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Direct and indirect emissions: Mapping of SCOPES 1, 2 and 3 according to the GHG Protocol

scope diagram

Doing a carbon inventory gives an account of the carbon footprint of an organization. It allows for the quantification of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions directly or indirectly generated by an organization.

Scope 1

Scope 1 includes all emissions generated directly by the company and its activities: factories, facilities, warehouses, offices, vehicle fleets owned by the company itself.

Scope 2

Scope 2 covers all emissions associated with the company’s consumption of electricity, heat or steam in its facilities or vehicle fleets. These are referred to as indirect emissions associated with energy (GHG emissions occur at the producer and distributor of the electricity, heat or steam).

Emissions from scopes 1 and 2 are already often monitored and reduction targets are often set, as they are directly chargeable to the company, and are easy to track because they can be directly measured from its various energy consumption headings.

Company performance is often highly optimised, so gains on Scopes 1 and 2 are increasingly difficult to obtain.

Scope 3

Scope 3 corresponds to all other indirect emissions taking place upstream or downstream in the company’s value chain.

Even if they are not directly generated by the organisation, it is easy to understand that they are no less necessary for its activity.

They are often poorly optimised and therefore offer a reduction potential that is often easy to obtain, hence the importance of analysing and measuring them precisely. Their measurement is not always easy, the priority apparently being to focus on the major emissions headings, which are the large Tier 1 suppliers, and those associated with upstream and downstream transport.

It should also be noted that Scope 3 is a very significant heading, generally much higher than Scopes 1 and 2.

Generally speaking, the most significant Scope 3 headings for manufacturing companies are the following:

  • Emissions from its direct suppliers, and throughout the value chain of its products
  • Emissions related to upstream transport, and those related to downstream transport and distribution
  • Finally, one item that can be very significant in certain sectors (such as the automotive industry) is the emissions related to the use of the product throughout its lifecycle. However, this heading is of a different nature from the others, it goes without saying that, in general, the energy efficiency of a product is directly linked to the quality and design of the product.

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