Home » What are Scope 1 emissions and why are they important?

What are Scope 1 emissions and why are they important?

Scope 1 emissions are part of the greenhouse emissions inventory according to the measurement and reporting standard of the GHG protocol (Greenhouse Gas Protocol). 

A large part of the company’s climate impact consists of greenhouse gas emissions, of which the most significant are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The most used standard for measuring and reporting greenhouse emissions is the GHG protocol, where emissions are divided into three different categories: scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3. 

GHG protocol

The GHG protocol is a global standard for measuring and managing greenhouse emissions. The GHG protocol unifies the calculation and reporting of emissions, which ensures uniform implementation of companies’ emission calculations and to some extent enables the comparison of results.  

According to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, emissions are divided into three different categories:  

  • Scope 1 includes all direct greenhouse emissions from the company’s own operations 
  • Scope 2 includes greenhouse emissions caused by the production of energy (electricity, heat, steam and district cooling) purchased and consumed in the company’s operations 
  • Scope 3 includes other indirect greenhouse emissions related to the company’s operations, such as business travel, waste handling and primary production of purchases. Scope 3 contains 15 different emission categories. 

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What about Scope 1 emissions? 

Scope 1 emissions consist of the company’s direct emissions caused by resources owned or controlled by the company. Scope 1 class emissions are generated directly because of the company’s operations, and these are the easiest ones for a company to control.  

Scope 1 emission sources

The emission sources are direct emissions from the company’s own operations: 

  1. Process emissions. Process emissions refer to direct greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane emissions from anaerobic fermentation or natural gas flaring, generated in the company’s operations. 
  1. Own energy production. If the company produces operational energy either for its own use or that of other operators, the emissions resulting from energy production are included in the scope 1 emissions of the reporting company. 
  2. Fuel consumption. Emissions caused by fuel consumption in machines, equipment and vehicles owned or managed by the company. 
  3. Fugitive emissions. Fugitive emissions are so-called leak emissions, which are caused, for example, because of pipe and equipment leaks. Fugitive emissions occur not only in industry but also in ordinary home and office conditions, such as, for example, malfunctioning refrigerators and air conditioners. Fugitive emissions can be reduced or completely avoided by taking care of the equipment’s condition and maintenance appropriately and by repairing or replacing malfunctioning equipment. 
  4. Scope 1 emissions therefore include greenhouse gas emissions directly caused by the company’s own operations. Since emissions are generated because of the company’s own operations, it is also the easiest to influence them. 

Calculation of Scope 1 emissions

When calculating Scope 1 emissions, it is essential to identify the direct emissions of one’s own operations. In terms of identifying emissions, it is important to define the organizational boundaries of the reporting company.  

The organizational boundary determines which emissions are the company’s own and indirect (scope 1&2) emissions related to energy consumption, and which are value chain (scope 3) emissions. Organizational demarcation is done in accordance with the GHG protocol either based on the company’s capital share or management. 

After identifying the Scope 1 emission sources, the consumption figures for the reporting year necessary for the calculation are collected. If direct consumption figures, such as liters of fuel consumed during the year, are not available, the calculation can be made based on secondary data sources, such as kilometers driven during the year. 

In terms of calculation, it is also essential to identify and determine the appropriate emission factor for each emission source. The most accurate calculation result is achieved by using supplier-specific emission coefficients, but if emission data is not available from the supplier, emission coefficients available from public or commercial data sources can also be used in the calculation. 

Ecobio’s experts are happy to help you with all questions related to greenhouse gases and their monitoring and reporting.