How-to Reduce Scope 3 Emissions

August 21, 2018 Jenna Bieller

To begin with part 1 of this blog on how to calculate scope 3 emissions, click here.


Emissions reduction across the value chain

Many companies have already implemented strategies for internal emissions reductions, such as renewable energy procurement and energy efficiency. But, in the context of Science-Based Targets (SBTs), a strategy to decrease GHG across the whole supply chain becomes essential. Supply chain emissions, part of the scope 3 category, are often regarded as difficult emissions to address, as they are outside of a company’s direct control. These emissions occur as a result of a company’s operations but are produced from sources that are not always owned or controlled by the company.

In a previous blog, How-to Calculate Scope 3 Emissions, we discussed the GHG Protocol, defined the three emissions scopes (1 for direct emissions and scopes 2 and 3 for indirect emissions) and reviewed the process of collecting supply chain greenhouse gas data to calculate a carbon footprint.

Armed with supply chain carbon footprint information, it is now time to explore tactics to reduce scope 3 emissions.

The Belgian experience: scope 3 program results

In the Belgian voluntary sectorial agree­ments discussed in our previous blog, the 4 most relevant categories of scope 3 were assessed: purchase of goods, transportation of goods, use of the products manufactured by the company and end of life treatment of sold product. After calculating the carbon footprint of these supply chain emission sources, it came time to identify concrete and measurable projects to reduce scope 3 emissions.

After brainstorming with stakeholders, various projects were selected and the forecasted savings on scope 3 for the period 2012-2020 were estimated. Forecast and realized reductions are shown below:

After making a concerted effort to reduce scope 3 emissions from the four main categories, the Belgian industrial sites in this example achieved net emission reductions (from scope 1, 2, and 3) of 7 percent in just four years. To better understand the strategies used to reduce scope 3 emissions, experts at Schneider Electric discuss how clients have seen success.

Reduction of GHG emissions from purchase of goods

Purchase of goods reductions can take many forms: change in incoming materials with a lower CO2 content; reduce the quantity of inputs; use recycled materials included in inputs; reduce production waste; favor more sustainable suppliers; engage key suppliers on improving their own carbon footprint.

Schneider Electric customers have seen success by substituting resource intensive raw materials for another with a lower emission factor: replacing palm oil with sunflower oil, replacing veal with beef, replacing metal with plastic or even bioplastics. Other successful strategies include reducing of doses to have more concentrated products; reducing production waste by better control of the production process and reuse of production wastes internally.

Reduction of GHG emissions from transportation

Legislative pressure is evolving the sustainability of transportation of goods by carriers. But companies can have a direct influence by reducing distances traveled to transport goods, reducing the weight of the products transported, increasing the loading rate of the vehicle, changing the mode of transport (replacing truck transport with trains or boats, for example) or changing fuel type.

Reduction of GHG emissions from use

Projects that reduce product use emissions can come in two forms. One option is to reduce the consumption of raw materials through an increase in the lifetime of the manufactured products. Another option is to reduce the energy consumption generated during the use of the product throughout its lifetime, such as by reducing energy intensity of household appliances or engines.

Reduction of GHG emissions from End of Life Treatment

End of life emissions include those from demolition and processing of waste once products are no longer viable. These decrease simultaneously with other scope 3 categories, such as the purchase of raw materials; the fewer raw materials you buy and use in a product, the less waste you must treat at the end of life. You can also influence end of life emissions by putting products on the market that emit less CO2 during their disposal (allow recycling instead of incineration or landfill). This is part of the eco-design principle.

Schneider Electric provides sustainability reporting services and support to companies — from building questionnaires to identifying a clear roadmap to success. Reach out to our team for more information.


Contributed by Valérie Limauge, Sustainability Consultant for Schneider Electric



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