Scope 1, Scope 2, Scope 3 : the ultimate guide
Building a sustainable landscape is a business imperative and should not be seen as just a component of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Companies must reduce their environmental impact. One of the most important ways to do this is to reduce their carbon footprint, and that starts with monitoring carbon emissions. What are Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3? In this blog post, we explain scopes 1, 2 and 3 (as defined by the GHG Protocol) and how elow can help companies become carbon neutral.
How do we define carbon emissions?
The leading GHG Protocol corporate standard defined this categorization, which is used in various methodologies such as the the ISO14064 standard and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Indeed, companies that succeed in declaring the three scopes will gain a sustainable competitive advantage and strengthen their brand image and, also, their corporate culture!
Scope 1 : direct emissions
Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from resources owned and controlled by the company. In other words, the emissions released into the atmosphere as a direct result of a set of activities at the enterprise level.
For example, if the manufacture of the product required the combustion of fuel, gas heating or the use of petroleum, or if the production of the merchandise caused CO2 or methane emissions, all these emissions are included in the scope 1.
Scope 2 : indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy
Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heat and cooling.
For most organizations, electricity will be the only source of Scope 2 emissions. In simple terms, the energy consumed can be broken down into two scopes: Scope 2 covers the electricity consumed by the end user. Scope 3 covers the energy used by utilities during transmission and distribution (T&D losses).
Scope 3 : all other indirect emissions
Read this paragraph carefully because Scope 3 emissions are the holy grail of emissions.
Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions of the company – not included in scope 2 – including upstream and downstream emissions. In other words, emissions that are related to the operations of the company. For example, emissions caused by purchases of services (administrative, digital, etc.) are included in scope 3.
Scope 3 is very broad by definition and generally represents the vast majority of emissions related to the activity of a company. Not taking Scope 3 into account means having a very incomplete view of your company’s carbon footprint. According to the GHG protocol, scope 3 emissions are separated into 16 categories.
- Energy-related emissions not included in categories 1 and 2
- Purchases of products and services
- Emissions from capital goods
- Waste generated in operations
- Upstream transportation and distribution
- Business trips
- Upstream leased assets
- Transportation of visitors and customers
- Transport of downstream goods
- Use of sold products
- End of life treatment of sold products
- Downstream deductible activities
- Downstream leased assets
- Transportations from home to work
- Other indirect emissions.
Why count emissions in CSR reporting
Organizations that commit to reporting their scopes 1, 2 and 3 can see a multitude of benefits, including:
- Improved transparency, customer confidence, brand image and reputation;
- Better understanding of exposure to risks related to resources, energy and climate change;
- Reduced energy and resource costs;
- Positive engagement with employees and consumers
Analyse and reduce your corporate carbon footprint with elow
With elow Carbon, you can easily understand and reduce your corporate carbon footprint! Indeed our application helps you to calculate, control and reduce the digital carbon footprint of your company. elow carbon is a Green IT solution, which allows you to understand the emissions generated by all your IT equipment, and to reduce them (scope 2). Also, elow carbon helps companies in the technology sector to reduce the carbon footprint during the use phase of the products they sell in different markets (scope 3).
Last but not least, thanks to our application you will be able to download monthly reports on your company’s digital carbon footprint, with a mapping of Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions, you will have a clear idea of your engagement towards digital sobriety and – as a result – carry out with simplicity your carbon footprint assessment!