Introduction to Sustainability Part 3

Published: 05th September 2023

In the previous newsletter we looked at the types of carbon emissions and how they affect the atmosphere. This time we’re going to look at the different ‘Scopes’ used in carbon emissions measurements. Scopes are used to categorise emissions from a business’s activities be it at their buildings, off-site or through travelling.

All emissions are placed into one of these three Scopes:

  1. Scope 1 – Emissions directly controlled by the company, this is the fuel combustion.
  2. Scope 2 – Emissions partly controlled by the company, e.g. electricity
  3. Scope 3 – Everything else outside Scopes 1 and 2 and is within the value chain of the company.

Scopes are used within the calculation process to ascertain the overall emissions of the company. To achieve Carbon Neutrality through the PAS 2060 accreditation process the company Scopes 1, 2 and 95% of Scope 3 are considered however to achieve Net Zero Carbon under the Science Based Target (SBTi) initiative then all emissions in all 3 Scopes are considered. Each of these accreditations then allow different amounts of Carbon Offsetting, the details of each are available at these links

PAS 2060 – https://www.nqa.com/getmedia/b4c2bb85-f725-4ed3-9045-be61aac4428f/NQA-PAS-2060-Implementation-Guide.pdf

SBTi – https://sciencebasedtargets.org/

Examples of Scope 1 emissions are:

Natural gas – used for heating and hot water boilers.

Refrigerant gases – used in air conditioning systems, fridges and freezers.

Diesel, petrol, LPG – used in vehicles, fork lift trucks and some heating systems.

Propane – used in heating systems and industrial processes.

Examples of Scope 2 emissions are:

Electricity – used to power lights, computers and equipment.

District heating – used to provide a source of heat in some buildings.

Examples of Scope 3 emissions are:

Business travel – whether buy car, bus, train or plane and included in making deliveries.

Staff commuting – passenger vehicles, buses and trains.

Water consumption – whether for consumption or in industrial processes

Paper – including cardboard and packaging

Scope 3 can be sub-divided into Upstream and Downstream indicating whether the emissions are created during the creation of the product or after the prouct is sold (during its usage). The company can have little or greater control over the Upstream and Downstream emissions. A great way to think about the emissions created in each Scope is to consider the four P’s:

  1. Premises
  2. People
  3. Processes
  4. Products

If you have considered each of these in each Scope you will have covered all of your emission sources. A Carbon Management Action Plan must cover all of the Scopes and will then show how the company aims to reduce their emissions in each one.

Credit: Al Dharmasasmita NTU