Greenhouse gases have global effects, regardless of where in the world the emissions originate. They are not contained within continents or country borders. A wide body of professional scientific opinion maintains that human beings have noticeably increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through combustion of fossil fuels. At the Treaty States’ Conference held in Kyoto, Japan in 1997, a multilateral environment protection agreement was reached and, for the first time, internationally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions were fixed. This was intended to stabilize greenhouse gases at a level that enables the effects of climate change to remain controllable.


The Kyoto Protocol contains three mechanisms aimed at making it easier for industrialized countries to achieve the emissions reduction targets agreed to in Kyoto. The so-called “Kyoto Mechanisms” or “Flexible Instruments” enable industrialized countries to meet part of their reduction commitments outside their own borders.

Die Kyoto-Mechanismen

The mechanisms and eco-political instruments of the Kyoto Protocol (Source: Energieagentur NRW/bvdm)


“Joint Implementation” covers projects between two industrialized countries that have both committed themselves in Kyoto to an emissions reduction target. If an industrialized country carries out a climate protection project in another industrialized country, the resulting emissions reduction (Emission Reduction Units) can be credited to the investor country’s reduction target. The host country on the other hand receives no credits.


The “Clean Development Mechanism” works similarly to “Joint Implementation”. The difference, however, is that CDM projects are carried out between an industrialized country with a reduction commitment and a developing country without a reduction commitment. The emissions thus avoided in the developing country can either be additionally emitted in the industrialized country or used by it as an emissions credit. Part of the financial transfer flows into a fund for those states mostly affected by climate change (in particular small island states). CDM projects must be registered with the CDM Executive Board of the UN. Another goal of CDM is to help developing countries to establish a climate-friendly economy through technology transfer.


The best known of the three Flexible Instruments is emissions trading, which permits industrialized countries to trade with emissions rights. Every country is allocated a certain amount of emissions units. The amount per country is determined in such a way that a country precisely uses up its emissions units when it meets the national target laid down in the Kyoto Protocol. Emissions trading allows industrialized countries that have emission units to spare - emissions permitted them but not "used" - to sell this excess capacity in the form of licenses to countries that are over their targets. The buyer can credit these licenses to its own emissions reduction. The licenses are traded on commodities markets.

In EU countries, this system of emissions trading is mainly used by the most energy-intensive industrial concerns. So far, the printing and media industry has not been involved in this legal emissions trading.


Everybody must contribute to climate protection. And companies, also those not engaged in legal emissions trading, have a special responsibility to reduce their greenhouse gas or CO2 emissions. In the first instance, energy consumption must be kept as low as possible. However, CO2-free production is not achievable. Still, unavoidable CO2 emissions can be compensated for by avoiding the same amount in other places. Climate protection benefits from saving CO2 emissions of the same amount, regardless of where in the world this takes place. Implementation of such climate protection measures can be done by purchasing emissions reduction certificates from recognized sustained climate protection projects and offsetting them.


The climate protection model of the Printing and Media Industries Federations provides for compensation of those CO2 emissions which are unavoidable in print production. Special emphasis is placed on energy efficiency. One’s own efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must not slacken. But compensating for CO2 emissions, meaning investing in trustworthy and efficient climate protection projects, is also an important instrument for voluntary and not state-regulated climate protection.

There is growing interest in emission reduction certificates for voluntary compensation for production-related CO2 emissions. In ARKTIK, the Printing and Media Industries Federations have found an experienced and reliable partner for its climate protection model.

The CO2 reduction certificates offered within the framework of the climate protection model for compensation of CO2 emissions are invested above all in projects that promote renewable energies. Here great importance is placed on verified climate protection projects with a high standard of quality that, besides CO2 reduction, also improve social and economic conditions in the project regions.


To compensate for greenhouse gas emissions within the framework of the climate protection model with ARKTIK, certificates are generated only for premium-quality Gold Standard projects.

The Gold Standard is an independent quality standard for climate protection projects. Cofounded by the WWF, it is solely awarded to projects proven to reduce greenhouse gases, whilst simultaneously benefitting the local environment and sustainable social development. All projects are tested on location by a UN-recognized authority. The seal “Approved Certificate Management” in accordance with TÜV NORD TN-CC 002 guarantees that ARKTIK offsets 100 % of the CO2 emissions.

At present CO2 emissions can be compensated with ARKTIK in one of the following projects:


CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) are climate protection projects in countries that are not committed to limiting their greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol (mainly developing and emerging countries) but have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The aim of CDMs is to generate and transfer CERs.

JI (Joint Implementation) are climate protection projects in countries that are committed to limiting their emissions under the Kyoto Protocol (industrialized and transformation countries) and have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The aim of JIs is to generate and transfer ERUs.

ERU (Emission Reduction Units). Designation for the emissions credits generated through JI projects. Since 2008 they are usable within the framework of the EU emissions rights trading to meet reduction commitments.

CER (Certified Emission Reductions). Designation for emissions credits generated through CDM projects. CERs are usable within the framework of the EU emissions rights trading to meet reduction commitments.

VER (Verified Emission Reductions). Designation for emissions credits from a voluntary emissions reduction project that is not, or not yet, recognized as a JI or CDM project. These are mostly small, innovative projects in developing and emerging countries that for cost and time reasons are not registered with the United Nations. As they are carried out following the guidelines and procedures of the official Kyoto Mechanisms, the transparency and reliability of such projects and programs are assured through evaluation and verification by independent certification organizations. VERs are not creditable for commitments in EU emissions trading and also not under the Kyoto Protocol and can only be used for voluntary greenhouse gas compensation.

GS (Gold Standard of the non-profit Gold Standard Foundation). The Gold Standard is the most respected standard worldwide for sustained emissions reduction. In the area of mandatory emissions reduction i.e. CDM, GS is an additional Seal of Quality. In the area of voluntary emissions reduction (VERs) for “climate neutralization”, it is an independent standard. GS only validates projects in the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency.