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Case Study: idealo - authentically committed to a sustainable future

At idealo, they believe that as a company, they can only become authentically committed to sustainability if their employees help shape change, which is why the company actively involves them on the way to a more sustainable future.

Tyler Richmond
Tyler Richmond
September 28, 2021 | 6 min

With 1.9 million visits per day, around 50,000 shops and over 340 million offers, it is no doubt that idealo is one of the leading shopping and comparison platforms - not only in Germany, but in many other European countries.

The company got its' start in 2000 with a mission to help its users make the best possible purchase decisions. Today, they are doing more than just that. A Holistic Approach Toward Sustainability.

"Economic work and ecological or social commitment are not mutually exclusive." On the contrary: the company as a whole is convinced that one cannot exist without the other. That is why they have actively applied a systematic approach within their sustainability management.

Since 2013, the company has been leveraging its unique position as a price comparison platform - located at a special interface between retailers and end consumers - to become "more sustainable step by step". As a company, they believe that they can only become authentically committed to sustainability if their employees help shape change, which is why the company places a strong focus on actively involving them on the way to a more sustainable future.

The company not only wants to take responsibility for their own actions, but also promote to a "more conscious life", by advocating and demonstrating the responsible use of the limited resources among their sphere of influence and beyond. While environmental sustainability is an important focus, idealo also pays attention to the scope of social sustainability, e.g. through the annual “Kiez-Tag”, during which idealo enables their employees to support different social institutions. idealo is also committed to fulfilling its human rights due diligence. They will carry out an analysis of their greatest human rights risks and take appropriate measures based on the results.

Contributing to global net-zero

Calculation Scope:

  1. Business trips and employee commutes make up a considerable part of their overall CO₂ emissions. That is why it is encouraged that all employees commute to work by bike, or for business trips, to travel by train.

  2. While the energy type used by servers or cloud services from external providers is out of the company's control, it is included in the overall company footprint. Infrastructure in their control - idealo's Berlin office and their data centers - use green electricity, and since making this switch, have been able to save over 1,000 tons of CO₂.

Responsible Offsetting: In recognition that the emission of climate-damaging greenhouse gases cannot simply be reversed, idealo is working together with First Climate to offset their greenhouse gases. By supporting the preservation of a rain forest on the Indonesian island of Borneo, the same amount of greenhouse gases that the company emits is avoided elsewhere.

In 2019, the company's overall CO2 footprint was assessed to be 877 Tons of CO2 and its compensation certified by TÜV NORD CERT, offering a sense of possibility and encouragement for others to follow suit.

The Driving Forces Of Change

In 2014 idealo founded the GREENteam, which is a cross-departmental working group in which around 30 employees volunteer to develop and facilitate collective actions toward enabling all employees to make more sustainable decisions.

Each member of the GREENteam see themselves as ambassadors for their respective departments and carry the sustainability concept into the company. Depending on the occasion, many more colleagues take part in the activities and campaigns of the GREEN team. As various campaigns are planned around the topics of nutrition, mobility, electricity, finance and consumption, it enables everyone in the company to contribute to developing an even more sustainable work environment and to actively help shape change.

Engaging Their Sphere of Influence in Climate Action

idealo is an active member of the LFCA community, and has offered their support in effort to spread our message. For example, they played a large part in supporting our Time For Climate Action campaign, from spreading the word and sharing the campaign with their customers and users, to creating educational materials or events to inform our network about climate protecting solutions in our sector, as well as running a tree-planting campaign to help our customers contribute to the cause. See what else they did to support here.

Additionally, they helped in supporting our E-commerce Climate Action Spotlight project - which will be launched in September 2021 - by inviting their network.

On the other hand, LFCA supports their Trotzdem furs Klima campaign, which aims to encourage everyone to join together by taking small steps to achieve collective change. Apart from actively inviting people to join major climate protests, the campaign aims to educate the viewer on the environmental impact of their actions, and offers tangible advice on how to reduce their personal footprint through using LEDs, eating less meat, and choosing a bike or public transportation over a car.

To show a true dedication to support climate protests, idealo does not only invite employees and customers to participate, they even shut down the whole website for a few hours on the day of the climate protest in 2019. This years climate demo participation focused on the need for political climate protection policies with the German federal election coming up and motivates employees and partners to be #EntschiedenFürsKlima.

Ensuring a Sustainable Future for Employees

When it comes to engaging their employees in sustainability, they are active on many fronts.

Green thumb: The idealo garden & Thanksgiving lunch

The GREENteam has been making sure that the company's urban garden flourishes year after year with vegetables, herbs and flowers. In doing so, the team has been able host a Thanksgiving lunch for all employees, to raise money for new city trees, while collectively enjoying a seasonal lunch with vegetables and herbs from the company garden.

The idealo “survival insurance” and the revitalization of the Lüttwisch moor

As a large company, idealo believes that employers have a responsibility for the future of their employees. Whether through a pension, health or unemployment insurance - employers pay half of the costs everywhere, and idealo expands this concept to climate protection. This is why the company, more precisely their co-founder and managing director Albrecht von Sonntag, launched the idealo "Survival Insurance", where 50% of the employees CO2 footprint is offset every year.

The company cares that all employees understand their CO₂-footprint better, so that they can actively reduce the other half themselves. For example they hosted a webinar for green banking or challenged employees to live vegan for a month during the “Veganuary”.

To do this, idealo plans to develop a new local offsetting project each year to compensate the employees CO2-emissions within the framework of the survival insurance. In partnership with the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, their first project is to revitalize the Lüttwisch moor and bring it back to its natural state. In doing so, this will restore valuable peat soil, saving at least 12,000 t of CO2 within the next years, which is about as much as idealo's employees emit in one year.

Overall, they see this not only as an opportunity to stop the emission of climate-damaging greenhouse gases, but also a means of restoring an important habitat for many animal and plant species.

Next Steps

A constant emphasis is placed on working toward making their product more sustainable by enabling their customers to make more sustainable purchase decisions. The combination of a wide product range and diverse selection of sustainable labels, makes it difficult to pinpoint the most sustainable options, however, the company overall is very eager to show their customers not only what the cheapest purchase option but also the most sustainable one. An example of this is highlighted in the CO₂ feature for idealo flights, which ranks the different flight offers for their CO₂ emissions. In continuing this progression, they are working on their sustainability strategy which will anchor sustainability into even more of the companies processes.

To see more of what idealo is doing, click here.