8.1 InnoGames, Michael Zillmer
(Co-Founder and COO InnoGames)
What specific commitments have you made to environmental and climate protection?
At InnoGames, we have implemented a wide range of measures that allow us to make an active contribution to environmental and climate protection. Above all, we are continuously working on shrinking our carbon footprint. We use 100 per cent renewable energies and are reducing our consumption of electricity on an ongoing basis. We use LEDs with motion sensors, for instance, and we avoid excessive heating or unnecessary use of our air conditioning system by controlling the temperature in our offices.
Additionally, in cases where we need to use paper at all, we only use recycled paper, and we encourage our colleagues to use video conferencing instead of taking business trips whenever possible.
We will continue to offer the option to work from home even after the coronavirus pandemic ends. And last but not least, we focus on local suppliers to keep transport routes short, and we provide our colleagues with tickets for the local public transport system. That sounds like a lot, but these are just a few of the measures we’ve implemented, and we are constantly reassessing and building on them.
We have been conducting audits to assess the impact of these measures every twelve months for the last two years, and we are proud to say that our company has been climate-neutral since 2020.
Have you implemented these measures purely out of conviction, or do the measures have financial or other benefits for the company?
At InnoGames, we are committed to protecting our planet, and we believe that we have a responsibility to do our part – by reducing our carbon footprint, for example, or by using water coolers in our offices to cut down on our use of plastic. In some ways, it is a win–win situation, of course. These measures have meant that we consume less electricity overall, which has saved us money. But that is not our ultimate motivation for implementing these environmental protection measures. Our primary objective is to reduce the impact our business has on the environment, despite the fact that this impact is already relatively low.
Where would you say the strongest impetus for these measures comes from: from management, the employees or individual teams?
All of our colleagues at InnoGames contribute to protecting the environment. When we recorded our carbon data and conducted our first proper audit on the issue two years ago, we asked our entire staff for ideas and suggestions. We used a range of different channels, and the feedback came from both management and the employees. Of course, the suggestions we select have to be possible to implement in practical terms, and all the teams would need to support them over the long term. After all, environmental protection only works when everyone contributes. That’s why it’s also important to us to always make the results of our audits available to all our colleagues and to ensure that they are transparent.
8.2 GameDuell, Chris Johnson
(Head of Customer Experience and Green-Team-Member at GameDuell)
You set up a ‘Green Team’ at your company. Why, and what did it help you achieve?
Since 2009, our Green Team has been taking ideas and initiatives to protect our environment and promote good causes and making them a part of our day-to-day operations. We meet once a month to discuss ways of making our office and our business processes more sustainable.
For example, when we are buying office supplies and food and beverages, we look for high standards of environmental friendliness and resource conservation. We buy all of our office supplies from providers of sustainable products, we have a sophisticated system for separating waste and we run our servers on green energy. At our office, we also try to avoid using plastic wherever possible, to order drinks in reusable glass bottles, and we’ve even launched a roof gardening initiative, where we grow flowers and vegetables.
As part of the games community, we take our social responsibility very seriously. Team members who want to participate in global climate strikes are excused from work for the day; we regularly donate to charitable projects and organisations, double our employees’ donations to charitable causes and donate any old hardware that still works well to projects that help groups such as refugees or computer clubs for seniors.
What specific challenges did you face in the process?
At the time when we launched our Green Team, it was still considered a nerdy or niche thing to do; now, it’s standard practice for companies that want to tackle environmental issues. Our Green Team was founded on the initiative of our management, so the internal prerequisites were already in place at the company and we only had to find team members who were interested in playing an active role in environmental protection and charity campaigns, and who wanted to be an integral part of creating our many green initiatives.
We firmly believe that issues of sustainability and environmental protection are now a necessary part of our industry. That’s why we are also doing our part outside of the company; we try to inspire our players and partners to get excited about environmental protection, and we work to raise awareness of these issues. We also support the initiative ‘Leaders for Climate Action’. The objective of this initiative by business leaders is to promote climate protection by using their own influence and networks. In addition to personal dedication, membership requires entrepreneurship and a commitment to measuring, offsetting and reducing carbon emissions with the ultimate goal of climate neutrality. Our approach here is to reduce our use of resources, to recycle and to reuse, and to avoid generating emissions in the first place. However, if unavoidable emissions are still generated (measured in CO2 equivalents), we offset them with reforestation projects at a level that makes a measurable contribution to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Based on your experience, do you have any tips to offer other companies?
If you want to implement projects and ideas on the topic of sustainability successfully at your company, the first thing to do is ensure that sustainability is part of your company values. So make sure to get team members, partners and customers actively involved. Commit to climate protection measures. Use tools to calculate your own personal emissions and the company’s emissions to get a feeling for how much potential you have to reduce your emissions. Dialogue with other companies is also important, so you should join initiatives such as Leaders for Climate Action or Playing for the Planet.
Once you are ready to implement specific policies at your company, the best thing to do would be to appoint a climate protection officer or, better yet, a Green Team to make the projects a reality. Ideally, the Green Team will include a member of management, partly for the symbolic impact, and partly for practical reasons – so decisions can be made and approved quickly. A member of the office management team should also be included, as they are generally most familiar with the company’s procurement processes and travel guidelines and, ideally, facility management.
The first issues the Green Team could address include business travel, waste sorting, sustainable office supplies, organic foods, and saving energy and water. There is so much potential for making your company more sustainable. But it’s also important to remember that you don’t need to immediately come up with THE revolutionary, world-changing concept at your company. Instead, try working consistently on a few small steps that will lead to an overarching goal. Every little bit helps, and it all adds up in the end.
8.3 the Good Evil, Linda Kruse
(Founder and CEO the Good Evil)
In 2018, you published the game ‘Serena Supergreen und der abgebrochene Flügel’ (Serena Supergreen and the Broken Blade). The goal is to get young people excited about technical vocations in the field of renewable energies. Has it worked?
The short answer is: yes. The longer answer is: with Serena Supergreen, we wanted to develop a game for vocational education, for use in classroom training, that strengthens students’ belief in their own abilities in the technical vocation fields – particularly for girls. There are a number of ways to do this. One is to show the positive impact you can have on society and nature by working in a vocational field in renewable energies.
In Serena Supergreen, the player has to solve a broad range of technical problems, such as soldering a solar charging device and selecting the right LED lighting for aquariums. In the process, they can test and improve their own abilities, and through direct interaction, they can also see how renewable energies work and what sort of benefits they offer. How much electricity does a rooftop solar power system generate? What are peak loads? Which household devices consume how much energy? How does a wind turbine work? And how does the world actually look from above? All of these are experiences that would not be possible in the students’ day-to-day lives, and especially not as part of classroom training. In all of the classes we evaluated, the students were engaged with the game and succeeded in helping Serena solve her problems.
How do you find a good way to address the issue of environmental and climate protection in games?
Environmental and climate protection is a very abstract subject. Broad knowledge and expansive imagination are required to understand the factors and impact of environmental issues on the various aspects of one’s own life and on the world as a whole. Games can help here, as they themselves are systems that can be used to model other systems, meaning that games are a good tool for tackling these complex issues. They allow the players to interact with systems, make their own decisions and then see and experience the potential consequences of those decisions. In this way, games can make it easier to understand processes and, above all, connections.
Are games particularly well suited for addressing this issue, and if so, why?
When it comes to imparting educational content, the important things to focus on are what exactly you want to teach, and which target group the game is intended to reach. If you are trying to explain complex systems, then simulations like Eco are a very good option. But if you want to tell emotional stories and demonstrate the impact of environmental and climate protection on a certain group of people, for instance, then a point-and-click adventure or a narrative adventure like Alba might be the right choice. Even a platformer can be a good way to teach simple content. Quiz games, on the other hand, tend to test a player’s existing knowledge, so they are more recommendable for advanced learners in environmental and climate protection. The range of options really is extremely broad.
Picture Michael Zillmer: InnoGames
Picture Chris Johnson: GameDuell
Picture Linda Kruse: Linda Kruse