But we avoid using unnecessary material by tailoring the packaging to the products. Gigaset has also made a conscious decision to avoid fresh fibre paper and to use a high proportion of recycled paper. This reduces CO2 emissions, as production uses less energy. Although CO2 emissions cannot be completely avoided, climate neutrality is a major goal for Gigaset, so we offset any unavoidable emissions with ClimatePartner. This experienced and certified company offers solutions for climate protection and, as a result, we can support environmental projects worldwide.
How does offsetting CO2 work?
Whether you’re a politician, a private citizen, a small business or a major corporation, climate neutrality affects us all; it is one of the most important issues of our time. We need to reduce greenhouse gases and stop the atmosphere from heating up further. There are several ways to achieve this goal but protecting resources and reducing consumption are essential. Other measures are available to ensure that business products and processes become climate-neutral, so that unavoidable CO2 emissions can be offset. And how do we do that? By supporting climate protection projects.
What at first glance reads like a modern exercise buzz word is actually an effective and very important step in holistic climate protection. Because greenhouse gases spread evenly through the atmosphere — rather than simply staying where they were released — it’s only right that polluters think about the issue as a whole. If emissions cannot be avoided locally, they should be offset globally and that is handled by independently certified climate protection projects.
The first climate-neutral packaging from Gigaset
Acting locally is just as important as thinking globally. Protecting our environment and climate is an ongoing process that will never be complete. Here at Gigaset, thinking about sustainable production is nothing new; protecting the environment has long been an important topic. That is why we have spent years optimising our processes and workflows, always with tomorrow in mind. And we can now present our first climate-neutral packaging.
The Gigaset GS4: Climate-neutral packaging, transparent offsetting
If you want to act smart and make smart calls, then you need the Gigaset GS4. The new smartphone is the first Gigaset product where the carbon footprint of the packaging has been offset by climate protection projects. ClimatePartner provided us with advice and assistance throughout. In order to make offsetting traceable, each one is marked with an ID number and confirmed with a certificate. Using this unique labelling system and an IT solution certified by TÜV Austria allows ClimatePartner to guarantee absolute transparency.
But how much is actually offset? We have fairly accurate figures for this with the Gigaset GS4. It was about 12,000 kg for the first production batch of the Gigaset GS4, but this is only the beginning and there is significant scope to expand this number: The 650 different products in the Gigaset range worldwide offer enormous potential.
How does climate protection work with forest protection?
Harvest, process, build, plant, grow, harvest. Wood is and has always been an extremely popular natural material. People go into forests to harvest timber, but forest ecosystems are also a habitat for many animals. Forests guarantee biodiversity and are one of the planet's most important CO2 storage systems. While our lives depend on forests, we are also using them more and more intensively and forested areas worldwide have shrunk significantly in recent years. They are being forced to give way to residential settlements or agricultural land, they have been illegally cleared or they have disappeared as a result of the increasing extraction of raw materials.
This makes having protected areas all the more important and forest protection projects ensure the long-term preservation of forests and are designed to protect them from deforestation. But forests are often the only sources of income for the local population, especially in poorer regions. If you want to protect the forests there, you have to offer local people alternatives and this is why numerous projects are being created for alternative sources of income and education.
Gigaset supports these ClimatePartner climate protection projects:
Planting trees in Germany
Germany has villages and towns, fields and meadows, mountains and lakes. But more than anything else, it has forests, which cover almost a third of the country. But these 11.4 million hectares are under threat, as climate change threatens the trees. Temperatures are rising and heat and drought are leaving their mark on forests. Widespread tree species such as spruce are particularly affected, as they have shallow roots and struggle to reach the water in the deeper soil layers. Weakened forests are more susceptible to storms and pests such as bark beetles are also causing great damage. And then there is the all too real danger of forest fires; especially in the East, where large areas have already been destroyed.
So it is therefore all the more important that we protect and strengthen forests. Forestry is one way of achieving this goal. Mixed forests are more resistant to climate change and oaks and pines tolerate heat and dryness better. Fires are also rarer in this kind of forest. ClimatePartner is supporting the conversion and reforestation of German forests and here at Gigaset, we are happy to join forces with them. One new tree is planted in German forests for every offset ton of CO2 in internationally recognised climate protection projects.
Protecting the rainforest in Brazil
Anyone who talks about the green lungs of the earth means the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. But this region, which is so important to humanity, is actually at risk because the rainforest is to be developed commercially. Illegal clearing is increasing, as is the number of forest fires. In 2019 alone, 34% more rainforest was cut down than in the same period last year.
The "Várzea" in Pará at the Amazon estuary is still a separate ecosystem. The islands are criss-crossed by waterways and small farmers have been living here and working the land for centuries. The Ecomapuá project is protecting 90,000 hectares of forest and commercial deforestation is prohibited. This is not only good for the environment, but also benefits the families who live there. ClimatePartner's climate protection project is creating jobs, educational opportunities and new sources of income through the trade in honey or Açaí fruit. This project is also supported by Gigaset.
Start small, think big
The material is crucial, as is the size
Gigaset’s promises on sustainability include recycling packaging material as well as a general avoidance. This means that packaging for every Gigaset product is optimised and uses as few resources as possible. This applies in particular to packaging sizes, which we have already significantly reduced in the past. And less packaging means more space: if product packaging is smaller, more products will fit on a pallet. More packages can be transported at the same time and CO2 emissions are reduced.
But is smaller packaging just as safe? Here at Gigaset, we have found a solution to this as well. Before we launch a new Gigaset product, we also subject its outer sleeves to comprehensive packaging and impact tests. We check things like whether packaging can withstand being accelerated and braked 100 times per side. We use corrugated cardboard in our packaging for reliable stability; its structure means it is light and at the same time very stable. After all, we want our products to arrive just as beautiful as they were when we sent them off.
And that's not all
This section deals with product packaging that helps to conserve resources. But Gigaset also acts responsibly and sustainably in other areas.
Unpacking and find your way round: the user instructions for our products are also printed on recycled material*. The paper is FSC certified and marked with the Blue Angel.
Conscious use of materials: we only use mineral oil-free and low-migration colours for printing.
And then there is the social aspect of "Made in Germany". Gigaset is very much respected as an employer in North Rhine-Westphalia. Thanks to state-of-the-art production methods, we can produce at the same cost as in Asia, where the vast majority of competitors' products are produced. We guarantee fair working conditions and, because we work together with local suppliers, we not only protect the environment, but also strengthen local industry and thus the region.
ClimatePartner provides climate protection solutions for companies, combining individual consulting with cloud-based software that is unique on the market. Customers can use the software to calculate CO2 emissions and use the results to see where they can reduce emissions and offset unavoidable ones. This helps products and companies to become climate neutral, which is confirmed by the ClimatePartner label.
ClimatePartner offers climate protection projects in various regions and with different technologies and standards. The additional social effects of the projects are particularly important and we use the United Nations' 17 goals for sustainable development, or SDGs, as our benchmark.
ClimatePartner was founded in Munich in 2006. It now has more than 100 employees in Berlin, Essen, Yerevan, Cologne, London, Munich, Vienna and Zurich, and works with more than 2500 companies in 35 countries.
Which criteria does a certified climate protection project actually have to meet?
In addition to emission savings, all climate protection projects must meet four basic criteria before they are certified: additionality, exclusion of double counting, longevity and verification by independent third parties.
It must be ensured that a project is only implemented because it receives additional funding from emissions trading. The project must therefore rely on the proceeds from emissions trading to cover its financing requirement and be able to demonstrate this requirement. Projects that are already economically viable and would be implemented without these proceeds do not meet the criterion and cannot be used to offset CO2 emissions.
Exclusion of double counting
It must be ensured that the CO2 savings have not already been credited elsewhere. For example, a solar system that markets its electricity as green electricity cannot be used as a climate protection project, because the positive climate effect is already attributed to electricity.
In addition, in the process of climate neutralizing, it must be guaranteed that the saved CO2 emissions are only used once to offset CO2 emissions and the corresponding emission certificates are subsequently closed down.
The emission savings must be made on a permanent basis and this criterion is particularly important for forestry and forest protection projects. These projects must ensure that forest areas remain in place for a certain period of time. A forest area that is cleared by fire and converted into a cattle pasture after just a few years, for example, must not be recognised as a climate protection project.
Regular verification by independent third parties
Climate protection projects must be verified at regular intervals by independent third parties against all of the above criteria. These third parties monitor compliance with the respective standards and retrospectively determine the amount of CO2 actually saved. Progress reports on the projects are therefore regularly prepared.
The ClimateMap offers a selection of certified climate protection projects from the ClimatePartner portfolio. If you need more information and background knowledge, ClimatePartner describes the operation and benefits of climate protection projects at www.climatepartner.com/en.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-profit organisation with the aim of promoting environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically viable forest management worldwide. The FSC vision is for forests to meet the social, environmental and economic needs and rights of the current generation without compromising those of future generations.
The FSC standard defines which materials qualify as recycled material and what a system of evidence for recycled material should look like. Companies that feed recycled material into or process recycled material in the FSC product chain are certified under the FSC recycling standard.
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* However, there are currently supply bottlenecks on the world market for waste paper from which recycled paper is made. Therefore, in exceptional cases, we have to resort to virgin fibre paper for printing our instruction manuals. It is our common goal to use recycled fibre, to return to recycled paper as quickly as possible and to keep the amount of virgin fibre used as low as possible.