Tackling Scope 3 emissions: New initiative launched to help businesses achieve net-zero value chains

In recognition of the fact that indirect (Scope 3) emissions typically account for the bulk of a business's climate footprint, a new initiative has been launched to help firms of all sizes and sectors measure and reduce them in line with climate science.

Tackling Scope 3 emissions: New initiative launched to help businesses achieve net-zero value chains

Many corporates with multinational supply chains and operations will see Scope 3 emissions accounting for 90% or more of their absolute emissions footprint

The forum, called the Value Change Initiative, was officially launched this week following more than three years of work from co-founders Gold Standard and certifying body SustainCERT.

The initiative was initially intended to develop one standalone guidance document but is now being launched as a collaborative forum whereby businesses can share best-practice and revcieve advice from organisations with technical expertise in carbon data collection, reporting, emissions reductions and offsetting, including the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), WWF, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and CDP.

On offsetting, key issues to be addressed include over-claiming and double counting.

Some 60 businesses, public sector organisations and non-profits have signed up to the initiative. Corporate participants include Adidas, Amazon, BASF, Barry Callebaut, Bayer, C&A, Cargill, Chanel, Danone, General Mills, H&M, Kellogg’s, Kingfisher, Mars, McDonald’s, Levi Strauss, Nespresso, Nestle, Nike, Patagonia, PepsiCo, Target, VF Corp and Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s.

“Scope 3 emissions are the most complex to tackle – representing the largest percentage of corporate emissions, yet with the least direct ability for companies to control them,” said Gold Standard’s chief executive Margaret Kim.

“By launching The Value Change Initiative, together with our partners, we hope to remove barriers to driving meaningful corporate climate action, reported in a way that investors and consumers alike can trust.”

SBTi standards and other resources

Earlier this year,  the SBTi announced that it is increasing the minimum temperature pathway ambition for verification to 1.5C, from the “well-below 2C” minimum at present. This represents a major shift in a short amount of time – at the start of 2018, there were only three firms with 1.5C SBTi targets, namely Tesco, Carlsberg and BT.

For targets to be verified in line with 1.5C, if a business’s Scope 3 emissions account for 40% or more of its total annual footprint, targets must be developed to address at least two-thirds of Scope 3 emissions.

Scope 3 emissions requirements are likely to be even more strict under the initiative’s new Net-Zero standard, described as the world’s first science-based certification of companies’ net-zero targets. Validation for the new standard will launch officially next year, following a pilot scheme with seven large businesses. Click here for edie’s full story.

edie recently hosted a masterclass webinar on measuring, reporting and reducing Scope 3 emissions, featuring experts from Carbon Intelligence and Avara. Click here to read a summary of the discussion and click here to access the full webinar on-demand.

Sarah George

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