Skip to main content

What Are Scope 3 Emissions and Why Enterprises Should Prioritize Reporting Them

from  April 4, 2024 | 3 min read

Sustainability and environmental consciousness are top of mind for many organizations. But these concepts are no longer just contributing to a brand’s reputation amongst competition. Businesses are now responsible for monitoring, reporting and accounting for their carbon emissions accurately. The most notable regulations are the forefront of this initiative are “Scope 3” emissions. Let’s delve into what Scope 3 emissions are, and why reporting carbon emissions is crucial for enterprises. 

What Are Scope Emissions?

Scope Emissions are broken into three segments, and they refer to the various categories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by an organization, as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.   

  1. Scope 1 Emissions: Direct emissions from sources that are controlled by the reporting entity.

    Common examples of these types of emissions are those from company-owned vehicles, on-site fuel combustion, and unintentional emissions like leaks from refrigeration equipment.
  2. Scope 2 Emissions: Indirect emissions from purchased energy generation.  

    Typical examples of these energies are purchased electricity, heat or steam that are used by the reporting entity.
  3. Scope 3 Emissions: Indirect emissions as a result of the behaviors of the reporting entity, but are not those directly owned or controlled by the reporter.

    Likely sources of these are emissions from business travel, employee commutes, and the upstream and downstream supply chain activities generated in the production of goods sold by the reporting company.

Reporting and why it matters:

  1. Transparency and Accountability: Reporting carbon emissions demonstrates transparency in the environmental impact of the reporter. This transparency encourages trust among stakeholders like investors, consumers, and regulators - a growing portion of which are prioritizing sustainable practices.
  2. Environmental Impact: Corporations are becoming more sensitive to their environmental impacts, and emissions are a core component of assessing those potential effects. Climate change, regulatory changes, resource scarcity, and physical impacts like extreme weather events are some examples of sustainability concerns most corporations are watching closely. Accounting for those carbon emissions both meets new regulatory compliance standards and helps develop strategies to mitigate risks, thereby safeguarding operations and investment.
  3. Cost Reduction and Efficiency: Emission tracking can provide key data on possible inefficiencies. By identifying high-emission processes, companies can implement strategies to reduce energy consumption and streamline operations, which will ultimately lower costs. Namely, investing in energy-efficient technologies both reduces emissions and, most importantly, reduces long-term utility costs.
  4. Competitive Advantage: Remaining competitive is a core driver to adopting environmentally conscious practices. A growing number of consumers are increasingly concerned about reducing their carbon footprints and are actively choosing to do business with organizations that share that mission. Publicly reporting emissions and reduction strategies communicates to consumers that corporations are making efforts to address these concerns and are aligned with their customer base. These actions can help enterprises maintain a competitive edge while attracting environmentally conscious buyers and boosting their brand reputation.
  5. Compliance and Regulation: Regulatory carbon emissions requirements are growing more stringent. Accurately reporting emissions demonstrates corporations’ compliance with existing standards and prepares them for increased future regulations. Failure to comply with emission regulations can result in legal penalties, reputational damage, and financial losses.
  6. Investor Relations: The ability to secure investors is a priority for many organizations and a primary driver for adopting compliance practices. Many major investors are consciously choosing to provide capital to corporations that comply with the growing ESG ( environmental, social, and governance) initiatives.  Companies disclosing their carbon emissions and outlining sustainability initiatives appeal to the investors who use those practices as a gauge for their investments’ long-term environmental impact and resilience to climate-related risks.
  7. Supply Chain Management:  Reporting Scope 3 emissions encourages companies to work collaboratively with suppliers. Together they can identify emission hotspots and implement sustainable practices throughout the supply chain. This approach fosters resilience and innovation, and strengthens long-term relationships with suppliers.

Key Takeaways

Accounting for carbon emissions goes beyond compliance and is now a strategic imperative for enterprises. Accurately measuring and disclosing emissions allows companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, in addition to reducing operational cost and mitigating risks. Collectively, these practices can help enterprises gain and maintain a competitive advantage in an increasingly environmentally conscious market. As the global community continues to address climate-related concerns, corporate transparency and accountability in carbon emissions will play a pivotal role in ensuring the long-term viability of businesses in a changing world.

Request Quick Call

Thank you. We will be in touch shortly.