What is the meaning of the terms: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions used in Greenhouse Gas (or GHG) accounting and how they can be used within the GHG accounting within your organisation.
When accounting for your Greenhouse Gas emissions, it is not too long before you encounter the terms: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions.
This article looks at terms: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions used in Greenhouse Gas (or GHG) accounting and how they can be used within the GHG accounting within your organisation.
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol
One of the main documents that can be used for GHG accounting is The Greenhouse Gas Protocol – A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard published, jointly, by World Resources Institute & the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Within this document, the concept of Scope is used to help provide a distinction between direct and indirect emission sources, improve transparency, and provide clarity for different types of organizations and different types of climate policies and business goals.
Therefore, three “scopes” (scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3) are defined for GHG accounting and reporting purposes.
Scopes 1 and 2 are carefully defined in this standard to ensure that two or more companies will not account for emissions in the same scope. This makes the scopes compatible for use in GHG programs where double counting matters. As a minimum, organisations shall separately account for and report on scopes 1 and 2.
So, lets look at each Scope in turn:
Scope 1: Direct GHG emissions
Direct GHG emissions occur from sources that are owned or controlled by the company.
For example, emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, furnaces, vehicles.
Further examples are given, such as emissions from chemical production in owned or controlled process equipment.
Direct CO2 emissions from the combustion of biomass shall not be included in scope 1 but reported separately.
GHG emissions not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, e.g. CFCs, NOx, etc. shall not be included in scope 1 but may be reported separately.
Scope 2: Electricity indirect GHG emissions
Scope 2 accounts for GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the company.
Purchased electricity is defined as electricity that is purchased or otherwise brought into the organizational boundary of the company. Within this definition, the Scope 2 emissions physically occur at the facility where electricity is generated.
Scope 3: Other indirect GHG emissions
Scope 3 is an optional reporting category that allows for the treatment of all other indirect emissions. Scope 3 emissions are a consequence of the activities of the company but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company.
Some examples of scope 3 activities are extraction and production of purchased materials; transportation of purchased fuels; and use of sold products and services.
So, to summarise:
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol – A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provides the definitions of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, which can help to inform your Greenhouse Gas accounting within your organisation.
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