An introduction to Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions

Learn how the greenhouse gas (GHG) protocol defines scope 3 emissions and the requirements an organisation needs to follow when reporting their scope 3 emissions.

How are scope 3 emissions defined in the GHG protocol?

The GHG Protocol Scope 3 Standard requires that measurement and reporting of a scope 3 inventory shall be based on relevance, completeness, consistency, transparency and accuracy. This is easier said than done since scope 3 emissions encompass indirect emissions that occur outside of a company’s direct control. 

Scope 3 is often broken down into ‘upstream’ emissions- those that occur within a companies supply chain/before arriving at a company site- and ‘downstream’ emissions, which are emitted following the sale of the product or service by the reporting company. Downstream emissions are likely to be significant for some businesses but can be challenging to quantify because of significant uncertainty. This is an area of focus for Ducky.

What are the requirements to be followed when reporting scope 3 GHG emissions?

There are certain requirements for which scope 3 categories are mandatory for reporting:

  1. Companies shall account for all scope 3 emissions and disclose and justify any exclusions
  2. Companies shall account for emissions for each scope 3 category according to the minimum boundaries provided
  3. Companies shall account for scope 3 emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs and SF6 if emitted in the value chain

It is also important to be aware about the organisational boundaries of the scope, where and how to account for emissions linked to any subsidiaries and their operational, upstream and downstream activities. The three approaches defined in the scope guidelines are:

  1. Financial control: Company accounts for 100% of the GHG emissions over which it has financial control
  2. Operational control: Company accounts for 100% of the GHG emissions over which it has operational control
  3. Equity share: Company accounts for GHG emissions from operations according to its share of equity in the operation

How can Ducky help in all this?

Through our simple API implementations, you can calculate your organisation's GHG emissions through the IT systems you already use. Our scope 3 GHG reporting endpoint uses state-of-the-art climate data encapsulating the entirety of scope 3 emissions. We have referred extensively to the GHG Protocol while formulating our GHG reporting endpoints, which means we confer with all mandatory requirements. Ducky provides continuously updated data, offering high precision, swift implementation, guaranteed maintenance and a lower cost than comparable solutions - integrated into your existing systems. Contact us on to get started!

Head over to our guide on company level emissions reporting to read more about this use case and get started.

See our guide for Scope 3 reporting in the Food and drink sector.

See also our intro to greenhouse gas reporting schemes