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Feb 10 2023

Scope 3 Emissions, Simplified | Why, How and What of Scope 3 Carbon Emissions?

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Scope 3 Emissions, Simplified | Why, How and What of Scope 3 Carbon Emissions?

Listen up, sustainability champions! If you thought measuring and managing your company's direct carbon emissions was enough to call yourself a climate leader, think again. There's a new sheriff in town, and it's called Scope 3 emissions. But before you start hyperventilating into your reusable coffee cup, let's break it down and make it as easy as recycling your plastic water bottles.

Why Scope 3 Emissions Matter

First off, let's talk about why Scope 3 emissions are such a big deal. These bad boys are all the indirect emissions that occur outside of your company's walls, but are still related to your business activities. We're talking supplier emissions, customer emissions, and even the emissions from your employees' Netflix binges during their lunch break (okay, maybe not that last one). But here's the kicker - for most companies, Scope 3 emissions make up the vast majority of their carbon footprint. In fact, CDP estimates that Scope 3 emissions account for a whopping 75% of total global emissions. So if you're not measuring and managing your Scope 3 emissions, you're basically ignoring the elephant in the room (and trust me, this elephant is not cute and cuddly).

What are Scope 3 Emissions?

But wait, what exactly are Scope 3 emissions? Well, buckle up, because this is where it gets a little technical. Scope 3 emissions are broken down into 15 categories, ranging from purchased goods and services to investments and even the fun stuff like business travel and employee commuting. Basically, if it's not a direct emission from your company's operations or energy use, it's probably Scope 3. And let me tell you, tracking down all these emissions is like playing a giant game of environmental Whac-A-Mole.

How to Measure and Manage Scope 3 Emissions

But fear not, my sustainability sidekicks, because measuring and managing Scope 3 emissions is not an impossible task. The first step is to map out your value chain and identify where your Scope 3 emissions are coming from. This might involve some detective work, like interrogating your suppliers about their energy use or stalking your customers to see how they're using your products. Once you've got a handle on your Scope 3 hotspots, you can start setting reduction targets and implementing strategies to lower your emissions. This could be anything from sourcing more sustainable materials to redesigning your products for circularity to convincing your employees to bike to work (good luck with that one).

But here's the best part - by tackling your Scope 3 emissions, you're not just doing the right thing for the planet, you're also future-proofing your business. As investors and customers become more climate-conscious, companies that can demonstrate a comprehensive approach to emissions reduction will have a major competitive advantage. Plus, by engaging with your suppliers and customers on sustainability, you can build stronger, more resilient relationships and even uncover new business opportunities.

So, if you're ready to become a Scope 3 superhero, where do you start? Well, there are plenty of tools and resources out there to help you on your journey, from the trusty old Greenhouse Gas Protocol to slick new software platforms like Watershed and Persefoni. And if you're feeling extra ambitious, you can even go for the gold standard of Scope 3 reporting - the Science Based Targets initiative.

But no matter where you are on your Scope 3 journey, the most important thing is to just get started. Every ton of carbon saved is a step in the right direction, and every company that takes action on Scope 3 emissions is a leader in the fight against climate change. So let's roll up our sleeves, put on our sustainability capes, and get to work - the planet (and our bottom lines) will thank us!

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