The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Standard is reported to be the world’s most widely used GHG accounting standard. Whilst disclosure is voluntary, when a company pledges to net zero emissions it is worth checking the ‘scope’ of that commitment. Under this standard, emissions are classed as Scope 1, 2 or 3:
- Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources
- Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy
- Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream emissions
Equinor recently set out an ambition to reduce net carbon intensity by at least 50% by 2050, taking account of Scope 1, 2 and 3 – from initial production through to final consumption. BP appears to have taken this a step further, with a target of net zero across its operations by 2050 (Scope 1 and 2), whilst halving the carbon intensity of its products (Scope 3). Leading the way are Repsol, who set a target of net zero across Scope 1, 2 and 3, by 2050.
Whilst the spotlight remains on oil and gas companies, the standard can be equally applied across all sectors. Take for instance renewable energy and energy storage companies. Under Scope 1-2 they may already achieve, if not be close to net zero. However, under Scope 3 the entire product life cycle must then be considered (including emissions from raw materials, manufacture, transport, storage, sale, use and disposal).
All sectors have steps to take. We believe that a true low-carbon construction value chain will rely upon nationally and responsibly sourced energy and resources – a feature of an upcoming article.