What are Scope 3 supply chain emissions?

What are Scope 3 supply chain emissions?

Scope 3 Emissions

What are emissions and why do we need to control them?

Burning fuels creates greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, which drift up to the stratosphere and trap heat within the Earth’s atmosphere. The more fossil fuel we burn the more heat is retained. The heat becomes an energy source that drives stronger and more extreme weather – climate change. Once produced, these emissions can take 300 to 1000 years to be removed from our atmosphere.[1]

What are Scope 3 emissions?

Scope 3 emissions can account for up to 80% of an organisation’s greenhouse gases. They are indirect emissions that, unlike Scope 1 and 2 emissions(hyperlink), focus on value chains and product portfolios to pinpoint risks and opportunities associated with GHG emissions.

Scope 3 emissions cover both upstream and downstream activities, and are divided into the following 15 sub categories:

  1. Purchased Goods and Services
  2. Capital Goods
  3. Fuel and Energy-related Activities Not Included in Scope 1 or Scope 2
  4. Upstream Transportation and Distribution
  5. Waste Generated in Operations
  6. Business Travel
  7. Employee Commuting
  8. Upstream Leased Assets
  9. Downstream Transportation and Distribution
  10. Processing of Sold Products
  11. Use of Sold Products
  12. End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products
  13. Downstream Leased Assets
  14. Franchises
  15. Investments

These sub-categories are mutually exclusive, offering a systematic framework to measure, manage and reduce emissions across a corporate value chain. Organisations should undertake a relevance assessment to identify what sub categories the organisation can confidently assess and emission hotspots are identified using high level estimation.  This includes working from home emissions that involves estimating energy consumption involving heating, cooling, lighting and office equipment where guidance is given by CIBSE and OFGEM.

Common Issues of Scope 3 Emissions

  • Difficult to compare between organizations due to varied quality of data collection
  • Not all suppliers will be aware of their scope 3 emissions

How can we reduce Scope 3 Emissions?

The first stage is to produce a full carbon footprint that includes scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions (hyper link). Once complete, setting science-based targets ensures that greenhouse gas emissions are aligned with climate science and gives clients and other stakeholders certainly.

[1] https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2915/the-atmosphere-getting-a-handle-on-carbon-dioxide/

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