Customer Stories - GSF & Incidence 8

How a specialized consulting firm relies on Traace to steer the decarbonization of a leading service provider

The Company

Leader in hygiene and cleaning services for businesses

A premium reference player among the leaders in cleaning and multiservices, GSF will achieve sales of 1.183 billion euros with over 41,000 employees, in France and internationally, in 2022.

With its unique network of over 160 local establishments in France, the group operates and manages a wide range of on-site services, from cleaning to delegated waste management, from reception to hospitality management, from factotum to internal logistics. GSF adapts its services to the specific features of each business sector and the context of each of its customers, with a tailor-made organization of its teams.

Their local management, investment in continuous training, internal promotion and employee loyalty form the core of GSF's business model. Its overall CSR approach has been rated "Platinum" by Ecovadis.


Implement an ambitious climate strategy, gain autonomy and involve your customer and supplier ecosystems in decarbonizing

Active and successful since its creation in the social dimension of CSR, the GSF group decided 2 years ago to step up its environmental commitments and implement an ambitious climate and energy strategy to reduce its impact on the environment.

With its core business of providing hygiene services to meet the highly varied expectations of its many customers, on the one hand, and high consumption of products (chemical products, drugstore supplies, household supplies and consumables, etc.) purchased from a large number of suppliers, on the other, the group was wondering about the right way to act, to engage its ecosystem and concretely reduce its carbon footprint and indirect emissions.‍

Against this backdrop, GSF first called on specialist consultancy firm Incidence 8 to assist it in framing and implementing its entire climate strategy, i.e. carrying out an initial greenhouse gas assessment of its entire value chain and defining an action plan and reduction trajectory by 2028 in line with SBTi methodology.

Given the Group's organizational complexity and the large number of stakeholders to be mobilized (employees, managers, partners, suppliers, etc.) to establish and manage a reliable and exhaustive carbon footprint, Incidence 8 recommended that GSF equip itself with a carbon data management software platform on which to base its governance and climate strategy.

Incidence 8 carried out a comprehensive benchmarking of solutions, and Traace was selected in particular for its ability to enable advanced, granular carbon measurement and analysis, thanks to the fine modeling of organizations with numerous entities and their multiple operations and products.

GSF & Incidence 8 also paid particular attention to the platform's ease of use and familiarity with non-climate-expert operational staff

Traace & Incidence 8 expertise

A fluid tripartite collaboration enabling GSF to benefit from the best in climate consulting combined with the best in carbon software capabilities

After receiving training in the use of the Traace platform, Incidence 8's teams and GSF's referents independently collected activity data and carried out the group's first carbon footprint measurement for the year 2021.

This activity data collection is based on the methodological expertise of Incidence 8 on the one hand, and on the fine-tuning of the GSF account in Traace on the other. Parameterization based on three key functional capabilities of the platform:

➡️ Tailor-made adaptation of the tree of issue categories representing the group's operational reality. In GSF's case, the sub-categories of scope 3, and in particular purchasing, have been refined in order to provide as much detail as possible on the different types of products purchased to provide services.

➡️ The modeling of the company's various entities and sub-entity through the parameterization of the organizational tree in Traace. In particular, this organizational tree enables fine-tuned management of access and viewing rights for GSF collaborators, so that each stakeholder is involved only on a perimeter that is specific and relevant to them.

➡️ Tags freely and repeatedly associated with each emission data point collected.

This initial parameterization then enables exhaustive, collaborative data collection, followed by infinite carbon footprint analysis capabilities. As each of the company's GHG emissions is associated with an emission category, a site within the organization and one or more tags, Traace enables the calculated carbon footprint to be analyzed in depth and in a totally free manner.

GSF relies in particular on this analytical capacity to communicate with the group's suppliers and customers on their specific carbon footprints, on a given perimeter (a set of sites, cities or regions) or for a precise product category. This enables GSF to have precise and concrete discussions with their stakeholders, and to engage them more easily in their efforts to reduce their footprint.

Traace, for example, makes it possible to answer a question such as: "What is the footprint of the GSF service on the customer site?" in order to adapt the service to offer "low carbon" services.

GSF currently buys over 10,000 different references from more than 2,000 suppliers. Yet less than 1% of GSF's suppliers are able to provide LCAs of their products in order to refine GSF's scope 3 measurement.

Incidence 8 therefore supports GSF and its purchasing teams with a pragmatic approach to reducing their indirect emissions.
This approach is based firstly on a maturity score for all suppliers, and secondly on more advanced discussions with the most mature suppliers who have the greatest impact on the carbon weight of GSF's purchases.

Incidence 8 then carries out product carbon footprints for certain products, in order to refine the measurement of GSF's scope 3 and to have precise discussions with suppliers wishing to reduce their footprint. The results of these PCFs (Product Carbon Footprints) are used in Traace in the form of custom emission factors, replacing generic emission factors that are too imprecise to identify concrete levers for action.

The results

Publication with the CDP, definition of an SBTi trajectory, modeling of a credible action plan and commitment of its customer and supplier ecosystems

Thanks to the support of Incidence 8 and Traace's SaaS carbon platform, GSF carried out its first BEGES in 2022 for the reference year 2021, and repeats the exercise annually in order to improve its environmental performance.

This first footprint measurement for 2021 is the starting point for GSF's future actions and commitments. The Group was thus able to begin by analyzing the carbon footprint of its activities in detail:

➡️ Indirect emissions account for over 93% of GSF's carbon footprint in 2021.

➡️ Inputs account for 41% of the total carbon footprint. Within this category, the purchase of chemical products, for example, represents more than 5% of the Group's total footprint.

➡️ Travel represents 37% of the total carbon footprint, with more than 83% of emissions due to the daily commuting of the more than 40,000 employees.

➡️ Finally, fixed assets represent 18% of the total carbon footprint.

This first carbon accounting, carried out according to the GHG Protocol methodology, enabled GSF to publicly testify to its impact and to make credible commitments to reduce its impact.

GSF has been a CDP respondent since 2021 and, as part of this, is continuing its work on climate-related risks and opportunities. In 2022, GSF published its full carbon footprint for the first time, responding to the CDP questionnaire.

➡️ In 2023, GSF also structured its targets according to the reference framework defined by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), which GSF joined in 2022. Following on from the measurement exercise carried out, GSF worked on its targets in terms of carbon trajectory and aligned them with the SBTi reference framework. Incidence 8 and GSF have begun to model in Traace a catalog of actions to reduce emissions, which will then be deployed perimeter by perimeter with the operational teams.

Following on from the measurement exercise carried out, GSF worked on its carbon trajectory objectives in order to define a reduction action plan aligned with the SBTi reference trajectory. Incidence 8 and GSF have begun to model in Traace a catalog of actions to reduce emissions, which will then be deployed on a perimeter-by-perimeter basis to operational teams, so that they can take ownership of them, implement concrete actions in the field and autonomously manage their footprint and their action plan in Traace.

The precise measurement of its carbon emissions has also enabled GSF toidentify the sectors of activity in which the company operates, and which should be mobilized as a priority to reduce the Group's carbon impact . This was followed by the first discussions with GSF customers on their specific footprint, which can be analyzed using Traace, and on the climate and biodiversity risks and opportunities that concern them jointly. These discussions have already made it possible to modify GSF's services (products used, schedules, etc.) for certain customers, leading to direct reductions in emissions throughout the value chain without altering the quality of the services provided by GSF.

With regard to emissions linked to employee commuting, GSF is working to reduce this by activating several levers:‍ modifying specific services requested by customers (which once again requires raising its customers' awareness of their impact and working hand in hand with them on this subject), adapting its internal work organization and finally electrifying its vehicle fleet.

The Traace Traace platform is ergonomic, easy to use and enables us to engage in discussion with our stakeholders (customers, suppliers, certification bodies, etc.) on decarbonization issues.

Traace experts are available and efficient in handling requests.
The platform also provides access to a database of emissions factors required for the implementation of any Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment.

The tool facilitates the deployment of the GSF Group's Climate & Energy strategy within the various strata, and also enables us to manage our reduction targets in line with the SBTi methodology:
- 34% Scope 1 and 2 (absolute value)
- 44% Scope 3 (intensity)

Nicolas Lehmann
GSF carbon expert
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