Frequently Asked Questions

General technical terms – Legend

How does DSV measure CO2?
What does CO2e stand for and what is it? 
What exactly are greenhouse gasses - GHG? 
What is tank-to-wheel mean? 
What is well-to-wheel? 
What is Transport work (tonne-km)? 
What is transport emission efficiency? 
What is meant by direct emissions? 
What is meant by indirect emissions? 
What is the difference between direct and indirect CO2 emissions?
What exactly does energy consumption measure? 


How does DSV measure CO2?

The CO2 calculation figures displayed in DSV’s track & trace systems is in kg, disclosed as CO2 equivalent (CO2e) as a tank-to wheel assessment. 


Carbon dioxide equivalency is a unit for comparing the effect of a greenhouse gas (GHG) compared to carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide equivalency is calculated using the mass of a given GHG multiplied by its global warming potential (GWP).

In more words carbon dioxide equivalency is a quantity that describes the amount of CO2 that would have the same GWP as the GHG, when measured over a specified timescale (generally, 100 years).

For example, the GWP for methane over 100 years is 25 and for nitrous oxide 298. This means that emission of 1 metric tonne of methane and nitrous oxide respectively is equivalent to emission of 25 and 298 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.


Greenhouse gas - GHG

Gaseous constituent of the atmosphere, both natural and man-made, that absorbs and emits infrared (heat) radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere, and clouds. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gasses in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (MH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and ozone (O3).


CO2e emissions resulting from operation of the vehicle itself. This is the effect of using the fuel while driving, compared to the total emission due to both fuel production and processing (Well-to-wheel). It is sometimes called the "downstream" stage.


CO2e emissions resulting from operation of the vehicle and the production, processing and delivery of the fuel itself. The well-to-wheel analysis is commonly used to assess total energy consumption in a transport process. It is sometimes called the "upstream" stage.


Transport work (tonne-km)

Transport work (tonne-km) describes the amount of cargo and transport distance. As an example; if 10 tonnes of cargo are transported 25 km the transport activity is (10 tonnes x 25 km) 250 tonne-km. This figure is used to calculate the Transport emission efficiency and other key figures.

Transport emission efficiency

This is one of the most important figures to keep track of when it comes to transport emissions, since it shows efficiency of your transports. If you can improve your transport emission efficiency, you are transporting greener, even while you are expanding your business and transporting more goods.

Transport emission efficiency shows how much CO2e your transports generate each time you transport 1 tonne or 1 TEU of goods 1 km. As an example; if you transport 250 tonne-km (e.i. 10 tonnes moved 25 km) resulting in 25 kg CO2e emissions, your efficiency is 100g per tonne-km transport work.

Transport emission efficiency shows how much CO2e your transports generate each time you transport 1 tonne or 1 TEU of goods 1 km. As an example; if you transport 250 tonne-km (e.i. 10 tonnes moved 25 km) resulting in 25 kg CO2e emissions, your efficiency is 100g per tonne-km transport work.


Direct emissions

Emissions caused by sources controlled and owned by the company (see indirect emissions and scoping CO2e emissions).

Indirect emissions

Emissions that are caused as a consequence of a company’s activity but are emitted by sources not owned by the company; commonly by third party vendors.

Scoping CO2 emissions

The GHG (Green House Gas) Protocol ( divides CO2e emissions in direct (by company itself) and indirect emissions (by sources not owned by company).

The GHG Protocol divides CO2 emissions further into three scopes:

  • Scope 1 includes all direct GHG emissions from sources owned by a company. Emissions related to the burning of fossil fuels at production sites and transport vehicles owned or leased by the company are scope 1.
  • Scope 2 covers the indirect emission of GHG from energy purchases. Energy consumption (in example: electricity and heating) numbers are then converted to GHG emissions using an agreed-upon conversion factor that will vary by location around the world.
  • Scope 3 covers all other indirect GHG emissions that are not mentioned in Scope 2 and is considered an optional reporting category, though it can be a major component of overall GHG emissions for some industries. DSV transports fall in Scope 3. Scope 3 emissions include subcontractors, transport of goods, waste treatment, transportation used by company employees, the extraction and production of purchased inputs other than electricity, and the emissions due to the use of produced goods. This can be important for such companies as automobile manufacturers, whose footprint may be largely impacted by the efficiency of their automobiles. Scope 3 emissions (also known as value chain emissions) often represent the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and in some cases can account for up to 90% of the total carbon impact. Emissions caused by transport are only a small part of Scope 3.

Scope 1 and 2 emissions are frequently added together to give an idea of a company's total greenhouse gas footprint. This is usually a good starting point for comparison between companies in similar industries and of similar size, as it accounts for the company's energy intensity (in the form of Scope 2 emissions) and direct GHG impact (in Scope 1 emissions). While not a perfect measure, it is ideal for comparison due to the standards set forth by the GHG Protocol. While scope 3 is optional, it can still offer valuable insight and potential for improvement and savings in various areas.


Energy consumption

The amount of energy spent on a transport, usually measured in MJ (million joules). This figure is directly related to CO2e emissions when the source of the energy is taken into account. As an example, transporting by electrified rail is normally considered a CO2-neutral transport form since the emission tank-to-wheel is 0. With normal diesel powered rail, the emissions increase as the transport work increases.


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