How can an organisation reduce its CO2 emissions? The University of Graz is showing the way and helping others to do the same. Thanks to the exclusive partnership with NetCero GmbH, a newly founded start-up, the Institutional Carbon Management developed at the Wegener Centre of the University of Graz can now also be used by companies and institutions in all areas of society. NetCero offers interested companies and institutions customised advice and a new type of software tool for comprehensive sustainability management with a focus on carbon management.
With the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), the EU obliges companies to carry out sustainability reporting in accordance with the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). Public interest entities with more than 500 employees must do so for the first time for the 2024 financial year. By 2028 at the latest, staggered according to different categories, this requirement will apply to all but the smallest companies.
The start-up NetCero offers an innovative software solution for sustainability management with CSRD reporting in accordance with ESRS, which is characterised by the comprehensible preparation of complicated guideline content, particular user-friendliness and its excellent scientific foundation. The latter is the concept of Institutional Carbon Management (ICM), which was developed by Gottfried Kirchengast and his team at the Wegener Centre at the University of Graz.
Research – role model – responsibility
Carbon management is a solution for effective climate protection that supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris climate targets. It can be of great benefit to public institutions as well as companies from the private sector in developing and realising their climate targets. It is already being used successfully in-house at the University of Graz. “With the help of the ICM, we want to reduce our emissions by over two thirds by 2030 and achieve true climate neutrality by 2040,” says Rector Peter Riedler confidently. However, the university is not only a pioneer in climate protection. “The partnership between the University of Graz and NetCero GmbH is an effective form of knowledge transfer, through which the results of our research benefit society as a whole,” emphasises Riedler.
ICM comprises a multi-stage programme. A reference greenhouse gas balance is first drawn up for clearly defined stakeholders and areas of action within the organisation in order to use this as a basis for defining climate targets for savings in all key areas of emissions. These include the consumption of electricity, heat and other resources as well as mobility behaviour. “Specific measures are then defined for these areas, their effectiveness is assessed and emissions monitoring is set up. A control process accompanies the implementation in order to be able to intervene early enough if a sub-area is not developing as desired or to further strengthen successful measures,” explains Kirchengast.
This concept and continuously updated research results provide the basis for the developments of NetCero GmbH. It is the exclusive commercial cooperation partner of the carbon management team from the Wegener Centre at the University of Graz. Marc Kornberger, Lukas Windisch, Michael Jauk (dectria GmbH), David Kirchengast (AuMieux GmbH) and Sepp Kirchengast founded NetCero GmbH in 2023 and the company is based south of Graz in Sankt Martin im Sulmtal.
“It is a priority for us to implement sustainability management holistically and as pragmatically as possible for companies and to support them with customised solutions,” emphasises the start-up team, which combines specialist expertise and a wide range of skills in software and product development.
Initial demos of the sustainability tool can be booked at https://netcero.eu.
More information about ICM: https://klimaneutral.uni-graz.at/de/carbon-management