Spotlight On: Scope 3 Emissions

Why are Scope 3 emissions so important and how do they impact the sustainability performance of your business? Read on to discover the significance of these emissions and how to overcome the challenges associated with them.

The Race to Net Zero

We’re yet another year closer to the target deadline for achieving Net Zero, but according to the United Nations, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are still set to be 10% higher in 2023 compared to 2010.[1]

This highlights how it’s no longer enough for businesses to just focus on emissions inside their organisation. In order to drive real sustainability and minimise environmental impact, they have to look beyond their own four walls and examine the impact of the whole supply chain.

What Are Scope 3 Emissions?

This means taking a proactive approach towards Scope 3 emissions.

Scope 3 emissions comprise all the indirect emissions that happen within an organisation’s supply chain but are not directly controlled by the organisation. They can include anything from the waste disposal processes of third-party suppliers to emissions arising from business travel on a plane or train.

As they fall outside the direct control of a business’s immediate operations, they can be incredibly tricky to both measure and control!

Why Are Scope 3 Emissions Important?

These emissions essentially encompass the full supply chain, including all the emissions generated by both a business and its suppliers in creating and delivering the products and services they provide.

For most organisations, Scope 3 makes up 80% or more of their total emissions.

They subsequently play a pivotal role in an organisation’s overall sustainability performance and are essential to address when striving to achieve specific sustainability goals. Failing to address unsustainable areas of the supply chain can severely hinder sustainable progress and slow down the journey towards Net Zero.

After all, how can a business claim to be truly sustainable if its supply chain isn’t? Reducing your direct emissions means little if your suppliers are operating in ways that are adversely affecting the environment – so it’s important that these emissions are examined.

Improving Scope 3 emissions is therefore an effective way of improving a business’s carbon footprint, as it directly tackles unsustainable practices or operations that may be occurring throughout the supply chain.

The Importance of Having a Strategy

The challenges associated with these key emissions highlight the importance of having a strategy and some measurable goals in place before attempting to tackle them.

This will depend on the size of your business – as well as its wider corporate strategy. However good starting steps include taking stock of current emissions, identifying priority areas and setting goals.

This will enable you to gauge where you are currently at in your sustainability journey so you can chart progress, as well as be able to identify which areas of the supply chain you immediately need to address.

How do you make an effective strategy and set some measurable goals? First, you need the right data.

Tacking Scope 3 Emissions – The Value of Data

Although gathering data on Scope 3 emissions can be complex, they can make up 80% or more of a business’s total emissions.

It’s therefore essential that organisations find a way to overcome the challenges associated with these emissions – and one solution lies in data collection.

Having access to these emissions data gives you clear insight regarding what is achievable in terms of reductions – as well as what you may need to offset. It also acts as clear data that can be compared with other businesses to gauge how you stack up against industry averages.

This is a useful comparison that may reveal how sustainable your operations are compared to your competitors. In turn, this can be very valuable given the increasing amount of businesses looking to work with sustainable and ethical organisations that are actively working on improvement.

There are several advantages to gathering Scope 3 emissions data. In addition to highlighting unsustainable areas that can help to cut emissions, it’s also an effective way of supporting sustainability claims and preventing greenwashing.

Improve Scope 3 Emissions with AXIOM

Looking to improve supply chain sustainability and be on track to hit the Net Zero deadline?

AXIOM provides your business with complete visibility, access and control over the data you require for quick and easy reporting. This is done using our carbon reporting software which seamlessly collates emissions data across the year, automatically calculates GHG emissions and accurately reports on Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

To find out how we can help your business, please contact our team or book your Demo today at

[1] It’s time companies tackle their ‘scope 3’ climate emissions | World Economic Forum (wefor

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