What are Scope Emissions?

Has your company started on the Journey to Net Zero yet?

There are so many ways any businesses can reduce their Carbon Footprint but they all have to start from one point – that’s measuring and recording what the actual energy consumption and waste produced from the business actually is. Without having the data, it is simply a guessing game on how to reduce the Carbon Footprint of any business.

The GC Business Growth Hub, Manchester, is the organisation who trained me on scope emissions reporting and The Journey to Net Zero, amongst other disciplines, so I can now help individuals and businesses embark on their own Journey to Net Zero, to save money on their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint!

Before you can start your journey to net zero, it is important to understand where you are starting from. This guide explains all you need to know about carbon footprinting and how to measure this in your business.

Companies of all sizes from around the world are committing to net zero emissions – but you can’t set a target without measuring your carbon footprint first.

No matter what sector you operate in, the need to understand your carbon footprint is now a mainstay of business operations. Energy intensive and large firms across the UK are required to report on their carbon emissions, and increasing procurement processes, including those with the UK Government, require respondents to share their carbon reduction plans as part of the tendering process. As such, carbon footprinting – the process of measuring your businesses environmental impact – deserves time and attention in your business planning.

On a more practical level, measuring your carbon footprint provides many direct benefits including cost reduction, competitive advantage and company image, but you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and by collecting the data you’ll need for a carbon footprint you’ll be able to identify and prioritise where you can make the biggest improvements to the way you use energy, fuel and other resources.

What is a carbon footprint?

Put simply, it’s a measure of your contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. There are generally two types – organisational carbon footprints and product carbon footprints. This blog focuses on the former.

Although it is commonly referred to as a carbon footprint, best practice includes all the greenhouse gas emissions you emit over a 12-month period and gives you a total figure expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). There are six key greenhouse gases emitted by human activities that contribute to global warming, but to make things easier we measure everything in relation to CO2 because it’s the most common.

There are many possible sources of greenhouse gas emissions from a business. To make managing them easier, we split them into three ‘scopes’.

What are scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 emissions?

Scope 1:

These are the emissions from sources you own and control and are therefore directly responsible for. For most businesses, this will be any gas heating or fuel oil you burn on-site, and the fuel you use in your company vehicles. If you use industrial refrigeration or air conditioning, refrigerant losses would also be included here, along with any emissions that may be released directly during a manufacturing process.

Scope 2:

These are the emissions you indirectly produce through the energy you purchase, which for most businesses electricity, electricity used for electric vehicles and purchased heat and steam. By using electricity, you are indirectly responsible for the greenhouse gases generated at source by the energy producer.

Scope 3:

There are 15 categories of emission sources that you are indirectly responsible for from sources outside your direct control which are considered scope 3 emissions. Examples of these include the goods and services you purchase, the distribution and use of your own goods and services by customers, the disposal of your waste, employee commuting or business travel, and so on.

Data x Emissions Factor = Greenhouse gas emissions

A step-by-step guide to carbon footprinting

The UK emissions factors are publicly available and as such, these can be used as one of many tools available online that can be used to collate the data. Choose the emission factors for the year the majority of your data falls in. e.g., if your reporting year is April 2022 – March 2023 – use 2022 emission factors.

There are also formal routes to verify your carbon footprint to a recognised standard, such as ISO 14064 – Carbon Assessment Verification or the Carbon Trust Route to Net Zero Standard, to name just two. However, if you’re just starting out on your Journey to Net Zero, with the right data to hand you can have your Carbon Footprint and Scope 1, 2 & 3 Emissions collated and achieve a good internal benchmark for future improvement. This is where I come in.

I can help…..

NetZeroCarbon is here to help businesses start on their carbon reduction and Journey to Net Zero.

I can help your business to identify the most effective efficiency measures, provide advice and support on data collection, and guide you through your carbon footprint calculation and starting on Journey to Net Zero.

Does your business have an Energy Reduction Plan or an Environmental Policy? 

Has your business started on the Journey to Net Zero?

If not – get in touch now to find out how you can start on your Journey to Net Zero today.