What are Scope Emissions?

Most widespread emissions reporting guidelines in the UK and overseas, such as SECR and CDP, have adopted the framework set out by The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol.

This separates emissions into three separate ‘Scopes’, based on whether emissions are direct or indirect.

Separating emissions into scopes helps to apply life cycle thinking, to assign levels of responsibility, and to avoid double counting emissions from separate entities. Below is a quick overview of how emissions are split between scopes.

Differences between direct and indirect emissions

Emissions can be direct or indirect depending on the ownership or controlling entity.

Direct Emissions

Emissions from sources that are owned and controlled by the reporting entitiy.

Indirect Emissions

Emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the reporting entity but occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity.

Differences between scopes 1, 2 & 3

There are 3 types of emissions scopes, here we define each scope as well as providing an example of what type of emission is included within each scope.


Scope 1

Definition: All direct emissions from owned or controlled sources.
These can be from fuel combustion, such as a diesel generator, gas boiler or company vehicles. This also includes refrigerant leakage.

Scope 2

Definition: Indirect emissions from purchased power.

These are emissions from the generation of electricity, heat and steam.

Scope 3

Definition: All other indirect emissions from the value chain.

These are from sources outside of the business’ control, such as purchased goods and services, business travel, employee commuting, waste disposal and use of sold products.

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