Rowan tree, close up

Basically, a corporate carbon footprint is made up of two central components:

1. One part is generally described as activity data or consumption data. These are, for example, data such as kilometers traveled per means of transport, electricity or heating fuel consumption, or quantities of goods consumed.

2. On the other hand, there are emission factors. These enable the conversion of activity data into reliable emission values.

What are scope 1, 2, 3 emissions?

According to the internationally recognized Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), a company’s GHG emissions are divided into three scopes. The GHG Protocol requires companies to calculate their Scope 1 and 2 emissions, while Scope 3 emissions are considered voluntary. However, companies that manage to report on all three scopes gain a sustainable competitive advantage.

Scope 1 emissions:

All emissions that are generated directly within the company. In other words, emissions from sources that the company either owns or directly controls. → (for example, through heating systems and company-owned vehicles).

Scope 2 emissions:

All indirect emissions generated for the company’s energy supply (from external sources). In other words, emissions from purchased electricity and thermal energy.

Scope 3 emissions:

All other emissions that arise from the company’s activities but are owned or controlled by a third party. → (for example, due to business travel, employee commuting, waste, etc.).

Why should all 3 scopes be measured?

In most cases, it is the emissions along the value chain that have the greatest impact on greenhouse gas emissions. This is where most of the potential for improvement lies. To make the right decisions in reducing your company’s carbon emissions, Scope 1, 2 and 3 need to be measured and analyzed. 

What is the Greenhouse Gas Protocol?

The GHG Protocol (Greenhouse Gas Protocol) developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is the most widely used international standard. This applies to the collection and presentation of operational CO2e emissions (corporate carbon footprint). The GHG Protocol Standard is internationally recognised as a best practice standard. It is also recommended for national and international CSR reporting.

A corporate carbon footprint comprises the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbon, chlorofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride (GHG Protocol), which are taken into account by the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. Since their respective global warming potentials (GWP) differ considerably, they are converted to CO2 equivalents (CO2e) for the sake of better comparability. The aim of taking all greenhouse gases into account is to provide a meaningful representation of the company’s influence on anthropogenic climate change.

Balancing and reducing GHG emissions is time-consuming, demanding and requires a high level of expertise. Our experts at FORLIANCE will support you – starting with the calculation of your company’s carbon footprint, through the creation of an efficient climate strategy, to the compensation of currently unavoidable emissions. Let us advise you.

Patrick Fortyr Forliance Staff

We look forward to hearing from you

Patrick Fortyr
Senior Manager Climate Strategy


Climate Protection Projects