Know the Difference in the Scopes

Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse gas emissions that result from activities that are owned or controlled by an entity. These emissions can include those from the burning of fossil fuels for energy, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, as well as emissions from processes such as transportation and industrial activities.

Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions that result from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat, or steam by an entity. These emissions are often a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions for organizations that are reliant on electricity from fossil fuel sources.

Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions that result from the activities of an entity, but are not owned or controlled by the entity. These emissions can occur throughout the value chain of an organization and can include activities such as the use of a company's products, the disposal of a company's products, and the transportation of a company's products.

Why Measure?

Quantifying and reporting on an organization's greenhouse gas emissions is an important step in understanding and reducing its environmental impact. Many companies are beginning to focus on reducing their scope 3 emissions, as these are often the largest source of an organization's emissions and can be more difficult to quantify and reduce than scope 1 and 2 emissions.


Reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions can involve implementing energy efficiency measures, transitioning to renewable energy sources, and improving industrial processes to reduce emissions. Reducing scope 3 emissions can involve working with suppliers and customers to reduce their emissions, as well as designing products and services that have a lower environmental impact throughout their lifecycle.


There are several reasons why an organization may choose to quantify and report on its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. These can include regulatory requirements, investor or stakeholder demand for transparency, and a desire to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

In addition to the direct benefits of reducing emissions, such as reduced costs and improved environmental performance, there are also indirect benefits to be gained from quantifying and reducing emissions. These can include improved reputation and brand image, increased customer loyalty, and the potential to attract new business and investment.


Overall, it is clear that understanding and reducing scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions is critical for organizations looking to mitigate their environmental impact and contribute to global efforts to address climate change. By implementing strategies to reduce emissions across all three scopes, companies can play a key role in the transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future.

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