Explaining Scope 1, 2 & 3

To help delineate direct and indirect emission sources, improve transparency, and provide utility for different types of organizations and different types of climate policies and business goals, three “scopes” (scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3) are defined for GHG accounting and reporting purposes. Scopes 1 and 2 are carefully defined in this standard to ensure that two or more companies will not account for emissions in the same scope. This makes the scopes amenable for use in GHG programs where double counting matters. Companies shall separately account for and report on scopes 1 and 2 at a minimum.

Scope 1: Direct GHG emissions

Direct GHG emissions occur from sources that are owned or controlled by the company, for example, emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, furnaces, vehicles, etc.; emissions from chemical production in owned or controlled process equipment. Direct CO2 emissions from the combustion of biomass shall not be included in scope 1 but reported separately. GHG emissions not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, e.g. CFCs, NOx, etc. shall not be included in scope 1 but may be reported separately.

Scope 2: Electricity indirect GHG emissions

Scope 2 accounts for GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by a company. Purchased electricity is defined as electricity that is purchased or otherwise brought into the organizational boundary of the company. Scope 2 emissions physically occur at the facility where electricity is generated.

Scope 3: Other indirect GHG emissions

Scope 3 is an optional reporting category that allows for the treatment of all other indirect emissions. Scope 3 emissions are a consequence of the activities of the company, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company. Some examples of scope 3 activities are extraction and production of purchased materials; transportation of purchased fuels; and use of products and services.