Recap – Webinar: Towards Carbon Neutrality – Effectively Measuring Scope 1, 2 & 3 Emissions

Footprinting & LCA

This blog will include the 5 highlights of the webinar: Towards Carbon Neutrality – Measuring Scope 1, 2 & 3 Emissions.

The 5 highlights:

1. Why is reporting on your GHG emissions so important?

Carbon Neutrality is a relatively new term but is becoming an increasingly important one in every sector. Not only is environmental impact transparency more and more required by external stakeholders, but it also shows that organizations are taking responsibility for our society and environment. 

As a result, more and more organizations are now reporting on their Greenhouse Gas emissions and implementing environmental protocols (such as the GHG Protocol) in their strategies, and reporting to make their organizations future-proof. Indeed, next to taking responsibility as an organization, reporting on your emissions also means creating new business opportunities: 

  • Reputation & competitive advantage 
  • Get ahead of regulation 
  • Attract talent 
  • Get access to capital

Watch the full webinar below.

2. What are my scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions? How can I understand them?

In order to measure your environmental impact and report on your Greenhouse Gas emissions, it’s important to first have a clear idea of what your organization’s scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions are.

Scope 1: Emissions from scope 1 are direct emissions. This means that they directly come from your organization’s owned- or controlled source, such as; company vehicle emissions.

Scope 2: Emissions in scope 2 cover the indirect emissions from purchased sources, such as your organization’s consumed electricity or cooling. For example; emissions from burning fossil fuels at a power station that generates your electricity. 

Scope 3: Emissions from scope 3 include all the other indirect emissions within your entire value chain, this includes the upstream supply chain (suppliers), as well as downstream GHG emissions e.g. occurring with customers. For example; business travels, waste disposal transportation, or investments. 

Image 1. Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions visualized. 

Scope 3 emissions are most difficult to measure because they exist of various categories and include many upstream and downstream stakeholders and parties. You can find an explanation of these different categories in Image 2. 

Image 2. Guidance on all scope 3 categories.

3. 5 main Steps towards Carbon Neutrality

In order to start measuring your GHG emissions, we created a 5 step plan that will help every organization towards carbon neutrality. 

Step 1 – Establish a baseline: Measure your indirect and direct emissions (Scope 1, 2, and 3) to determine what the source of your carbon footprint is – is it your own production? Or your supply chain?

Step 2 – reduction scenarios: Here you weigh your options. From the calculations in step 1, you will have clear data to work with. Where do your impact hotspots lie? What‘s the best way to reduce your carbon emissions? What do you need to focus on?

Step 3 – Reduction Targets: Once you have your reduction scenarios, you can create clear reduction targets. Define your reduction targets based on the Science-based Targets Initiative – to contribute to a minimum 2,5% reduction per annum for the 2 degrees climate goal. Build up your emission reduction portfolio.

Step 4 – Execute & Monitor: Execute your emission reduction portfolio. Track the improvements in your footprinting platform.

Step 5 – Offset Carbon Emissions: Assess the costs & benefits of carbon offsetting. Choose the methodology that works for your business model and execute on an annual basis.

4. How to reduce your emissions as a service-based organization:

Our first real-case example was how the University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam (UvA) University of Applied Sciences (HvA) calculated their environmental impact as a service provider. A service isn’t the same as a product of course, which means you take a slightly different measurement approach here. 

Because they don’t produce products, their own direct emissions (scope 1) are quite low, so most of the emissions of a service provider take place in the notorious scope 3. The two educational institutions found their biggest potential impact reduction points were to reduce students commuting (UvA would reduce its total emissions by 7% and the HvA by 16%) and reduce their electricity use in line with the Paris Agreements (reduce UvA’s total emissions with 13% and HvA’s total emissions with 4%).

Want to get access to the full webinar package (including the presentation)? simply fill in the form below.

5. How to reduce your emissions as a product-based organization: 

Finally, we made the switch from measuring the emissions of a service to measuring emissions from a product. The specific case we chose was the production of asphalt by an asphalt producer. In the Netherlands, sustainability is a selection criterion in tendering processes in the construction sector. 

To measure the emissions of a product (in this case asphalt), you calculate all the emissions that are released in every step of a product’s entire life cycle (method: Life Cycle Analysis). This way you can analyze which ingredients/steps have the biggest environmental impact. 

A Company footprint is calculated based on the sum of these product footprints. This way, you can calculate which scopes contribute most to the total impact and create reduction scenarios. Here the asphalt company found that switching from natural gas to biogas and using more recycled material (old asphalt) in their products would lead to the biggest reduction in impact. After which a 5-year reduction target of -26% CO2-eq was set and calculated & monitored yearly.

Zazala Quist

Hi, I'm Zazala - former content writer at Ecochain. My goal: make difficult sustainability concepts - understandable to all.

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