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The importance of Scope 3 emissions

By Lee Rhodes Lee Rhodes

The importance of Scope 3 emissions

4 mins read

Most businesses are now taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and work towards net-zero. Whilst there has been an influx of innovation to managing and optimising the direct emissions of a business, Scope 3 emissions are often still a stumbling block in the ESG agenda.

What are Scope 3 emissions?

Scope 3 emissions are the upstream and downstream emissions of your company.

These include everything from source to end-of life:

  • Waste from operations
  • Business travel
  • Purchased goods and services
  • Commuting
  • Transportation and distribution

Scope 3 emissions can be a complex area as they are largely controlled by the supply chains that you use.

Why Scope 3 emissions are important

Scope 3 emissions are so important as they are hard to manage yet contribute a large amount to a business’s carbon footprint. For a truly green economy every part of the business and product chain will need to meet the climate targets set out in the Paris Agreement. Lack of data is the largest issue as these emissions are not always clearly set out and you may not have access to source data.

Collaboration and Innovation

Whilst it may seem a daunting prospect to start improving and managing Scope 3 emissions, there are some clear steps businesses can take to lead the way.

Collaboration between supplier, buyer and consumer is key to improving efficiency and working towards net-zero. You can start a positive chain of impact by collaborating and influencing your suppliers to take the steps towards your own environmental and social values. This could be collaboration over data management, increasing renewable sources and setting out a sustainability strategy led by your business. This will also be important when it comes to the people in your business. Setting a sustainability strategy engages the people in your business towards your values and can work towards greener travel and commuting. Providing electric vehicles, investing in green technology and analysing the market for new sustainable suppliers are all objectives to take in this area.

Innovation in your procurement and supply chain management processes can really push towards improving Scope 3 emissions.


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