Why is Scope 3 Important? The Critical Role of Indirect Emissions in Climate Action

Indirect emissions often fly under the radar, but their significance in climate action is undeniable. Uncover the pivotal role of Scope 3 in shaping a sustainable future and why businesses can't afford to overlook it.

Why is Scope 3 Important? The Critical Role of Indirect Emissions in Climate Action
Photo by Tony Hand / Unsplash

While direct emissions (Scope 1 and 2) are often the primary focus of corporate sustainability efforts, Scope 3 emissions, which encompass all indirect emissions in a company's value chain, play a pivotal role in the broader climate action landscape. Let's explore why these emissions are so crucial.

1. The Sheer Volume of Emissions:

For many industries, especially those with extensive supply chains like retail, electronics, and apparel, Scope 3 emissions can represent the lion's share of their carbon footprint, often exceeding 80% of total emissions.

2. Comprehensive Climate Action:

Addressing only direct emissions provides an incomplete picture. True climate leadership requires a holistic approach that encompasses the entire value chain.

3. Business Resilience and Risk Management:

  • Supply Chain Disruptions: Climate change can lead to disruptions in supply chains, from extreme weather events affecting raw material availability to regulatory changes.
  • Reputational Risks: Stakeholders, including consumers and investors, are increasingly demanding transparency on Scope 3 emissions.

4. Economic Opportunities:

Engaging with suppliers on sustainability can lead to cost savings, innovations, and operational efficiencies. Companies that proactively address Scope 3 emissions are often better positioned to seize these opportunities.

5. Regulatory Landscape:

As global climate ambitions ramp up, regulations around Scope 3 emissions disclosure and reduction are becoming more stringent, making it imperative for businesses to be ahead of the curve.

6. Strengthening Supplier Relationships:

Engaging suppliers in sustainability initiatives can foster stronger, more collaborative relationships, leading to shared innovations and mutual growth.

7. Moral Imperative:

Beyond the business case, there's a moral imperative. Companies have a responsibility to address their full impact on the planet, and that includes their indirect emissions.


Scope 3 emissions are not just a 'nice-to-have' in sustainability strategies; they're a critical component. Addressing them is essential for any organization genuinely committed to making a positive impact on the planet.

For a deeper dive into the intricacies of Scope 3 emissions and how businesses can effectively address them, continue exploring our Scope 3 Foundations Series.