Scope 3, or value chain, carbon footprints quantify the greenhouse gas emissions associated with activities directly or indirectly under the control of the company, as well as the upstream and downstream emissions arising as a consequence of these activities (where these occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company). Including the full value chain emissions considerably increases the cost and complexity of the carbon footprint study, but it is driven by the following considerations:

  • Scope 3 emissions are generally much larger than Scope 1 and 2
  • A companies’ full influence to reduce greenhouse extends upstream and downstream of its operations
  • The greatest risks may be up or down the value chain
  • To avoid greenwashing/burden shifting (e.g. as occurs when carbon neutral claims are made without considering Scope 3 emissions, or when claims about energy savings from the use phase of products are made whilst neglecting to report on the carbon intensity of manufacture).

Value chain carbon footprint share similar data requirements to product carbon footprints. Whilst both require extensive data, the Green House consultants draw on their proprietary life cycle database to provide the necessary background data.

A complete value chain carbon footprint is a significant undertaking. Our approach is not merely the ad-hoc quantification of specific categories of scope 3 emissions wherever this is relatively easy (e.g. employee commuting), but to identify the “hot-spots” through screening with our comprehensive life cycle database. This allows a prioritisation of scope 3 categories for incremental improvement of the value chain carbon footprint in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol standard.

Case studies Anglo American Scope 3 Assessment