What do we mean by Scope 3 emissions? (Mike O’Neill, GHD at 4:46):
The panellists discuss Scope 3 emissions and their significance in the carbon reduction agenda. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions beyond an organization's direct control. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute developed the greenhouse gas protocol in the late 1990s to establish rules for greenhouse gas accounting.
The panellists go on to discuss the three main scopes ofemissions, which are:
Scope 1 emissions: These are direct emissions from activities an organization owns or controls, such as burning coal or gas in chimneys or using petrol or diesel in engines.
Scope 2 emissions: These are indirect emissions resulting from the consumption of electricity or imported heat/steam. They occur at the source of energy generation, not within the organization.
Scope 3 emissions: This category covers all other indirect emissions and is the focus of the discussion. Scope 3 emissions are broken down into 15 categories, including upstream emissions (e.g., raw material extraction), downstream emissions (e.g., product delivery and end-of-life treatment), and operational emissions (e.g., staff commuting).
Calculating Scope 3 emissions can be challenging but is achievable with available guidance on data sets and methods. The discussion emphasizes the importance of considering the entire lifecycle of products and services to account for their full environmental impact.
How can we measure Scope 3 emissions? (Saphira Rekker, University of Queensland and Arteh at 10:11 and Mike at 15:06):
The panellists discuss measuring Scope 3 emissions and the challenges organizations face in gathering comprehensive and accurate data. They emphasize the importance of understanding relevant emission categories and using the greenhouse gas protocol’s Scope 3 guidance to measure emissions.
Data collection can be easier for financial information but less accurate for estimating emissions. Material flows data, such as kilometres travelled for business travel, is preferred given it is more accurate, but collaboration with stakeholders may be necessary to obtain this data. The accuracy of measuring Scope 3 emissions depends on downstream and upstream parties, such as suppliers and customers.
The panellists suggest using tools like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Scope 3 Evaluator, although it is only available until the end of August 2023. Engagement tips include using Google forms or other methods to gather data, but knowing the necessary data and the likely availability is essential for successful engagement.
The discussion also highlights the importance of sector-specific approaches and focusing efforts on getting the best quality data for the most material Scope 3 emission categories. For projects involving construction and engineering, embodied carbon in materials is becoming a more frequent consideration.
Tools and software plugins are emerging to help assess the carbon footprint associated with different products. Environmental product declarations (EPDs) can also provide valuable information about a product's greenhouse gas assessment, though challenges remain in ensuring their comparability.
As more organizations measure their inventories and more data becomes available, making informed choices about low-carbon options is expected to improve.
How can we report on Scope 3 emissions? (Matthia Ong, CDP at 19:43):
The panellists discuss a number of different protocols, standards and frameworks as well as regulations in relation to emissions reporting, including recent developments specifically related to Scope 3 such as the new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) standards and also, in Australia, Treasury's proposal to require disclosure of climate related risks and strategies to mitigate impacts.
The panellists discuss emissions reporting and the challenges and opportunities related to Scope 3 emissions. They talk about the importance of reporting on Scope 3 emissions and how it can have a significant multiplier effect, as it captures emissions beyond a company's direct control. They highlight the complexity of Scope 3 reporting, with multiple sub-questions and the need for collaboration and data sharing with stakeholders.
The panellists emphasize the need for companies to realize that addressing climate change requires a joint effort and peer-to-peer learning. They mention the increasing focus on Scope 3 reporting in regulations and financial mechanisms, encouraging companies to take action. The discussion also touches on technological solutions, like carbon calculators (some of which are freely available), to help with Scope 3 reporting – and also point out that as data becomes more accessible, it will become easier for companies to report.
How can companies set Scope 3 targets and reduce Scope 3emissions? (all panellists, CDP at 29:48):
In this part of the discussion, the panellists talk about setting Scope 3 emissions reduction targets and the practical steps companies can take to accelerate the reduction of Scope 3 emissions. They emphasize the importance of stakeholder engagement and partnerships, as reducing Scope 3 emissions requires collaboration with suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders.
Saphira discusses the need to follow the requirements of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for setting targets and how different sectors may have specific guidelines. The panellists highlight the importance of innovative thinking in identifying key opportunities for reductions, such as avoiding or reducing emissions through changes in business practices or engaging with suppliers to reduce emission intensity.
Mike, based on his on-the-ground experience, stresses the significance of considering longevity and circular economy principles in design choices to reduce Scope 3 emissions. He also mentions the importance of data and how organizations can leverage data from platforms like CDP to make informed decisions, learn from peers, and drive sustainability actions across supply chains.
Overall, the panellists underscore the need for organizations to take proactive steps, engage stakeholders, and leverage data to set meaningful Scope 3 emissions reduction targets and drive positive environmental outcomes.
The webinar concludes with questions (all panelists at 43:17):
The questions related to:
- the role of procurement
- how to engage SME/tail spend suppliers
Additional resources referred to during the webinar:
ARTEH (climate risk assessment and monitoring. Platform provides services that result in zero-carbon certifications internationally recognized) - https://arteh.com.au/