How to get your Scope 3 carbon targets over the line

For us, setting a science based target (SBT) was a reasonably straightforward process. We’re a small organisation, with operations in a single sector, and only a handful of suppliers. But the reality is that most organisations setting SBTs are a good bit bigger and more complex than we are and, specifically, have much more complex supply chains. Even for large organisations, getting data for Scope 1 & 2 emissions shouldn’t present too much of a challenge. Here in Australia the majority of large companies systematically collect that data anyway for NGERs, corporate reports and other, voluntary schemes. But not many organisations have a good handle on their Scope 3 emissions.

And that’s where the challenge lies. A verified science based target should include a commitment on Scope 3 emissions if they are a “significant” part of the company’s overall footprint (defined as over 40% of total emissions). But to know whether that is the case, companies need to know what their Scope 3 emissions are. Most large companies are likely to have supply chains with many hundreds, if not thousands, of suppliers in them, and the approach to calculating the associated emissions is very different to that taken for Scopes 1 & 2.

The work we did for Singtel-Optus was no exception. To define their Business as Usual emissions and set their SBT, we had to calculate the Scope 3 footprint across their extensive supply chain. But we did it, the target was verified, and now they’re the proud owner of Australia’s first official science based target. Rumour has it that it’s the Scope 3 barrier that’s holding back a host of companies from joining them on that list. If that applies to your organisation, give us a call. We’d be only too glad to help you make your contribution to keeping climate change below 2 degrees.

See also:

Video: Edge assist Transurban in developing their Science Based Target


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