Personio Becomes One of the First Carbon Neutral Unicorns

Personio is the all-in-one HR software for small- and medium-sized companies, supporting all core HR processes every business needs to do, to unlock businesses’ productive potential. Personio partnered up with Planetly to fully understand their carbon footprint and identify important levers for reduction and climate action.

IT & Services
Munich, Germany
1,000+ (November 2021)
Munich, Madrid, London, Dublin & Amsterdam
Carbon Footprint:
3,784 t (2020+21)
Carbon Offset
Offset Project
Offset Projects
2020 onwards
Analysis Period

Background & Objectives

Personio‚Äôs mission is to make HR processes as transparent and efficient as possible so HR can focus on what matters most ‚Äď people and strategy. 2021 started with exciting news for the company: With a new Series D funding of $125 million and a valuation of $1.7 billion, Personio has become a ‚Äėunicorn‚Äô as well as Europe‚Äôs most valuable HR tech company.Sustainability and climate action were on Personio‚Äôs agenda early on. Co-founder and CEO Hanno Renner and the entire team show great interest and passion for creating sustainable impact. To achieve that, Personio has an internal Sustainability Committee that is driving sustainability within the organisation and identifies opportunities to take climate action. ¬†As part of this engagement, Personio reached out to Planetly to gain transparency about their carbon footprint and identify the biggest levers for long-term carbon reduction and avoidance.

‚ÄúOne of my motivations for starting a company was to have an impact that goes beyond the employees and the company ‚Äď to have a platform that can drive social change and have a positive influence on society, as well as the environment. Planetly supported us in understanding how we can reduce our carbon footprint and take climate action.‚ÄĚ



's Carbon Footprint

Personio’s carbon footprint includes energy-related emissions (scope 2) as well as emissions generated by service providers and purchased products and services (scope 3). To calculate Personio’s carbon footprint, we looked at all corporate activities across Personio’s locations in Munich, Madrid, London and Dublin.

Adding up all emissions, Personio had a footprint of 1,755 t CO2e in 2020 and 6,178 t CO2e in 2021.


Analysis Results

As a software company with no physical products, the majority of Personio’s carbon emissions are caused by external service providers such as freelancers and consulting services. The second biggest share of their carbon footprint comes from office operations such as heating in their office buildings. Moreover, emissions occur from employee behaviour such as business travel, working from home and commuting to the offices.

6,178 t
t CO2e
total carbon emissions
2.49 t
t CO2e
Scope 1 emissions
207.5 t
t CO2e
Scope 1 emissions
5,967.64 t
t CO2e
Scope 1 emissions

Personio Wants to Reduce & Avoid Emissions

Personio is committed to reduce and avoid emissions wherever possible. The company therefore already runs offices on green electricity ‚Äď one of the biggest levers for carbon reduction. Personio avoids domestic flights within Germany and promotes train rides as part of their travel policy for employees and applicants. To make sure employees have sustainable options for their daily commute, Personio offers tickets for public transport, electric scooters as well as bikes. For the company, it‚Äôs important to not stop at their office doors but use another big lever for reduction: their employees. The Sustainability Committee is a hub for green conversations and initiatives aimed at impacting employees and customers. For example, they shaped the recycling strategy across all offices or offered cooking classes. More broadly, the individual members contribute a mindset of sustainability within their departments. As a result, the company has explored new approaches to organising events, establishing partnerships or evaluating the environmental impact of the product development. Personio will shortly introduce a vegetarian or vegan cantine for their headquarters. Additionally, there will be company-wide Impact Days to invest the time of the whole team for good causes and give employees the opportunity to participate in different social and environmental projects, individually or in groups, that have an impact on society. Furthermore, Personio wants to identify other impactful areas for carbon reduction. Planetly will help Personio develop a long-term reduction roadmap and decarbonisation strategy

CLimate action

Personio Takes Climate Action

While reduction and avoidance are key for Personio, emissions can currently not be fully avoided for some areas. Personio therefore decided to offset their carbon footprint for 2020 and 2021 by supporting certified climate action projects that aim to tackle the challenges of climate change.

In India, Personio supports a solar water heater project which distributes solar water heater technology to hospitals, schools, universities and SMEs throughout India. Whilst providing households and institutions with a much needed source of clean and affordable energy, a significant contribution is also made to education, health and wellbeing and sustainable development.

The second project of Personio’s climate action portfolio protects the Kakamega rainforest, Kenya’s last remaining indigenous forest, which is very rich in biodiversity. The project provides fuel-efficient cookstoves to rural communities, reducing household wood consumption almost by half and thereby significantly reducing deforestation of the Kakamega rainforest.

In 2021, they decided to support two additional projects in Turkey: a small-scale hydro project in Cemel and a wind energy project in Manisa. The hydro project contributes to the technology transfer for hydropower plants in Turkey and thus has an impact on the regionally based suppliers and know-how in the country. The second project in Turkey promotes low-cost and clean energy by generating an average of 395,577 MWh per year of energy through wind power and feeding it into the Turkish national grid.

Solar Water Heater Project India


Small-Scale Hydro Project Turkey


Wind Energy Project Turkey


Efficient Cookstoves Project Kenya