The Scope of Sustainability

The rising awareness of carbon emissions and the rising decarbonising regulation is helping the scope of sustainability rise to the top of the business agenda. However, organisations eager to play their part in decarbonisation are feeling overwhelmed. They are struggling to get their business heads around decarbonisation burying their head in the sand. Is your organisation lagging behind? A good place to start is by first exploring the world of greenhouse gas emissions.  Let’s get you started by discussing the three different categories of emissions: Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3. 

Scope 1 and Scope 2 are relatively simple as they are under the control of your organisation.  

Scope 1 emissions.  

These are the direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company. Think things like exhaust fumes from company vehicles or emissions from on-site boilers. These emissions are the easy targets of greenhouse gas reductions – they’re simple to identify and simple to control. 

Scope 2 emissions.  

Scope 2 are the indirect emissions from the generation of power purchased and consumed by your company. Emissions that are generated by someone else, like your power supplier, but are still indirectly linked to your company’s operations. It’s the carbon footprint equivalent of “but you touched it last”

Scope 3 emissions.  

Lastly, Scope 3 are all other indirect emissions that occur in your company’s operations and your suppliers, such as emissions from the production of purchased goods and services, their transportation, and the use of the company’s products by consumers. These emissions are trickier to identify and to control. Like an environmental hydra as soon as one is defeated another appears. Don’t worry, there are  ways to understand and calculation of Scope 3 emissions. However, the tools are still in their infancy and it is advisable to seek expert advice to gather data you can trust. 

By accurately identifying and measuring emissions in each scope, your company can set meaningful sustainability goals and develop effective action plans. The short term challenges are outweighed by the long term benefits of improving your company’s reputation, enhancing brand loyalty and gaining sustainability credentials. 

That’s the brief introduction to Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed by all the potential sources of greenhouse gas emissions, just remember – every little step counts. The sooner you start your decarbonising journey the sooner the people and the planet will thank you.  

At Pulse our goal is to help responsible organisations like yours understand your impact on the planet and ease the transition to ESG. Read more at ESG for Business

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