For example, the German Presidency will not offer giveaways at events and will use regional, fair‑trade and primarily plant‑based food in the catering. Germany will offset all of the emissions that cannot be avoided.

With the large number of events it entails, involving travel and catering, a Council Presidency leaves a carbon footprint. In order to make its Council Presidency sustainable, Germany is avoiding and reducing such emissions as much as possible, for example by not having giveaways at events and by using regional, fair‑trade and primarily plant‑based food in the catering. Germany will offset all of the emissions that cannot be avoided. To this end, the Federal Environment Agency collected data in advance and estimated that the emissions for Germany's Council Presidency will amount to 71,519 tonnes of CO2‑eq in total. This includes the emissions caused during events and by travel to and from them. The chart, which depicts a typical Presidency event, shows that most emissions are caused by travel to and from the event.

In order to offset emissions, Germany is acquiring emission reduction credits from projects certified in accordance with the UN regulations in the Kyoto Protocol. The acquisition of these credits provides funding for climate-protection projects that go beyond simply reducing CO2 and instead yield additional value‑added to the project countries. This includes, for example, the protection of air, soil or water, resource protection, the expansion of rural electrification, local job creation, and health protection for the local population.

These climate protection projects are supported

The use of charcoal and wood for cooking and heating is widespread and often the only source of energy. However, this leads to a high deforestation rate. Burning in traditional stoves is inefficient. They do not fully convert large quantities of wood and charcoal into heat energy. This is associated with further problems: As the wood burns, ashes and the harmful gas carbon monoxide are produced. They lead to respiratory, heart, circulatory and eye diseases such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Air pollution in living spaces is a serious threat because many houses do not have adequate ventilation. Furthermore, the physically demanding and time-consuming collection of firewood is typically carried out by women.

© C-Quest Capital Malaysia Global Stoves Limited

The new stoves burn the wood more cleanly, so that women and children are no longer exposed to the constant smoke and soot. In addition to the improved health situation, normal cooking habits are maintained as the stoves workday and night. Households also save a considerable amount of money, as the efficient stoves make them independent of rising charcoal and wood prices and increased transport and production costs. The savings enable households to cover other financial expenses. The project activities promote the sale and installation of energy-efficient cooking stoves because of the effective transfer of heat and the efficient burning of wood compared to traditional fireplaces. In addition, they reduce the demand for wood or charcoal, thus lowering the pressure on forest resources. Thus, the projects counteract problems such as soil erosion, destruction of natural habitats and loss of biodiversity.

Potable water

Water is the most important support for life which cannot be replaced. Apart from being used for drinking and cooking, water is also indispensable for daily personal hygiene and cleaning. Therefore, particularly high demands are placed on the quality of drinking water. Pathogens that get into drinking water can quickly infect a large number of people. This risk must therefore be kept very low.

© south pole group

Increasing weather extremes, flooding, droughts and water shortages are already visible as consequences of climate change. Not only agriculture and food security are affected, but also the entire health situation of the population. In some rural areas, infections – such as gastro-intestinal infections – are a serious threat, especially in children. They are caused by poor water quality, lack of sanitary facilities and inadequate hygiene. Water is usually boiled to rid it of viruses and bacteria and make it drinkable. Drinking water projects make water safe for consumption using a chlorine solution. The water required is usually treated with chlorine directly at the point of supply. This technology eliminates the need to boil water before consumption. CO2 emissions are reduced because forest areas no longer have to be felled for fuel. In addition, the time-consuming and costly procurement of firewood and charcoal is eliminated. Families then have more time and money to meet other basic needs. Not only does the use of chlorine prevent gastrointestinal infections, but it also helps to reduce diseases of the eyes and respiratory tract caused by smoke from the open stoves. Comprehensive health and hygiene training courses are often offered to accompany projects.

To offset the emissions caused by the Council Presidency, Germany is investing in climate protection projects in Malawi, Zambia and Uganda. In total, 71,519 tonnes of CO2 equivalents (i.e. CO2 and other greenhouse gases) will be offset in this way. © DEHst

It is not compulsory to offset the carbon footprint – holders of the Council Presidency do so voluntarily. By diligently offsetting emissions, Germany aims to strengthen international climate protection.

Did you know that...?

... the Federal Government has already been offsetting its employees’ essential business trips since 2014? Further information is available at:

Links to further information

Further information on voluntary offsetting via climate-protection projects at or in the Federal Environment Agency’s guidebook at: