FAQ: CO2 compensation
Carbon compensation expenses in connection with business trips undertaken by DFG funding recipients for DFG projects
Where can I find the compensation regulation for business trips undertaken by DFG funding recipients?
It can be found under the heading “Travel” in the relevant funding guidelines referred to in your letter of approval. Based on this regulation, compensation payments can be recognised for the purpose of DFG research funding.
Travel expenses are allocated to a specific instance of research funding. This research funding is assigned to a funding code, the DFG reference number (GZ) or a cost item number (AOBJ).
Check with your institution to see if they have already set up a central unit for acquiring certificates. If so, please ask at this unit how compensations are handled at your institution. Mention that the compensation payment for your business trip must be made in accordance with the specifications set out in the Funding Guidelines and must be allocated to the correct proof of use of DFG funding in accordance with the outflow principle.
Please note that in the context of budget-related project funding, compensation can only be made from the funds for a given calendar year if the compensation payments are actually made in that calendar year. If the compensation payments are not made until the following year, they must be shown in the proof of use submitted for the year in which the funds are actually used. There may therefore be a difference between the outflow of travel expenses (without compensation payment) and the compensation payment.
How do institutions have to document CO2 compensation and the relevant certificate purchases for DFG research funding?
All DFG research funds spent must be reported to the DFG in a so-called proof of use. The following must be reported separately as part of the proof of use:
- the total expenditure for acquired certificates for CO2 compensation in euros and
- the total CO2e compensation of these acquired certificates in tonnes (tonnage).
Is the compensation regulation contained in the Funding Guidelines relevant if I undertake a journey on the long-distance Deutsche Bahn rail network?
No. Since Deutsche Bahn uses 100% green power on its long-distance network, there are no CO2e emissions to compensate for and you can submit your travel expenses in the usual way. There is no further notification requirement.
Please ensure that carbon offsetting is transparently documented for the business trips concerned. If you receive your funding using the special accounts procedure, please provide appropriate supporting documents.
The certificates are not purchased. Offsetting in accordance with the CDM standard or a comparable standard is carried out by the funding recipient.
You can use a calculator supported by the Federal Environment Agency along with the options this provides. For example:
Additional report on the DFG’s electronic form
Why does the DFG need the additional notification of compensation costs (cost of the procurement of certificates)?
The DFG’s funding agencies require the DFG to report on the funds used to procure certificates. For this purpose, the DFG requires separate information from you regarding the proof of use for CO2 compensation. You will be informed of the exact query mechanism.
The funding guidelines stipulate that the actual use of the funds for the carbon offsetting of business trips must be proven separately for the past year when the proof of use is submitted. This means that only a limited amount of data is requested for the DFG’s statistics in addition to the proof of use. How does this work exactly?
On the DFG homepage there is a short link Interner Linkwww.dfg.de/co2-kompensation to an electronic form and a more detailed description. To comply with the reporting obligation, please only use the tool provided by the DFG under this link.
One of the pieces of information the electronic form requires you to enter is the annual outflow of funds for the purchase of carbon certificates. Please coordinate with the office of the institution that handles your DFG funding.
At the end of the data entry in the electronic questionnaire you can print or generate a pdf. You will find instructions on how to do this at the above link. Short link on the DFG homepage.
Is it also necessary to indicate in the electronic form the offset payments that were made when the tickets were purchased, due to the fact that the travel service provider previously took care of the offsetting itself?
No. These expenses are not to be reported in the additional electronic form.
Is it correct that I am to provide the information on a yearly basis even if I compile a proof of use on a two-yearly or half-yearly basis?
Yes, please note the explanations provided in the electronic form.
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Who can help me at the DFG if I have questions about how exactly to handle the accounting of certificate costs and the reporting obligation?
Please feel free to contact the DFG office responsible for the financial implementation of your funding.