What are Scope 1, 2, & 3 emisions?

Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions are categories used to classify and account for greenhouse gas emissions associated with an organization’s activities. These categories are defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a widely accepted international accounting standard for greenhouse gas emissions. The three scopes help organizations categorize and manage emissions in a comprehensive way.

Scope 1 Emissions:

    • Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse gas emissions that result from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting entity. These emissions typically include:
      • Combustion of fossil fuels by the organization (e.g., emissions from on-site natural gas boilers or company-owned vehicles).
      • Emissions from chemical processes that occur on-site.
      • Fugitive emissions, such as leaks of refrigerants or other greenhouse gases.

Scope 2 Emissions:

    • Scope 2 emissions are indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with the generation of electricity, heat, or steam purchased or consumed by the reporting organization. These emissions are produced off-site but are linked to the organization’s activities. Scope 2 emissions are often categorized into two distinct categories:
      • Scope 2, Location-Based: These emissions are based on the average emissions intensity of the electricity grid where the organization is located.
      • Scope 2, Market-Based: These emissions are based on the specific emissions associated with the electricity sources the organization has purchased, including renewable energy certificates (RECs) or power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Scope 3 Emissions:

    • Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect greenhouse gas emissions that occur as a result of the organization’s activities, but are not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2. These emissions are typically the most extensive and complex to account for, as they encompass the entire value chain of the organization, including upstream and downstream emissions. Scope 3 emissions may include:
      • Emissions from the extraction and production of raw materials.
      • Emissions from the transportation and distribution of products.
      • Emissions from the use of products by customers.
      • Emissions from business travel and employee commuting.
      • Other indirect emissions associated with the organization’s supply chain and product life cycle.

Many organizations are increasingly focusing on Scope 3 emissions because they often represent a significant portion of an organization’s overall carbon footprint and offer opportunities for emissions reduction. To effectively address climate change and sustainability, it’s important for organizations to account for and mitigate emissions across all three scopes.

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Nick Houseman
+1 514 449-0877
1375 Trans Canada, Suite 601
Dorval, QC
H9P 2W8
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