scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions

Before you can do anything else in relation to reducing your business carbon footprint, you must first measure your current footprint.  Only then can you start to make changes that can reduce it.

Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions

Measuring your scope 1 & 2 emissions is the starting point for all business carbon footprint reduction.  You only need to focus on three things; combustion, emissions and energy.  Each section is broken down in to several areas but for most businesses this will be limited to your gas and electricity consumption.

Below you will find a breakdown of scopes 1 & 2 with information on what each is made up of and the sort of evidence you will need to measure and report on it.


What is this made up of?
- Combustion of fuels primarily used for heating and the running of company vehicles.

What data do you need to measure it?
- Evidence of any fuels purchased (inc. mains gas).
- Evidence of amount of petrol / diesel purchased for company vehicles either by volume or cost.


What is this made up of?
- Emissions arising from leaks or from manufacturing and industrial processes.

What data do you need to measure it?
- Documentation of any reported leaks.
- Documentation of previously quantified emissions from manufacturing or industrial processes.
- Evidence of any re-gassing of air-conditioning units or refrigerators.


What is this made up of?
- Purchased energy, such as mains electricity.

What data do you need to measure it?
- Evidence of electricity consumption from your utility provider such as your invoices or statements.

Scope 3 carbon emissions

Measuring your scope 3 emissions is much more involving than scope 1 & 2.  You need to review your entire business operation and then convert the results of that process in to emissions that are equivalent to CO2.

Below you will find a breakdown of scope 3 emissions with information on what each is made up of and the sort of evidence you will need to measure and report on it.  Needless to say that some businesses are much more complicated than others to measure and part of the process is simply finding out what needs to be measured in the first place.

Purchased Goods and Services

What is this made up of?
- Materials, components and parts used in manufacturing or assembly.
- Managed assets; such as the electricity consumed on third-party sites such as data centres.
- Any other purchases that are not covered in the 'Capital Goods' category, such as uniforms, post, telecoms, internet, banking, insurance, food & drink, stationary, printing, building rent, any leased items and legal, professional and consultancy services. This is a long list that picks up most of the expenditure from your accounts.

What data do you need to measure it?
- Summary of all items bought as part of manufacturing or assembly process, including quantity, volume, cost.
- Summary of all third-party service used (ie. web hosting, cloud servers etc.).
- Details of any home-working carried out in the period.
- Details of all purchases from your account non included in the following section.

Capital Goods

What is this made up of?
- Assets bought in the reporting period, such as property, vehicles, machinery and also smaller assets such as furniture, fittings, computer equipment etc.

What data do you need to measure it?
- Information from your accounts that covers purchased assets.

Waste From Operations

What is this made up of?
- This part of the scope covers general waste, any specialist waste you may have and your water supply.

What data do you need to measure it?
- First thing to do is to get copies of your waste collection invoices to see what you have been charged for.
- You may find that you need to speak to your waste services company in order to understand how your waste is disposed of ie. Recycled, Combustion or Landfill.
- You will also need evidence of both fresh and waste water from your water supplier.

Business Travel

What is this made up of?
- Air travel, which is broken down by length of journey such as short-haul or long-haul.
- Sea travel, which is based on either foot-passenger or car-passenger.
- Land-based travel, which is broken down by type of vehicle ie. car, bus, train etc.
- Hotels and accommodation, which is based on a per-night and per-person stay.

What data do you need to measure it?
- You simply need to share the details of all journeys, either individually or as a total.
- We need to understand how many miles were covered and in which type of transport.
- We also need to know how many hotel stays, and in which country.

Employee Commuting

What is this made up of?
- This is quite simply made up of the total miles covered by employees during their commute, split by type of transport ie. walking, cycling, car, taxi, bus, tram, train.

What data do you need to measure it?
- The best way to tackle this is to survey your employees. Ask them each to write down a typical commute to work ie. miles covered by mode of transport(we know some days will be different) and then you can add them all together, double them (to include the journey home) and you have your total.

Transportation & Distribution

What is this made up of?
- Any items that have been sent out to customers, excluding those that have been posted (which we can pick up under 'Purchased Goods & Services'.

What data do you need to measure it?
- For each shipment we need to record the start and end-point of each journey and the method of transportation, such as van or HGV (by class) and any air, rail or sea transportation.

Other scope 3 emissions

Scope 3 goes beyond the items listed above but we do not typically measure the remaining parts of scope 3 for a number of reasons.  The parts of scope 3 that we do not measure include upstream activities ie. the emissions arising from the supply-chain of an item before it reaches your business.  The Use and End-of-life treatment of items you have sold ie. the emissions from the user of your product/service and downstream leased assets, franchises and investments.

At Positive Planet we feel it is best to work with you, your suppliers and customers to measure, reduce and offset your the supply-chain fully, rather than to attempt to measure just the past of it that relates to you.  Without further work it would be impossible to know if you are double-measuring upstream activities.

Although we believe the best approach is to accurately measure your emissions and then over-offset in order to cover any changes in your behaviour, we do not believe inaccurately measuring, or over-measuring, your carbon footprint is helpful at all.

The most important part of measuring your business carbon footprint is to be able to reduce your emissions.  This is only possible with accurate measurements and a willingness to improve your business with each decision.