What are Carbon Emission Scopes 1,2,3?

Written by
February 22, 2024
5 min read

What are Carbon Emission Scopes 1,2,3? 

In the effort to combat climate change it is essential that greenhouse gasses are efficiently measured and tracked. These greenhouse emissions are put into 3 categories; Scope 1,2 and 3. It allows a business to categorise its different kinds of carbon emissions it generates within its own operations and within its wider value chain. 

But it’s confusing and can feel complicated, so at SKOOT we want to try and make it as simple as possible. 

Scopes 1 and 2 are mandatory to report for companies with over 250 employees and an annual turnover of more than 36 million,  whereas scope 3 is voluntary and the hardest to calculate. 

What exactly are Scope 1,2 and 3 Categories? 

Scope 1

This is the direct GHG emissions that a company makes from operations that are owned or controlled by the company itself, such as a company’s fleet of vehicles used by the company.

Scope 2

These are the emissions made indirectly in the running of the company, such as heating, lighting or cooling an office, or factory.  

Scope 3

This is the big one, it relates to the indirect emissions generated by the business. For most businesses Scope 3 accounts for more than 70% of their carbon and that is why it is crucial it is calculated and can then be dealt with. 

The diagram below on the different scopes really helps. 

You also need to think about the emissions coming from two different but key areas upstream and downstream.

Upstream emissions - Any emissions you are producing from your goods

  1. Goods/ services you purchase 
  2. Capital goods use to make your product (buildings, machinery, tools etc) 
  3. How materials are transported and distributed to your manufacturing facility
  4.  Waste generated in day-to-day operations 
  5. Business travel 
  6. Employee commuting
  7. Leased assets 

Downstream emissions - from activities used to consume your product

  1. Transport & Distribution - How you get your product to your customers 
  2. Processing of sold products 
  3. Use of sold products 
  4. Disposal or recycling of sold products 
  5. Franchises 
  6. Investments 

Guidance for calculating scope of emissions can by found here at the GHGprotocol 

Why should businesses care about Scope 1,2,3? 

Due to the climate crisis our planet is in, businesses are focusing more and more on environmental goals and becoming more sustainable, essentially trying to reach net zero. 

Identifying and reducing scope 3 emissions in particular, can also bring about substantial business benefits, for example it can improve efficiency and provide cost reduction opportunities within the supply chain. It allows businesses to protect themselves from the risks that appear with the emerging carbon restrictions from both the government and regulatory agencies.  

How SKOOT can help businesses today?

A lot of people feel overwhelmed and confused. Particularly service businesses, such as accountants, lawyers, estate agents, marketing and PR agencies, who don’t manufacture goods, so historically haven’t needed sustainability experts. 

With this in mind, SKOOT can help you identify your scope emissions through its carbon calculator, which can identify your carbon footprint. Once you understand your footprint there are three things you can do, avoid, reduce or remove. 

For example, to avoid scope 3 emissions you could encourage your staff to stop flying to meetings, or switch all staff meetings to vegetarian, or work remotely. 

An admission that you can easily control or reduce is how you commute to work. It can be reduced by traveling in a different way, such as by bike or tube instead of by car. Or emissions can be reduced by carpooling which can be done easily with the SKOOT app. 

Whatever emissions are left over after avoiding and reducing, you have to offset. 

Carbon offsetting, is not greenwashing. Carbon offsetting is removing the balance left after examining how you can reduce and avoid your carbon footprint. It will be virtually impossible for any business not to have to offset a level of their business, particularly if you are a service provider. Your biggest carbon footprint will be from the day to day running of your business not from any production. 

Everyone has to do their little bit to help get to net zero. 

SKOOT makes it easy to do this, you can offset your carbon in the SKOOT shop. You can buy and plant your own mangrove trees in the SKOOT forest, every mangrove removes 5.9kg of carbon in its first year of life and over 750kg in its life. 

SKOOT makes it simple to identify, and then reduce, avoid, and remove your Scope 1,2,3 emissions.  

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Written by
February 22, 2024
5 min read