Scope 3 emissions are those that are released by a third party outside of a company’s control. Although these emissions are outside of an organization’s control, they are often considered the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions from a business. They are hard to calculate because they are from the emissions an employee released driving his or her car to work or the gasses involved in waste management. With events such as these making up scope 3 emissions, determining totals might be challenging.
So, how do you calculate scope 3 emissions? Calculating scope 3 emissions accurately starts with obtaining the best possible primary data from tier-one customers and suppliers. Knowing which area of your supply chain emits the most carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases and then engaging those suppliers and customers responsible so that they are brought along on the journey to reduced emissions. According to Eduardo Gomez with EmitWise,
Calculating scope 3 emissions requires knowing the specifics of an organization’s third scope. For example, a company in one industry may have completely different emissions to consider than another. By understanding what to look for and how to obtain information from third parties, an organization can be more accurate in its scope 3 emissions calculations.
You know that the third scope of emissions has to do with the gases released by a third party in order for the organization to run smoothly. Look at a shoe store, for instance. A shoe store employs retail workers that must travel to and from work. They bring in loads of products from semi-trucks and might even ship products to customers. Shoe stores have paper receipts that must be recycled or thrown away, as well as boxes and plastic bags that require the same treatment. Customers also travel to the store and manufacturing might be via a third party.
The scope three emissions can be difficult to name, let alone calculate. Knowing these scope three emissions from a single shoe store should give you an idea of what to consider for other businesses. Listing each of the third scope possibilities for your own organization might be eye-opening. When you’ve listed them, how do you begin to calculate?
There are many ways companies might keep better track of their third scope. From annual reports to open conversations and even site visits, an organization can do better to get the best data possible. Looking at these ways in more depth can help to define clear calculations for your third scope emissions.
In the United States, it is not required for companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions in their annual reports. However, companies that are proud of their numbers or are making an effort to improve them tend to release that information willingly. Those that do not track the emissions are less likely to put any kind of information about green initiatives. For a company looking to calculate third scope emissions, third party annual reports might be something to look into. Of course, there are more direct routes.
Having an open and honest conversation is one of the best ways to get calculations from third parties. Reaching out to organizations in regards to calculating emissions can open a conversation about doing better. Not only can it help encourage accurate calculations, but an open conversation with a business partner can also help them to start calculating and improving.
A step further than simply talking to third party providers is visiting their facility. When an organization chooses to do business with another company it is always smart to do a site visit. See the way operations are handled, the way the facility looks, and other details that you might not get from a phone conversation. You may notice how seriously the prevention of greenhouse gas emissions is taken when it is seen in person.
By utilizing the various methods for getting information, how can an organization ensure the data is accurate? Inspiring third party companies to become passionate about reducing their emissions can be a huge help. Eduardo Gomez explains that even if an organization were to switch business allies to another company that is more willing to reduce emissions, the first company would still be adhering to the same practices.
The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the planet, not just for the numbers represented by the company. Even if the primary company were to reduce their own emissions, the original third party company would have no reason to change without encouragement. Rather than removing a business relationship from the picture, an organization can have greater impact if they were to get allies to accurately track and reduce their emissions. When the relationship has been developed to this degree, accuracy is more likely to be sure.
It is much easier to calculate the emissions from the first and second scope emissions. Why spend so much time and effort on the third scope? While the third scope emissions are, depending on the industry, often the largest source of greenhouse gases, tracking and reducing the other scopes can make an impact. However, to truly stop climate change, every scope matters. It isn’t about reducing the easy parts, but the hard ones too.
Third scope emissions can be massive, so making an attempt to lessen the emissions in every way possible is imperative in the movement against climate change. To reiterate, third scope emissions are difficult to calculate because they come from other people and companies. Calculating those emissions requires obtaining quality data from those third parties and working in conjunction with them to reduce the emissions they release. Working together is crucial to making a dent in the released emissions.
What is the Clean Air Act? In 1970, the act was passed and since then, the act has been amended. The act states that emissions should be prevented to promote clean air in an attempt to protect the ozone layer and encourage public health.
Has the Clean Air Act improved air quality since 1970? The EPA claims that six pollutants have been lowered since the start of the Clean Air Act. However, there is still a long way to go in stopping climate change.
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