Carbon Footprinting for Sensible Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Toward Net Zero


As the voice of the greater Volkswagen (VW) Group, the VW communications department plays a special role in helping to achieve a net-zero emissions target.

The VW communications department commissioned Sphera to calculate its carbon footprint to:

  • identify emissions reduction actions for its own activities
  • inspire the communication departments of the other VW brands
  • play its part in decarbonizing the entire VW group

In this process VW communications needed to determine sensible boundaries for the departmental carbon footprint. The challenge is to grasp all emissions that are directly or indirectly caused by the VW communication department’s activities.


Founded in: 1937


German multinational automotive manufacturing company


Wolfsburg, Germany (HQ)

Volkswagen’s Challenges

Unknown frameworks for emissions

calculation and allocation methods for single department

Actual activities that cause emissions

are difficult to distinguish from the VW group

Unknown emission

hot spot and levers for reductions

Consideration of a diverse set

of activities that require different emissions calculation methods


Sphera’s Sustainability Consulting

Sphera’s extensive expertise in the automotive sector and its expertise in methodologies for greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting, the calculation of corporate carbon footprints and access to the product sustainability database (GaBi) made Sphera the perfect fit.

“Despite the complexity of everything we do, Sphera’s consultants helped us manage our emissions holistically, identifying hotspots and building a strategic basis for achieving our goal of zero emissions.”

Robin Aschhoff, CEO Volkswagen Communication, Volkswagen AG


In collaboration with the various communications department divisions, Sphera’s sustainability consultants compiled all emission-relevant activities and made sensible assumptions using best practice approaches. The carbon footprint was calculated in accordance with the GHG Protocol standard by applying primary emission factors from Sphera’s Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) database, emission factors from economic input-output databases and third-party emission factor databases. Following the calculation, Sphera identified emission hotspots and assessed relevant areas for emissions, helping the VW communication department target relevant areas for reducing emissions.


Collected all emission–relevant activity data


Transparently selected methods


Calculated carbon footprint


Identified hotspots

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