VDR standard methodology

The VDR standard for the CO2 calculation of corporate travel is a standardised method of determining CO2 emissions created by business travel worldwide. Although previous approaches made it possible to summarise the CO2 emissions created by business travel, none of these took the specific characteristics of business trips into account. For this reason, these approaches have several disadvantages:

  • Incompleteness: A few sectors in the business travel industry are not accounted for in a systematic way, and some are not considered at all. The UIC (International Union of Railways) may be an important expert on railway emissions in Europe, but when it comes to rail travel in South America, for example, the CO2 emissions might not be summarised whatsoever.
  • Lack of specificity: As an example, there is no method that calculates hotel emissions specifically. Although there are methods for calculating CO2 emissions caused by buildings, factors such as to what degree room category or differences among hotel operators flow into the calculation are not specified.
  • Lack of delineation: The existing methods can be used on individual aspects of business travel such as CO2 emissions caused by cars or buildings. However, there is no method that consistently delineates the individual activities of a business trip. For example, it is unclear whether the CO2 emissions indirectly caused by a hotel's electricity use must be included in business travel or if the energy that an event's caterer uses is counted towards the total emissions or not.
  • Lack of precision: The existing approaches are so unclear that it is impossible to formulate recommendations based on the generated data. For example, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol only uses the terms "short," "middle" and "long" to describe flight length instead of using the actual flight length in kilometres. The discrepancy between reality and the calculation can be of up to a factor of two.
  • Applicability: Although promising a pre-specified level of accuracy, the VDR standard manages on travel data that travel agencies or credit card companies normally provide. Using special databanks and the VDR methodology, it is possible to use these data to make CO2 comparisons such as CO2 per stay by destination country, quality of hotel and room category.
The VDR standard is based upon the existing approaches of ICAO, DEFRA and IPCC among others.
CO2–Calculation Business Travel: VDR-Standard Part I - Methods


The VDR Standard allows users to calculate the CO2 emissions of their business trip activities.