Emission Scopes Overview

Summary, definition, and examples of scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

Why are emissions split into scopes?

To help keep track and account for emissions, they are split intro three groups or “scopes”.

This is done to help distinguish between a company's direct and indirect emissions, improve transparency and limit double counting.

Definition of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions

Scope 1 - Direct GHG emissions

These are emissions that come from sources owned or controlled by the company.

Scope 2 - Electricity indirect GHG emissions

These are emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the reporting company.

Scope 3 - Other indirect GHG emissions

These are all other indirect emissions that do not come from the generation of purchased electricity.

Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions Categories

The GHG Protocol defines various emissions categories for each emissions scope. These are as follows:

Scope 1 Emission Categories

- Company Vehicles

- Physical or Chemical Processing

- Combustion

- Gas Release

Scope 2 Emission Categories

- Energy Use

Scope 3 Emission Categories

- Purchased Goods and Services

- Capital Goods

- Fuel and Energy Related Activities Not Included in Scope 1 or 2

- Upstream Transportation and Distribution

- Waste Generated in Operations

- Business Travel

- Employee Commuting

- Upstream Leased Assets

- Downstream Transportation and Distribution

- Processing of Sold Products

- Use of Sold Products

- End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products

- Downstream Leased Assets

- Franchises

- Investments

Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions Examples

Scope 1 Emissions Examples

- Driving a company owned vehicle

- Burning oil to heat a company owned building

- Releasing gases or leaks of gases to the atmosphere

Scope 2 Emissions Example

- Purchasing electricity

Scope 3 Emissions Examples

- Using transportation not owned or controlled by your organisation.

- Purchasing goods or services from others

- Sending waste to be disposed of by others

- Employees commuting to work

- Employees working remotely

How to calculate Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions

See our guide on calculating your emissions, for more detail on the best way to calculate your company’s emissions.

Calculating emissions consists of the following steps:

- Set an organisational boundary

- Collecting data on your activities

- Use a software tool like Bootprint to convert this data to emissions

- Or calculate your emissions manually by finding relevant conversion factors.

Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions guidance

There are two main standard for calculating corporate or company greenhouse gas emissions. These are the Greenhouse Gas Protocol which is a partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the ISO 14064 standards published by International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

For corporate accounting, the GHG Protocol and ISO 14064 standards are consistent and designed so that they can be used in a complementary manner by companies.

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