Understanding & Reducing Scope 1 Emissions

GHG Emissions

Companies in every sector are devoting more resources to developing corporate climate-related strategies and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Customers and employees are demanding greater action, regulations are requiring it, and the future safety and security of our planet depends on it.

Regardless of a company’s motivation, all climate-related planning begins with a detailed understanding of the emissions that company generates. The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard has created three emissions categories — Scope 1, 2, and 3 — to make GHG emissions accounting more complete and universal.

Source: U.S. EPA

In this post, we’ll focus on understanding Scope 1 emissions and some mitigation strategies available to companies, but you can learn more about Scope 2 emissions here and Scope 3 here.

What Does “Scope 1” Entail?

Scope 1 encompasses the emissions related to on-site energy production like natural gas and fuel, on-site manufacturing, and emissions from fleet vehicles (e.g., cars, vans, trucks, helicopters for hospitals). A shorthand for Scope 1 is “burn” because it includes things your business burns—fuel to heat or power buildings, vehicles, and other equipment. Scope 1 also includes accidental or fugitive emissions like chemical and refrigerant leaks and spills.

Let’s consider a company that manufactures metal cans. Perhaps they use natural gas to power their on-site industrial manufacturing facilities and the boilers that heat their factories, and they own a number of diesel-powered trucks that take their metal cans to their customers’ warehouses. All of these activities would be accounted for under the company’s Scope 1 emissions.

Mitigating Scope 1 Emissions

Once Scope 1 emissions have been fully documented, the name of the game becomes “reduction.” There are a number of potential ways to cut Scope 1 emissions, including:

  • Switching to more energy efficiency equipment
  • Opting for electric-powered equipment (where available)  
  • Streamlining manufacturing processes to reduce energy needs
  • Upgrading facilities to prevent wasted energy and heat/cooling
  • Switching to electric HVAC systems
  • Reducing fleet transportation miles by finding more efficient routes
  • Switching to electric fleet vehicles (where available)

Some of these reduction solutions are relatively straightforward and cost-effective. Others, like switching to electric air transportation, are simply out of reach at this time. When a company finds themselves in this situation, they have the option to financially support sustainable activities in other industries to offset the impact of their own operations until more environmentally-friendly alternatives are directly available to them.

EarnDLT allows companies to do exactly that. Our platform for quantified emissions makes it easy for companies to purchase verified low-emissions data from responsible energy producers. These producers’ processes generate fewer GHG emissions than traditional energy production, creating an opportunity for companies to buy these emissions reductions and count them against their own Scope 1 emissions reductions efforts.    

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