Why is reporting of scope 3 important?- Karbonwise

The fight against climate change demands a comprehensive understanding of a company’s environmental impact. While most companies track their direct emissions (Scope 1) and purchased energy emissions (Scope 2), a significant portion of their environmental footprint lies outside their immediate control – in their value chain. This is where Scope 3 emissions come in, and reporting them is crucial for businesses aiming for true sustainability. But it is also important to report them in a way that is readable like done via KarbonWise.

What are Scope 3 Emissions?

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are categorized into three scopes by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), the global standard for emissions accounting. Scope 1 and 2 cover a company’s direct operations:

Scope 1: Emissions from sources that the company controls, like fuel combustion in owned vehicles or on-site industrial processes.
Scope 2: Emissions from purchased electricity, heat, or cooling.
However, a company’s impact extends beyond its own facilities. Scope 3 captures all other indirect emissions that occur throughout its value chain, upstream and downstream. This includes:

Purchased goods and services: Emissions from the production and transportation of goods a company buys.
Investments: Emissions associated with a company’s investments in other entities.
Use of sold products: Emissions generated when a customer uses the company’s products.
Waste and disposal: Emissions from the treatment and disposal of waste generated by the company’s operations.
Commuting and business travel: Emissions from employee travel to and from work, as well as business trips.
Why is Reporting Scope 3 Emissions Important?

For many companies, Scope 3 emissions represent the largest share of their total footprint. In fact, for some sectors like retail and finance, Scope 3 emissions can account for over 90% of their total impact. Here’s why reporting them is critical:

Comprehensive Footprint: Without Scope 3 reporting, a company’s reported emissions provide an incomplete picture. It’s like measuring only the tip of the iceberg. Reporting Scope 3 allows for a more accurate assessment of a company’s true environmental impact.
Targeted Reduction Strategies: By identifying emission hotspots within the value chain, companies can prioritize reduction efforts. This could involve collaborating with suppliers to adopt cleaner production practices or developing more sustainable product designs that minimize end-of-life emissions.
Investor Confidence and Market Advantage: Investors are increasingly looking to understand a company’s exposure to climate risks and their plans for mitigation. Robust Scope 3 reporting demonstrates transparency and commitment to sustainability, which can attract environmentally conscious investors and enhance a company’s reputation.
Regulatory Compliance: As regulations around climate change reporting evolve, mandatory Scope 3 reporting is becoming more likely. Being ahead of the curve by establishing robust reporting practices now can help companies avoid scrambling to comply with future regulations.
Innovation and Cost Savings: The process of measuring and managing Scope 3 emissions often leads to unexpected insights. Companies may identify opportunities to improve resource efficiency or collaborate with partners for more sustainable solutions. These efforts can lead to cost savings and a competitive edge in the long run.
Challenges of Scope 3 Reporting

While the benefits are clear, there are challenges associated with Scope 3 reporting:

Complexity: Tracking emissions across a complex value chain can be challenging. Companies may need to rely on estimates and data from suppliers, which can be inconsistent or incomplete.
Standardization: There are different methodologies for calculating Scope 3 emissions, which can lead to inconsistencies in reporting. However, standards are evolving to address this issue.
Cost and Resources: Implementing robust Scope 3 reporting may require additional resources and expertise. However, the long-term benefits outweigh the initial investment.
Overcoming the Challenges

Several strategies can help companies overcome these challenges:

Start with the biggest impact: Focus on the categories that contribute the most to your Scope 3 emissions first.
Engage with stakeholders: Collaborate with suppliers, customers, and industry partners to improve data collection and share best practices.
Leverage technology: Utilize software tools and data platforms designed to streamline Scope 3 data collection and analysis.
Seek guidance: Consult with sustainability experts and organizations like the GHG Protocol for guidance and support.
The Road to a Sustainable Future

Reporting Scope 3 emissions is not just about compliance; it’s about taking responsibility for a company’s entire environmental footprint. By embracing transparency and taking action to reduce their Scope 3 emissions, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and contribute to a cleaner future. As regulations and investor demands evolve, companies that prioritise Scope 3 reporting will be well-positioned to lead the way in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Get KarbonWose to make the reporting aeries, efficient and faster.