What are Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions?

Bringing you the latest news and insights on sustainability and the journey to Net Zero.

Gala Anania Published on Feb 09 2022

Are you interested in your company’s carbon footprint but are unsure what Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions are? If so, here is what you need to know.

  • Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions are different categories of greenhouse gas emissions. Essentially, they indicate which emissions a company generates directly, and which ones it generates indirectly through its value chain. Scopes 1, 2 and 3 are the terminology used by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which is a common emissions reporting standard.
  • Scope 1 emissions are directly generated by the company. For example, emissions from running the office boiler, burning diesel for the company’s fleet or leaks from the office refrigerator are considered Scope 1.
  • When a company buys electricity, greenhouse gases have already been emitted at the power plant to make that electricity.
  • Scope 3 are all the emissions that arise upstream and downstream of a company’s value chain as an indirect result of its activities. Let’s take the example of a baker. If she makes a scone, emissions are generated to produce milk and wheat, manufacture the oven, transport ingredients to the bakery, commute, and also when customers reheat her delicious scones. All these types of emissions, and more, fall under Scope 3.
  • Scope 1 and 2 emissions are the easiest for a company to control. Although Scope 2 emissions are not directly generated by the company, they can easily be reduced by switching to cleaner energy providers.
  • Companies have less control over their Scope 3 emissions, but because Scope 3 usually forms the bulk of emissions, this is also where companies can have the most impact.
  • Scope 1 and 2 reporting is mandatory for many companies, while Scope 3 reporting is usually voluntary.

Do you have any questions about Scope 1, 2 and 3 or how to measure your emissions? Drop us a line or try our quick carbon footprint calculator.

By Gala Anania, Climate Evangelist at myFootprint