Understanding Scope 3 Emissions

by Global Trash Solutions

Scope 3 emissions are an important component of a company’s total greenhouse gas emissions. For businesses looking to implement truly sustainable solutions, managing these emissions is essential. Fortunately, they have an ally in Global Trash Solutions (GTS), a nationally recognized company that helps businesses reduce their emissions through comprehensive sustainability services.

Before we discuss GTS’ services, it’s important to understand the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and how it relates to carbon emissions.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol

Scopes of city emissions with carbon sources calculation outline concept.

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol is a globally recognized framework for the categorization and management of greenhouse gas emissions. GHG emissions fall into three categories, or scopes:

  • Scope 1 – Direct emissions from the company’s owned and/or controlled sources.
  • Scope 2 – Indirect emissions from the company’s purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling.
  • Scope 3 – All other indirect emissions found in the value chain of the company.

Note that a particular type of emission can be classified in only one scope.

The GHG Protocol’s Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard provides detailed guidelines for companies to identify, calculate, and report their Scope 3 emissions. This standard is essential for businesses looking to minimize their impact on climate change.

Scope 3 Emissions Explained

As we have seen, Scope 3 emissions include all the indirect emissions that can be found in the value chain (upstream and downstream). These emissions are divided into 15 categories, covering a wide range of activities:

  1. Purchased Goods and Services – From the production of goods and services purchased by the company.
  2. Capital Goods – From the production of capital goods.
  3. Fuel- and Energy-Related Activities – From the production of fuels and energy purchased by the company.
  4. Upstream Transportation and Distribution – From the transportation and distribution of goods purchased by the company.
  5. Waste Generated in Operations – From waste management of the company’s operations.
  6. Business Travel – From business-related travel by employees.
  7. Employee Commuting – From employees commuting to and from work.
  8. Upstream Leased Assets – From leased assets not included in Scope 1 or 2.
  9. Downstream Transportation and Distribution – From the transportation and distribution of products sold by the company.
  10. Processing of Sold Products – From the processing of sold products by third parties.
  11. Use of Sold Products – From the use of products sold by the company.
  12. End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products – From the disposal of products sold by the company.
  13. Downstream Leased Assets – From leased assets not included in Scope 1 or 2.
  14. Franchises – From franchise operations.
  15. Investments – From investments made by the company.

Because these categories encompass a broad spectrum of activities, Scope 3 emissions can be difficult to measure and manage in a comprehensive way. However, getting a handle on these kinds of emissions is vital for accurately identifying reduction opportunities and achieving significant emission reductions.

Benefits of Tracking Your Scope 3 Emissions

Businessman use laptop with ISO 14001 certified for environmental management systems (EMS).

Tracking Scope 3 emissions provides numerous benefits for businesses, including:

  • Identifying Emission Hotspots – Understanding where the largest emissions occur in your value chain helps with designing effective reduction efforts.
  • Enhancing Supply Chain Management – By working with suppliers and partners, companies can improve the overall sustainability of their supply chains.
  • Meeting Regulatory Requirements – Tracking emissions ensures compliance with local and international regulations.
  • Achieving Reduction Targets – Data collection and analysis enable businesses to set and achieve realistic emission reduction targets.
  • Improving Reputation – Demonstrating a commitment to sustainable solutions can enhance brand image and customer loyalty.

How to Measure Your Scope 3 Emissions

Measuring Scope 3 emissions is a multi-pronged strategy that requires companies to:

  • Engage Stakeholders – Collaborate with suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders to gather necessary data.
  • Conduct Waste Audits – Analyze waste streams to understand the emissions associated with waste generation and management.
  • Utilize Lifecycle Assessments – Assess the environmental impact of products and services throughout their lifecycle.
  • Implement Data Collection Tools – Use digital tools and platforms to collect and analyze emission data efficiently.
  • Identify Key Categories – Focus on the emissions categories most relevant to your business operations.
  • Set Reduction Targets – Establish clear and achievable targets for reducing emissions.
  • Monitor and Report Progress – Regularly track and report on progress towards emission reduction

Contact GTS Today

Global Trash Solutions offers expert sustainability services that can help businesses sharply reduce their Scope 3 emissions. These services include waste audits, data collection, and the implementation of effective waste management strategies. By partnering with GTS, businesses can achieve their reduction targets and enhance their sustainability processes.

Contact GTS today to learn more about how we can help you manage and reduce your Scope 3 emissions.

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