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The CO2 emissions of your investments

A company’s CO2 emissions are an indicator for monitoring its sustainability performance. It is helpful to calculate the emissions and compare them with a benchmark. It allows us to put a company’s CO2 emissions into perspective and measure whether certain targets are being achieved. Here we explain how the emissions of the companies in your investment portfolio are calculated.

The CO2 emissions of your portfolio

We have partnered with data research company ISS Oekom to find out how much greenhouse gases specific companies are emitting. They study the carbon emissions of each company. These emissions are difficult to determine. There are direct emissions caused by a company's own sources, but there are also indirect emissions caused by purchased energy, for instance. 

ISS Oekom calculates a company’s total CO2 emissions as the sum of its direct emissions (Scope 1) and its indirect emissions (Scope 2). 

Your reports will always show you the following infographic, albeit likely with different figures:


What information does this provide?

We add up and offset all the tCO2e (see exactly what is CO2) of the companies in your portfolio in order to compare them against the benchmark. The example below shows you: 

  1. The weighted average CO2 emissions of the portfolio's equities component (or the equities asset class) 
  2. The tCO2e of the agreed benchmark 
In this example, the difference in emissions between the portfolio and the benchmark is 162. The more the rating stays below the benchmark, the better.

Expressed in number of return flights between Brussels and New York

We convert the 162 tCO2e in the example above into the CO2 of return flights between Brussels and New York that has not been emitted. This comparison aims to give you more insight. The 162 tCO2e is equivalent to 94 return flights. 

We make this calculation on the Dutch independent website CO2 Emissiefactoren .


What exactly is CO2?

We often talk about CO2, but what exactly is it? CO2 (carbon dioxide) is a greenhouse gas that is naturally present in the earth’s atmosphere. Like other greenhouse gases, CO2 traps the heat from the sun like a greenhouse. 

CO2 is emitted when fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas are burned. Animals and people also emit CO2. If CO2 emissions are too high, the earth will become warmer more quickly. Trees, plants and plankton in the sea can absorb some of the CO2 emissions. These organisms convert CO2 into oxygen (O2). At the moment, such absorption is not enough to prevent global warming. 

CO2 is also not the only greenhouse gas that has a harmful effect. Because different greenhouse gases are having a different impact, all emissions are converted into CO2 equivalents per year. This is shown in tCO2e.


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