Are you ready for Scope 3 emissions reporting?

- March 03, 2022

The starting gun for the race to zero has sounded and organisations worldwide are hurtling towards the finish line. The 2050 target may sound a long way off, but to achieve this, emissions need to be halved by 2030, which is less than a decade away. In the business planning cycle, this may as well be tomorrow.


To achieve this, organisations are being asked to look at reducing their direct footprint and also take responsibility for supply chain emissions as well. 


Enter Scope 3 emissions! 


The world of GHG emissions reporting is complex and with many organisations still getting to grip with accurately measuring Scope 1 and 2, putting together a plan to reduce Scope 3 emissions can feel like a stretch.  


So, what does it all mean? 


Defining scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions 


Put simply… Scope 1 is defined as direct emissions, which includes company owned buildings and equipment. 


Scope 2 covers indirect emissions created by electricity and energy the company uses, such as heating and cooling. 


Scope 3 relates to supply chain emissions, created by activities and purchased services such as employee travel, transport & distribution, waste, and in some cases, leased assets. Any emissions created by assets that are not owned or controlled by the company are classed as Scope 3. 


What’s required on Scope 3? 


Today, Scope 3 emissions reporting is voluntary but with EU legislation increasingly focussed on corporate accountability, it’s not likely to remain this way for long. 


Regulation aside, most organisations realise that in order to plan the transition to net zero, they need a clear view on their total emissions footprint.  


Scope 3 emissions are a big part of the picture – on average they account for 5.5 times the direct emissions a company creates. But because Scope 3 emissions are created along an organisation’s value chain they can be hard to track. Especially for companies with a long supply chain, which can be difficult to influence.  


How do IT assets contribute to company emissions? 


Digital technologies account for 3.7% of total global greenhouse emissions and this is predicted to double by 2025. Enterprise IT is a significant contributor and with hybrid working sparking a technology boom, this impact is only set to grow. 


Most emissions attributed to IT devices are created in the manufacture of the product, with transport, usage and end-of-life disposal also adding up. 


The average employee now uses 2.4 devices, up from 2.1 pre-pandemic, so companies with a net zero ambition need to quickly understand the impact of these devices and find a more sustainable approach.  


A circular approach to IT procurement 


We advocate using technology-as-a-service, where devices are procured, managed, and then repaired and re-used, rather than hitting landfill after their first lifecycle.  


This requires a fundamental shift from outright ownership to an IT procurement model that prioritises access to the latest technology. By acquiring IT devices on a contract-basis, a business kick-starts a process that builds in greener outcomes from the outset. Secure and sustainable device refurbishment and renewal is included free with the service, ensuring businesses have a plan to achieve reduce emissions that is built into the IT strategy.  


Every time a device is reused it displaces the manufacturer of a new one and spreads its carbon footprint across multiple users. 


Measuring the impact 


Data from our refurbishing centres shows that simply by adopting a circular approach to IT, a business with 250 employees could avoid CO2 emissions equivalent to flying around the circumference of the world 11 times.  


By adopting a Technology Lifecycle Management approach, businesses are able to make sustainable choices at every stage of the device lifecycle, ensuring the emissions impact of their IT operations is minimised. 


As leased assets, it is possible that IT devices become classed as Scope 3. The challenge is that the technology supply chain is long and complex, and the practices of global manufacturers, lessors and logistics providers can be hard to track and influence. 


We help our customers to clearly measure emissions avoided across the IT asset lifecycle. We offer an advanced IT asset management platform that provides clear and transparent reporting capabilities. When our customers send us their used devices to be refurbished, we can provide a detailed environmental report that helps to track their positive carbon impact. 


We also recently launched a new tool that calculates the total CO2e avoidance that can achieve by adopting a more sustainable IT asset management strategy. The Sustainable IT Calculator is available to any business wishing to quantify the environmental impact of the business-critical IT that it deploys.  


Together with our customers, we’re proud to be making a contribution to the race to zero. Alongside our own net zero commitments, we now have more than 2.2 million devices under management and last year, we processed more than half a million IT devices through our refurbishing centres. 98% of devices returned to us at the end of contract were resold, giving new life to IT devices that would otherwise be replaced with new ones. It shows net zero really is in reach, if we work together to implement simple, sustainable business solutions. 


Do you need help to map and reduce your IT emissions? Speak to one of our experts today.


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