When you begin your journey towards sustainability and tackling carbon emissions, one of the first questions you’ll need to answer is “How do I know if my emissions are Scope 1, 2 or 3?”
So let’s start with Scope 1: What does it mean and how can you categorize your business emissions correctly?
What Are Scope 1 Emissions?
To avoid the ‘double counting’ of emissions, a globally-recognized system has been established for measuring and reporting greenhouse gases.
This system also helps organizations to separate the emissions they can directly control (Scope 1) from those they can control only indirectly (Scope 2) and those they can merely influence or over which they have no control at all (Scope 3).
Scope 1 or direct emissions arise from sources owned or controlled by your organization, including:
- Fossil fuel combustion from stationary sources used for heating or industrial processes on your premises;
- Fossil fuel combustion from mobile sources, such as vehicles you own or operate;
- Onsite manufacturing in specific industries that gives rise to process emissions;
- Fugitive emissions that are released unintentionally from refrigerant systems and other sources.
Note that Scope 1 does not include emissions from energy supplies purchased by your organization, such as electricity or heat that is generated elsewhere. These are categorized as Scope 2 or indirect emissions.
Emissions from vehicles not owned or controlled by your organization are also not counted as Scope 1. These fall under Scope 3, whether they arise from employee commuting, business travel or third-party transport and distribution.
How Can Businesses
Cut Scope 1 Emissions ?
Scope 1 emissions are under the direct control of your organization, so the first step is to identify the major sources of your company’s carbon emissions and measure your carbon footprint.
A good way to prioritize your actions is to apply the carbon management hierarchy of Remove-Reduce-Replace-Offset to your major emission sources.
Removing the source of the emissions is the best choice. If your business strategy allows it, try to avoid carbon-intensive activities altogether.
The next best choice is to reduce emissions by making your business more efficient. If you burn a lot of fossil fuel onsite, invest in upgrading or replacing boilers, furnaces and processing equipment to improve their efficiency.
The next option is to replace carbon-intensive energy sources, such as fossil fuels, with cleaner, low-carbon alternatives. Switching to renewable energy, biomass, biodiesel, biogas or bioethanol might help you cut your carbon footprint, but check their environmental credentials carefully as some are more sustainable than others.
Biofuel-powered vehicles can also help reduce emissions from your company fleet or distribution and delivery network. Another option is to switch to electric vehicles; however, this might cut your Scope 1 emissions, but the electricity you buy should be included under Scope 2.
If you choose to install on-site renewable energy, this could help power your electric vehicle fleet too, and cut both your Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.
Processing and fugitive emissions vary widely, but many industries rely on technology to capture emissions through flues and ventilation systems. If you’re in the manufacturing, chemicals or industrial sector, consult best practice guides to keep up with the latest greenhouse gas control methods for your industry.
Finally, any remaining Scope 1 emissions can be offset, and you can offset as you implement your Remove-Reduce-Replace strategy.
How Does Cutting Scope 1 Emissions Fit into a Business Strategy?
Re-purposing your business strategy for a low-carbon future may be tough, but is likely to be beneficial in the long term. Carbon-intensive companies in the oil and gas industry, car manufacturers, agri-businesses and more are rapidly adapting their business models to reduce their environmental impact in line with climate change science – what can your organization learn from them?
Improving the overall efficiency of your business processes, manufacturing, and vehicle fleet is a great way to save money, make your products and services more competitive and improve your bottom line. Building this into a business plan should be a no-brainer!
Reducing your business carbon footprint reduces your liability for current or future carbon taxes, improves your long-term sustainability and builds a positive image of your brand as a good global citizen.
How Does Carbon Offsetting Help Reduce Scope 1 Emissions?
Reducing emissions takes time, so your organization is likely to continue to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for some years to come.
Even with the most radical carbon reduction plan, many businesses cannot entirely eliminate all Scope 1 emissions.
Carbon offsetting allows you to neutralize your emissions by supporting projects that avoid or reduce carbon emissions elsewhere.
By choosing progressive offsets, such as NativeEnergy’s Help BuildTM projects, your business can also help improve the lives of local communities by delivering social, environmental and economic benefits.