1.3 What is to be measured – the scope

Having set the boundary of a carbon footprint for your organisation, you now need to set the scope. Although it sounds similar, the scope means looking at which emissions within (or attributable to) the organisation need to be counted. For global reporting and many carbon trading purposes, there are three internationally recognised scopes. For practical purposes, in trying to manage your organisation’s carbon footprint, it is often easier to select a different scope.

The internationally recognised scopes, as set out in ISO 17064 (on the measurement of greenhouse gases) or the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for example, are as follows.

Scope 1: Direct emissions

  • CO2 from burning fossil fuels on site

  • CO2 from owned transport

  • Emissions arising from industrial processes (all gases)

  • Fugitive emissions (e.g. of refrigerants or methane leakages)

Scope 2: Indirect emissions (from utilities)

  • Emissions attributable to purchased electricity, heat and steam

Scope 3: Other indirect emissions

  • Transport and travel

  • Transport of products and raw materials

  • Commuting travel for employees

  • Waste disposal (can include methane from landfill)

  • Franchisees, outsourced activities (e.g. call centres) and leased assets

  • Energy embodied in bought-in materials

  • Energy from the use of products or services by customers

However, for practical purposes, it is often easier to consider just emissions under the direct control of the organisation. These may be seen as at two levels:

  • energy use, including own combustion, electricity, heat and steam, and own transport emissions

  • as before, but also including business transport and travel, plus fugitive and business process emissions.

These two levels are broadly in line with those defined by the Carbon Trust Standard.

1.2 What is to be measured – the boundary

1.4 Making the calculations