Back to Knowledge Hub

Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions

Published: 21 Jan 2023

Last Updated: 21 May 2024

In order to take climate action and become carbon neutral or reach net zero, a company needs to categorise and measure their greenhouse gases emissions.

The three scopes, defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, classify the different kinds of emissions that result from a company’s direct operations and in its wider ‘value chain’ (suppliers, customers, products).

Scope 1 emissions

Scope 1 covers emissions from sources that an organisation owns or controls directly. For example from burning fuel onsite or resulting from vehicles with combustion engines.

Scope 2 emissions

Scope 2 covers emissions that a company causes indirectly when it purchases and uses energy that is produced by a coal power plant. For example the electrical heating and cooling of an office building.

Scope 3 emissions

Scope 3 again covers indirect emissions and are usually larger than both scope 1 and 2. Those are all emissions that occur in the value chain of the company, including both upstream and downstream emissions. For example emissions from the waste generated by the company office, or by the products they sell at the end of their lifecycle.