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How to Identify Scope 3 Carbon Hotspots

Three strategies to identify, calculate and minimize hidden greenhouse gasses across your enterprise.

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A growing chorus of voices is demanding that organizations more actively address sustainability goals. These stakeholders include investors, regulators, employees and nonprofit organizations, with motivations ranging from practical concerns for financial liability to more existential worry regarding human survival.

Many organizations are already tallying direct emissions from assets they own or control (Scope 1), and some also calculate the impact of indirect emissions generated through energy sources consumed (Scope 2). But far fewer organizations have adequately tackled the demands of activities that fall outside of these two tranches — also known as Scope 3 emissions.

Get started managing Scope 3 emissions

While Scope 1 and 2 emissions are challenging to calculate, Scope 3 emissions offer additional challenges because they are generated from off-site activities such as business travel and commuting, purchased goods and services, supply-chain distribution and waste sent to landfills. 

In a global economy, companies have complex networks that include numerous suppliers all around the world. Accurate calculation of Scope 3 emissions requires developing and maintaining relationships with those suppliers and ensuring that they can comprehend and calculate their impacts accurately.

Take a look at these three steps we’ve outlined to help you get started. 

  1. Spread awareness – The concept of Scope 3 emissions may not be familiar to all your suppliers. In fact, it’s quite likely that some in your network don’t know much (or anything) about this topic at all. Connect your network with information about these emissions, as well as how they factor into your decarbonization goals. 
  2. Set expectations – Your suppliers and partners can play a pivotal role in your sustainability journey, but only when they know how to help. Develop clear guidelines for what, how and when your partners need to convey emissions data, so your team receives the necessary information to complete internal calculations. You should also communicate the consequences for failing to provide data.
  3. Make actionable plans – When your suppliers are on board with your Scope 3 emission plans, it’s time to get to work. Work with their teams to identify opportunities to reduce energy use, costs and risks through measurable plans.

Get guidance on Scope 3 emissions from UL

Decarbonization isn’t a solo effort. At UL, we’ve developed powerful, easy-to-use 360 Sustainability Essentials and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) software that can help you effectively and efficiently direct your journey. Our seasoned experts offer guidance to help you define your organization’s greenhouse strategy, create science-based benchmarks and help you analyze outcomes.  

Learn more about our Scope 3 Carbon Advisory and Reporting Services, featuring ESG and sustainability solutions that can lead to improved brand reputation, investor attractiveness and efficiency gains.

Five 5 Considerations for Scope 3 Benchmarks

Strike a balance between consistent practices and real-world flexibility when working with your supply chain on Scope 3 emissions reporting.

Five Strategies to Get Suppliers to Share Carbon Performance Information

Organizations make smoother progress when they provide partners with reporting guidance and set measurable plans. 


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