Scope 3 emissions, often referred to as the "hidden giant" of corporate carbon footprints, encompass all indirect emissions that occur in a company's value chain. But just how significant are these emissions? Let's dive into the numbers and understand the magnitude of Scope 3 emissions.
The Bigger Picture:
- While Scope 1 and 2 emissions cover direct emissions from owned or controlled sources and indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, respectively, Scope 3 casts a wider net. It includes emissions from activities like business travel, employee commuting, waste disposal, and, most notably, the production of purchased goods and services.
- For many industries, especially those in the retail, food, and manufacturing sectors, Scope 3 emissions can account for over 80% of their total carbon footprint.
- According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), companies that actively track and manage Scope 3 emissions have a carbon footprint that's about four times larger than companies that only focus on Scope 1 and 2.
- This highlights the sheer volume of emissions that can be hidden in a company's value chain.
The Supply Chain Factor:
- A significant portion of Scope 3 emissions comes from the supply chain. For companies that produce goods, the raw materials phase can be the most carbon-intensive part of their product lifecycle.
- For instance, in the tech industry, up to 75% of total emissions can come from the production of components and manufacturing.
Conclusion: Understanding the magnitude of Scope 3 emissions is crucial for any organization aiming for genuine sustainability. By addressing these often-overlooked emissions, companies can make a more significant impact in the fight against climate change.