What's the difference between scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions? By Charles Naud

In order for organisations to reach their net zero targets, a carbon strategy should be at the forefront of their minds. As part of that carbon strategy, it’s crucial that organisations, both SMEs and global corporates, are accurately measuring and managing their carbon emissions.

For organisations to be able to measure their carbon footprint, they need to be able to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions that they’re responsible for. To do this, organisations must collect their operational data and use official multipliers (known as conversion factors) to translate those into carbon emissions.

Organisations should, at minimum, cover their carbon scope 1 and 2 emissions, and also include their scope 3 emissions data where possible.

It can be confusing at first to keep track of which emissions belong to which scope, so allow us to help and explain:

  • Scope 1 emissions correspond to the direct emissions you have produced from owned and controlled sources. For example, if your organisation has a vehicle fleet, any diesel or petrol consumed by those vehicles generates emissions that come out of the exhaust pipes. Those are therefore emissions that the organisation is directly generating and responsible for.
  • Scope 2 emissions are defined as indirect emissions from the consumption of electricity, steam, heating and cooling.
  • Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions. This can range from the carbon embodied in the materials you purchase through to emissions associated with the processing of the waste you have generated. For most organisations, scope 3 emissions will be the largest contributor to their footprint.

Need a measurement tool for tracking your organisations’ carbon emissions? Register for a free Carbon Calculator account.

Need help developing a carbon strategy for your organisation? Get in touch!

For more information

Charles Naud
Head of Product
Charles.naud@actionsustainability.com

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