The year 2022 was once again a special year for the eco Association of the Internet Industry: a fact which has always been the case. On the one hand, after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were able to gradually catch our breath due to the increased easing of measures, and were able to once again shape the association’s life in the “real world”. On the other hand, we experienced renewed upheaval as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which confronted us with many challenges. This was also clearly noticeable in the business of the eco Association of the Internet Industry.

Several on-site events once again brought us into direct contact with our members, with stakeholders interested in eco, and with prominent politicians. One clear highlight of 2022 was the eco Interaction Day. For the first time in a long while, the eco Association opened its doors for an exchange of ideas. Members and all interested parties were invited to network in a relaxed atmosphere and to become better acquainted with the association and its premises, as well as to gain more in-depth information.

A further special event was the eco://awards ceremony in the summer of 2022. Around 200 guests, including the award winners, the nominees and the eco staff, gathered to celebrate their own achievements and those of the Internet industry at the HARBOUR.Club in Cologne.

Due to the restricted communication options, we unfortunately lost contact with some members, while the Internet industry’s economic developments had a knock-on effect. As a result, the number of members declined (somewhat) compared to the previous year.

The association registered a total of 44 new member companies in 2022, but this was offset by 43 regular terminations and 28 insolvencies/mergers, which led to a reduction in income from membership fees of -3.9 per cent.

Given the fact that, in our planning, we had originally anticipated further growth in our number of members, the end of the business year presented us with some challenges. Nonetheless, the growth of the Certified Senders Alliance (CSA) could be increased in contrast to the previous year, with this reflected in a turnover growth of 2.6 per cent (compared to -10.2 per cent in the previous year). This once again displayed the strength of the CSA in manifesting its market significance with more certifications and new participants.

In 2022, for the first time, we had a full financial year with a significant share (34.1 per cent) of third-party funded projects. The considerably increased share of third-party funded projects from the public sector was reflected in the doubling of income, but also in higher personnel expenses and expenditure for external service providers. The rise in public-sector funding contributions was due, inter alia, to successfully acquired third-party funded projects, such as Gaia-X Federation Services, Car Repair 4.0, Service Meister and Auditor. With the exception of Service-Meister, all projects will be continued in 2023, so that public funding is guaranteed for the forthcoming budget.

As in previous years, other income included charging benefits, reimbursement of advanced costs, and offsetting of personnel costs. It also included income from the “eco External Data Protection Officer” service, which generated a small positive balance in the 2021 financial year. The corresponding costs are largely reflected in the increase in legal and consulting costs.

Overall, the eco Association’s income increased by 18.8 per cent in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Revenue and Expenditure for the Financial Year 2022

eco e.V.Actual Value 2022Share in per centActual Value 2021Change from the preceding year in per centPlan 2023Share in per cent
Member fees2,081,62139.0%2,165,713-3.9%2,125,65039.9%
Public funding1,817,10934.1%881,252106.2%1,824,35834.3%
Generated proceeds908,62817.0%885,3642.6%1,025,00019.3%
Total revenue5,334,980100.0 %4,490,65518.8%5,322,136100.0 %
Personnel costs2,805,16950.2%2,386,92317.5%2,927,91952.5%
Administrative costs432,2267.7%428,9400.8%460,4148.3%
Occupancy costs140,6692.5%156,610-10.2%161,5172.9%
Travel costs108,1411.9%43,682147.6%140,1222.5%
Administrative/accounting/ legal costs55,6341.0%66,967-16.9%52,8000.9%
Other/taxes**89,5481.6 %127,601-29.8%55,8101.0%
Total expenditure5,592,625100.0%4,547,23623.0%5,571,927100.0%
Neutral income6,542,141117.0%1,532,770326.8%
Neutral expenditure6,542,141117.0%1,532,770326.8%
* Other revenue: e.g. eco Data Protection Officer service, Registrar Atlas, charging benefits for cars, reimbursement of advanced costs, etc.
** Other expenditures: Bank fees, artists’ social security contributions, insurances, further education, advanced costs, etc.

Due to project-related factors, personnel expenses were once again increased significantly (17.5 per cent) in 2022. Administrative expenses rose considerably, but the costs for this could be maintained at an almost stable level. While there was a sharp growth in travel costs, this was mainly due to project-related factors. Due to the progressive easing of Covid-19 restrictions, many events of the eco Association of the Internet Industry could again be held in presence. This development is now reflected in the corresponding marketing expenses, which have increased by +52.1 per cent in comparison to 2021.

In 2022, the eco Association recorded a combined revenue growth of 18.8 per cent, but this was offset by a cost increase of 23.0 per cent.

Since the presentation of the financial figures has always been based on income and expenditure, the investments made are distributed over the normal useful life for tax purposes (depreciation for wear and tear = known in Germany as AfA), so that a loss of -€246,165 is shown in the tax return.

The causes for the defective result are manifold. Despite massive endeavours, the set targets for income from new memberships and service revenues could not be achieved, while subsequent goodwill and adjustments to membership fees had a negative influence on the outcome. In addition, there were start-up difficulties with the funded projects, meaning that the funding framework could not be fully utilised; simultaneously, personnel and other costs were significantly increased for the third-party funded projects.

The eco Association is expecting the economic situation to remain challenging in the 2023 budget. Due to the general economic situation, the annual outcome will be negatively affected by lower growth in membership fees, an increased need for write-offs on debts from crisis areas, and defaulting payers.

Due to changes in accounting policies, eco Service GmbH closed the year 2022 with a slightly negative result after an overall successful year. DMA Deutsche Medien Akademie GmbH, a subsidiary of eco Service GmbH, was also successful in terms of business and content.