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Scope 3 Emissions Explained


Scope 3 emissions are by far the largest contributor to climate change. Alarmingly, it can account for more than 70% of a business’ emissions.

Where Scope 1 addresses direct emissions and Scope 2 refers to the indirect emissions – from the purchase of energy – Scope 3 is the indirect emissions that occur in a business’ value chain. 

The diagram above lists all 15 areas included in Scope 3. Upstream activities include those generated by a supplier’s distribution activities, and the production of raw materials or components. Downstream activities cover the emissions from the use or disposal of the end product.

While a business can make great achievements by eradicating Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, for many, the majority of their emissions and cost reduction opportunities sit within Scope 3. 

By measuring Scope 3 emissions, a business can:

  • Assess where the emission hotspots are in the supply chain
  • Identify resource and energy risks in the supply chain
  • Improve the energy efficiency of products
  • Anticipate products becoming obsolete and develop more sustainable advancements
  • Opens up your business to apply for tenders for organisations with net zero targets
  • Identify which suppliers are sustainability leaders and which are laggards
  • Identify energy efficiency and cost reduction opportunities in the supply chain
  • Engage suppliers and assist them to implement sustainability initiatives
  • Engage with employees to understand and reduce emissions related to various activities
  • Enables your business to demonstrate product stewardship and work toward Environmental Product Declaration and other “ecolabels”

If you missed the EnergyIntel on Scope 1 and 2 emissions click here.  

Discover how your business can work towards carbon net zero, get in touch with one of our experts today.

  • Author: Antonia Cheng, Energy Analyst

  • Creative: Robyn Miller, Marketing Manager

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