Addressing the impacts of climate change has become an issue of paramount importance for public and private stakeholders alike. Major corporations and organizations have taken significant steps to quantify, disclose, and reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from sources they directly control (Scope 1) and from indirect energy sources they use (Scope 2). However, many are finding their largest contribution to climate change comes from their Scope 3 emissions.
GHG emissions that occur beyond an entity’s operational boundaries are known as Scope 3, and a major segment of these emissions arise from the activities of supply chains. For example, a company that manufactures smartphones may acquire components made in the US, Japan, China, and South Korea, all of which include sub-components and materials that are manufactured, refined, or extracted across hundreds of different locations across the world. Each tier in the supply chain emits GHG emissions to support the complete production of a smart device, and understanding those emissions can enable a smartphone manufacturer to reduce the climate change impact of their products in new and innovative ways.
Any organization that seeks to set comprehensive GHG reductions aligned with science and establish itself as a leader in climate change transparency should have a plan to quantify and manage their Scope 3 emissions. While there is significant momentum towards climate change disclosure, many organizations still struggle to assess their Scope 3 impact. According to CDP’s 2019 Global Supply Chain report, 125 leading organizations asked over 13,000 suppliers to disclose their impact on climate change in 2019, and of the nearly 7,000 suppliers that responded to the requests, only 18% were able to disclose their supply chain-related Scope 3 emissions.
How can a company quantify and mitigate emissions across the numerous and complex levels of their supply chain? Assessing upstream Scope 3 emissions requires a deep knowledge of GHG life cycle assessments and strategic supplier engagement programs, but before an organization can begin to evaluate such strategies, conducting a hotspot analysis of their total supply chain emissions can be an advantageous and critical first step.
To help companies easily quantify and understand their supply chain emissions, GZA’s sustainability team has created a simple and streamlined Scope 3 calculator tool. This calculator can provide your organization with the following functions and features:
- Automated summaries and charting of supply chain GHG emissions sorted by Scope 3 category.
- Hotspot analyses of upstream GHG emissions by supplier and by industry.
- Resources and links to Scope 3 guidance.
- Recommendations to help your organization continue to address your Scope 3 impact.
Our ambition is to remove the barriers that organizations face in addressing their climate change impact. That is why we have made our Scope 3 calculator free to download. Click here to access the tool and kickstart your Scope 3 journey!