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A Guide to Scope 1,2,3 Emissions

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#Corporate Social Responsibility #emissions #scope #terminology


Doug Fogelson

How we measure emissions is a big key in learning how we reduce them. Brilliant people at work on these matters have come up with a structure to assess greenhouse gas emissions by categorizing them into three “scope” levels.

Scope 1 are “direct” emissions from things you own and operate (or that buildings or companies control) such as the gas burned in a car or used for heating, electricity to run things, and the like.

Scope 2 are “indirect” emissions caused by creating that energy or other resource such as electricity, heat/cooling, and agriculture.

Scope 3 are all of the other indirect “up” and “downstream” emissions that come from the entire value chain of producing and delivering goods and services (the total carbon footprint). It is Scope 3 that can be illusive and bleed into many different categories (15 of them!) that need to be known and considered deeply as they often add up to a much larger factor than Scope 1 or 2.

The action link below is a guide to reducing Scope 3 emissions and the definition link provides a deeper look at the Scope 1,2, and 3 categories overall.

  • Action
  • Definition