The path toward global reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relies on strict governance and firm policies. The GHG Protocol defines harmful emissions on three levels, Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. Not only do these categorisation standards ensure measurable and recordable data, but it also enables significant enhancements in corporate responsibility.
Why are Greenhouse Gas Emissions Categorised?
King Charles III – Great Britain
In response to these requirements, the GHG Protocol implemented Scope 1, 2 and 3.
The GHG Protocol
The early seeds of GHG reporting were sown in 1998 when the WRI published the groundbreaking report "Safe Climate, Sound Business”. Three years later, following consultation with numerous environmental groups (including WWF, The Pew Center on Climate Change, and The Energy Research Institute) as well as industry representatives (including BP, General Motors, Norsk Hydro, Tokyo Electric, and Shell), the 2001 corporate guidance report was released.
Flash forward to 2015, and the initial documentation received an overhaul supporting the Paris Agreement. The backbone of the GHG Protocol now includes Scope 1, 2 and 3, with guidance and tools available to assist companies in calculating GHG emissions and supporting climate change mitigation policies.
What is Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3?
The GHG Protocol defines three scopes of GHG emissions. Each scope represents the ownership and level of control for that stage of emissions.
What is the Difference Between Scope 1 and 2 Emissions?
Scope 1 Emissions
- Onsite fossil fuel energy
- Controlled combustion (boilers and furnaces)
- Fleet vehicles
- Industrial processes and onsite manufacturing
Scope 2 Emissions
- Electricity supplied from the grid
- Steam, heat, or cooling as provided via external sources.
What is Included in Scope 3 Emissions?
Examples of Scope 3 Emissions
- Transportation and distribution
- Purchased goods and services
- Business travel
- Employee commuting
- Use of sold products
- End of life of sold products
- Leased assets
How are Scope 1, 2 and 3 Beneficial to Companies?
Michael E. Porter and Forest L. Reinhardt
Understanding a company's GHG footprint is the first step towards implementing achievable reduction and mitigation targets, as well as designing and delivering effective solutions. Scope 1, 2, 3 reporting provides crucial information that enables sustainability coordinators a clear road towards alignment with The Paris Agreement protocols.
Without the thorough and concise analysis that Scope 1, 2, 3 provides, companies can't obtain a genuine perspective of their GHG emission levels. Detailed analysis and reporting offer forward-thinking executives the opportunity to make the necessary changes and open relevant communication streams.
Tim Cook – CEO of Apple
Scope 3, Problems and Solutions
Tom Cumberlege- Associate Director: Carbon Trust
The progression of Scope 3 emissions toward net-zero will require significant changes to businesses and their associated value chains. More agile competitors will undoubtedly replace businesses that fail to embrace the strategies related to Scope 3. All companies must place the values of Scope 3 at their very core.
Scope 1, 2, 3 emissions are categories developed within the GHG Protocol following the historic 2015 Paris Agreement. They refer to direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with a company. For companies adhering to the GHG Protocol Scope 1 and 2 emissions are currently mandatory for reporting, while Scope 3 reporting remains voluntary.
Scope 1, 2 and 3 emission reporting plays a crucial role in global decarbonisation strategies, while particular focus must be placed on the encouragement of mass adherence to Scope 3 protocols.