Carbon Trust helps GHG Protocol create pragmatic guidance for measurement of Scope 3 emissions

New Scope 3 calculation guidance for businesses has been launched today by The GHG Protocol[1] following the release of its Scope 3 Standard[2] in 2011. The Carbon Trust supported the GHG Protocol to develop this guidance to assist companies to find the most pragmatic cost effective means to quantify meaningful Scope 3 footprint data.

The calculation guidance provides invaluable additional information not contained in the Scope 3 Standard, such as methods for calculating GHG emissions for each of the fifteen scope 3 categories, data sources, along with worked examples. Crucially, the guide provides step-by-step direction on which calculation method to choose given the data availability and the reporting company's business goals.

Scope 3 emissions, or 'value chain emissions', represent all the indirect impacts upstream and downstream of an organisation, not already captured by the GHG Protocol's Scope 1 and 2 reporting. These often represent the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and in some cases can account for up to 80% of the total carbon impact.

Carbon Trust's expertise with corporate greenhouse gas measurement has been of great value to the development of the Scope 3 calculation guidance. Their practical experience has helped us develop calculation guidance that provides a clear and coherent approach to carrying out a scope 3 assessment.

- Cynthia Cummis, Deputy Director, GHG Protocol

Many businesses have realised the business benefits of addressing their direct emissions through cost reduction and operational efficiencies. Scope 3 emissions present the next frontier to not only drive significant carbon reductions but also help future-proof businesses against supply chain risk, through sustainable practices. All too often we observe a tendency within companies to prioritise 'what is easy', rather than 'what is important', however we recognise that tackling Scope 3 emissions can be a daunting task. We hope this guidance provides a clear roadmap for businesses to venture beyond their boundaries so we can all reap the benefits of more sustainable business.

- Hugh Jones, Managing Director, Carbon Trust Advisory


The Scope 3 Standard guidance document has been developed based on over a decade of the Carbon Trust's world-leading expertise in footprint measurement and extensive experience providing guidance to organisations to understand how much data to collect and to what degree of granularity and quality. Essentially helping businesses to understand how much data is 'good enough' to reliably inform and support their business objectives.

The full Scope 3 Standard Calculation Guidance document can be read in full at

1 A collaborative initiative between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

2 Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard

About the Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is an independent company with a mission to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low carbon economy. The Carbon Trust:

  • advises businesses, governments and the public sector on opportunities in a sustainable, low carbon world.
  • measures and certifies the environmental footprint of organisations, products and services.
  • helps develop and deploy low carbon technologies and solutions, from energy efficiency to renewable power.

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