Although Apheris is still a young company, we have set our sights on the bigger picture in our pursuit of long-term environmental initiatives that aim to mitigate impending threats caused by climate change. This is why we have collaborated with Supercritical to realize our goal of becoming a climate-neutral company and work toward erasing our history of emissions that have occurred since the company was founded.
We are experiencing the effects of the current climate crisis every day – forest fires, flash floods, and more are destroying habitats and disrupting ecosystems around the world. To mitigate this, climate scientists agree that we, as a society, must both drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a process also referred to as negative emissions or carbon removal.
At Apheris, we started to systematically approach this by first measuring our company’s current carbon footprint, then reducing it where we can and compensating for the remaining emissions that we are (not yet) able to reduce. This has led us to ask the question: What impact does a young software company have on the climate?
At Apheris, we have employees that commute to the office and travel to visit clients. We also rely on data centers to run our code, have our offices heated and cooled, and source inputs from vendors that all have their own carbon emissions. Our customer network is made up of individual players in areas such as manufacturing, healthcare, and pharmaceutical industries, which are part of large value chains that can have equally large ecological footprints. Therefore, we have worked to make sustainability a part of our greater mission of facilitating and enabling multi-partner data collaborations to optimize R&D and production across a transparent supply chain, with a special focus placed on improving products, reducing waste, and increasing overall efficiency.
We intend for the impact that we have on our customers to extend beyond the quality of services and products that we provide and set a direction for a brighter and more environmentally conscious future. As our CTO and Co-Founder Michael Höh explains:
"We at Apheris take sustainability seriously both in our internal company but also in terms of the projects that we empower. I realize that for us as a smaller software company, it is rather easy to become carbon neutral. If you are a large manufacturer of chemicals or pharmaceuticals, it is much more complicated because you have more physical processes that also create emissions. With our solution, we want to empower companies to make processes across multiple partners in the supply chain more transparent and efficient, reduce CO2 footprint, and direct ideas toward building up a circular economy, where we can bring multiple parties together that can optimize the design of their products to allow for reduced waste and recyclability."
Dr. Michael Höh, CTO and Co-Founder at Apheris
Our focus on sustainability extends beyond the impact we have on our customers, and our environmentally conscious mindset is at the core of Apheris’ work culture. As Michael further states:
“I want everybody in our workforce to be aware of our sustainability goals and how everyone can take care of them. For example, when we chose our means of transportation, we follow a ‘trains over planes’ policy. We also make sure our office sources renewable electricity, and we preferably procure second-hand products, such as IT equipment and other office materials. As a new employee, you can be part of our goal to empower other companies to reduce emissions, improve products and make global supply chains more sustainable.”
Apheris’ Investments in Sustainable Actions
We are excited to introduce our selected three projects with our collaborator Supercritical that focus on carbon removal with long-term permanence. Based on our initial measurements, we came up with a total of 14 tons CO2 emissions attributed to our company activities since it was founded. We have then invested a total of approximately 3000 EUR into carbon removal by splitting the budget equally across the following technologies:
Duration of Impact: 10,000 years
Role of carbonate in sea exchange of carbon dioxide - Derivative work: Hannes Grobe, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany (CC BY-SA 2.5)
Enhanced Weathering uses the naturally occurring rock weathering process to have CO2 found in rainwater bind with rocks and seals it in a carbonate form for long-term carbon storage. Some companies that accelerated this process by using crushed basalt to increase the surface area of the rocks and radically improve carbon sequestering. The byproduct of this process creates stable carbonate minerals that can last for millions of years.
Duration of Impact: 800 years
A pile of Biochar - By Oregon Department of Forestry (CC BY 2.0)
Biochar is a technology that takes the form of a charcoal-like substance produced by heating organic materials in the absence of oxygen, a process known as pyrolysis. Biochar takes unutilized biomass and organic waste as a resource for binding CO2, creating clean energy, and making fertile soil for plants. As a result, Biochar has both immediate and long-term impacts on sustainable measures for carbon offsetting.