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The Basics of Scope 1 Emissions: What You Need to Know

Scope 1 Emissions

In order to understand climate change and the role of industry in it, it’s important to first understand the basics of greenhouse gases. In this blog post, we will discuss Scope 1 emissions. What are they? How do they contribute to climate change? And what can companies do to reduce their direct emissions? Stay tuned for more information!

What are Scope 1 emissions?

Scope 1 emissions come directly from a company’s own sources. This can include things like on-site combustion, fugitive emissions, and vehicle tailpipes. In contrast, scope 2 emissions are those that come from the electricity that a company uses, while scope 3 emissions are those that come from upstream and downstream supply chains.

While all three types of emissions are important to consider, scope 1 emissions are often seen as being the most controllable since they come from sources that a company has direct control over. As such, reducing scope 1 emissions is often seen as one of the most effective ways to reduce a company’s overall carbon footprint.

How do Scope 1 emissions contribute to climate change?

Scope 1 emissions - Carbon Dioxide and Other greenhouse gases

Scope 1 emissions are carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted directly by an organization through its own activities. These emissions come from a variety of sources, including burning fossil fuels for energy, manufacturing products, and operating machinery.

While the exact impact of Scope 1 emissions on climate change depends on a number of factors, such as the type of gas emitted and the efficiency of the emitting process, it is clear that these emissions contribute to the warming of the planet.

In addition to their direct impact on the atmosphere, Scope 1 emissions also contribute to climate change indirectly by damaging ecosystems and causing air pollution. As a result, reducing Scope 1 emissions is an important part of mitigating climate change.

What can companies do to reduce their emissions?

Carbon Neutral vs Net Zero

There are a number of things that companies can do to reduce their Scope 1 emissions:

Switch to cleaner energy sources

Switching to cleaner energy sources is one way for companies to reduce their Scope 1 emissions. This could involve investing in renewable energy, such as solar or wind power. Alternatively, it could mean switching to natural gas instead of coal or oil. Cleaner energy sources are important because they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. This can help to reduce air pollution and slow the rate of climate change.

Additionally, using cleaner energy sources can be less expensive in the long run because they often have lower operating costs. As a result, making the switch to cleaner energy sources is a win-win for companies and the environment.

Improve energy efficiency

Implementing better insulation and lighting in buildings can help improve energy efficiency for companies. This could involve making changes to manufacturing processes or encouraging employees to carpool or use public transportation. Taking these measures can help reduce Scope 1 emissions for businesses.

Choose low-emission suppliers

Choosing suppliers that have low emissions can be a great way for companies to reduce their Scope 1 emissions. This is because, by definition, Scope 1 emissions are those that come from the company’s own direct activities. However, indirect emissions, like those from suppliers, can also have a significant impact.

By choosing suppliers with low emissions, companies can make a real difference in their overall environmental footprint. Additionally, working with suppliers that are committed to reducing emissions can help to create a culture of sustainability within the company and encourage other employees to make more environmentally friendly choices.

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Invest in carbon removal technologies

Carbon removal technologies are a process of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in a safe place. This can be done through direct air capture, which involves sucking in air and filtering out the carbon dioxide, or through plant-based methods, such as enhancing photosynthesis or planting trees.

Carbon removal technology is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to be a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. By investing in carbon removal technologies, companies can offset their emissions and help to create a cleaner future.

By taking these steps, companies can significantly reduce their impact on the environment.


In order to effectively reduce your organization’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is important to first understand the basics of Scope 1 emissions. As defined by the GHG Protocol, Scope 1 emissions are those that are emitted directly from sources that are owned or controlled by your organization. Common examples of Scope 1 emissions include fuel combustion from on-site generators and vehicles, as well as fugitive emissions from refrigerants and other chemicals.

In contrast, Scope 2 emissions refer to those that result from the generation of electricity, heat, or steam that is purchased by your organization from off-site sources. While both types of emissions need to be addressed in order to achieve significant reductions, Scope 1 emissions offer a great opportunity for organizations to take direct action to reduce their impact on the environment. By understanding the basics of Scope 1 emissions, you can make informed decisions about how to best reduce your organization’s greenhouse gas footprint.


How different are scope 1 and scope 3 emissions?

Greenhouse gas emissions can be divided into three categories, known as “scopes.” Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from own operations, such as burning fossil fuels for energy. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the electricity used by an organization. Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions that occur in an organization’s supply chain or value chain, such as the production processes of raw materials, waste disposal, and refrigerant gases. Organizations can reduce their total emissions by reducing their scope 1 and 3 emissions. The most common way to do this is through process changes, such as switching to renewable energy sources or using more efficient equipment. Additionally, many organizations are working with their suppliers to reduce emissions throughout their supply chains. By taking action to reduce their scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, organizations can make a significant contribution to fighting climate change.

What is the role of a reporting company in reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

A reporting company has two main roles in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. First, it is responsible for creating an emissions inventory, which is a comprehensive list of all the sources of GHG emissions from the company’s direct and indirect activities. Second, the company must report its total GHG emissions to the GHG Protocol – an international accounting standard for GHG emissions. This information is used to calculate the company’s “emissions intensity”, which is a measure of how much GHG is emitted per unit of output. By reducing its emissions intensity, a company can reduce its overall GHG emissions. There are many ways to reduce emissions intensity, including improving energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy sources, and reducing waste.

Are carbon emissions the same as GHG emissions?

No, carbon emissions and GHG emissions are not the same. Carbon emissions refer to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while GHG emissions include all greenhouse gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. According to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, GHG accounting must include both process emissions (emissions from industrial processes) and scope emissions (emissions from mobile combustion and company-owned air conditioning units).

In addition, companies may also be indirectly responsible for GHG emissions from the production of goods and services they consume, such as cement manufacturing and purchased energy. As a result, businesses must convert their direct purchases into downstream emissions in order to accurately account for their total GHG footprint.

How can an individual reduce his carbon footprint?

There are a number of things an individual can do to reduce his or her carbon footprint. One is to be mindful of the significant carbon emissions associated with the direct burning of fuel, whether it be for transportation, cooling or heating homes, or producing electricity. Another way to reduce one’s carbon footprint is to purchase items that do not require the use of electricity or steam heat, which often rely on burning fossil fuels. Finally, consider investing in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. These generate far fewer carbon emissions than traditional forms of energy production. By taking these simple steps, we can all help to reduce our impact on the environment.

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