Emissions Demystified: Scope 1, 2, and 3 in Real Life

Calculating Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions can seem complicated. To demystify the process, let’s use a real-life example that is not related to business.

Green Impact’s Senior Sustainability Advisor, Kevin Dole, recently purchased an electric scooter. Let’s walk through the types of greenhouse gas emissions associated with his ride to work.


Kevin and his electric scooter

Scope 1

Does Kevin’s scooter create any Scope 1 emissions? Scope 1 emissions are emissions that are directly produced by an owned asset. Kevin owns this scooter, but it runs on electric power and therefore does not directly produce emissions. Because the fuel source is electricity, the emissions associated with its production fall under Scope 2 because they are not directly produced.

Scope 2

As we’ve discussed in another blog, Scope 2 emissions come primarily from electricity and are calculated in two different ways, location-based and market-based. With the location-based method, we would calculate the scooter’s associated emissions using the local electricity map.

Source: https://app.electricitymaps.com/map

Since Green impact is based in Pittsburgh, you can see that Kevin powers his scooter with electricity that is mostly powered by nuclear power and natural gas. The carbon intensity for each kilowatt hour of electricity is 381 grams of CO2e.

Using market-based calculations, we can account for renewable energy sources. Kevin charges his electric scooter at home and his energy comes partially from his local electricity grid, and partially from solar panels. Kevin has switched his local power source to a renewable energy provider, meaning that his scooter is powered by 100% renewable energy. According to the market-based method, Kevin’s scooter can be considered a carbon-neutral asset.

Scope 3

Emissions from commutes are categoried under Scope 3, Category 7. Kevin rides his scooter into Green Impact’s office once a week. How does this affect the employee commute emissions of Green Impact? Because Kevin’s scooter is carbon-neutral, it does not create any Scope 3 emissions. Therefore, Green Impact does not need to consider any emissions created by Kevin’s scooter.

However, the other employees of Green Impact drive cars to work and these cars’ emissions will be taken into account as Green Impact reports its Scope 3 Category 7 emissions. Employee commuting and telecommuting can be a particularly complex category for reporting due to employee numbers, different commute routines, and methods of commuting. Green Impact built Hybrid Work Wizard, a custom Salesforce native application to easily calculate these emissions. Check it out on our product page to learn more!

Scope 3 categories can be intimidating, but Green Impact is here to help. Partner with us today to get expert guidance on tracking and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Book a free discovery call here to get started!

Related: Scope 2: Location vs Market- What you Need to Know About Reporting Energy Emissions

Related: Scope 3: How to Better Track Business Travel Emissions

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