Mar 13 2023

Understanding Scope 3 Emission Calculation: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses



Understanding Scope 3 Emission Calculation: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

As businesses around the world face increasing pressure to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future, it's become essential to understand and manage greenhouse gas emissions across the entire value chain. This includes Scope 3 emissions, which represent a significant and often-overlooked portion of a company's total carbon footprint. In this comprehensive guide, we'll take a closer look at Scope 3 emissions and offer practical tips for measuring and reducing them.

What Are Scope 3 Emissions?

Scope 3 emissions are indirect greenhouse gas emissions that occur throughout a company's value chain, but are not owned or controlled by the company. They can be generated by a variety of activities, including the production of raw materials, transportation, use and disposal of products, and employee commuting. According to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Scope 3 emissions can account for up to 80% of a company's total carbon footprint (1).

Measuring Scope 3 Emissions

Measuring Scope 3 emissions can be a complex process that requires a detailed understanding of a company's value chain and its various sources of emissions. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol provides a comprehensive framework for measuring Scope 3 emissions, which includes 15 different categories of emissions sources, ranging from purchased goods and services to upstream transportation and distribution (2).

To measure Scope 3 emissions, businesses will need to gather data from a range of sources, including suppliers, customers, and transportation providers. This data can be used to calculate emissions using a variety of methodologies, including the Market-Based Method and the Calculation Method. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol provides detailed guidance on these methodologies and offers a variety of tools to help businesses measure and report their Scope 3 emissions accurately (3).

Reducing Scope 3 Emissions

Reducing Scope 3 emissions can be a challenging task, as it often requires collaboration with a variety of stakeholders throughout the value chain. However, there are a number of strategies that can be employed to reduce emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future. Some examples include:

  1. Adopting a circular economy approach that focuses on reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency throughout the value chain.
  2. Encouraging suppliers to adopt more sustainable practices, such as the use of renewable energy or the reduction of waste and emissions.
  3. Engaging with customers to promote sustainable behaviors, such as energy-efficient product use and recycling.
  4. Using technology and innovation to develop more sustainable products and services, such as electric vehicles or renewable energy solutions.


Measuring and reducing Scope 3 emissions is a complex and challenging task, but it is essential for businesses looking to make a meaningful contribution to a more sustainable future. By understanding the sources of these emissions, gathering accurate data, and collaborating with stakeholders throughout the value chain, businesses can make significant progress towards reducing their carbon footprint and creating a more sustainable future.



Related Articles

Tool and strategies modern teams need for sustainability roadmap.