EMAS helps climate reporting along the value chain
Climate reporting emerges as an area that is frequently in the spotlight when it comes to an organisation’s environmental performance. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) first established in 2001 is the most widely used international accounting tool for quantifying and measuring greenhouse gas emissions. When using this tool an organisation lists all greenhouse gas emissions resulting from its activities as well as information on the management’s approach to reduce them. The organisation will also provide information on how it is being affected by climate change and intends to cope with it. This information can be especially important to investors, insurance companies and clients. With its Key Performance Indicator (KPI) on emissions EMAS can provide organisations with a good basis for delivering the necessary data.
The GHG Protocol breaks greenhouse gas emissions down into three categories:
- SCOPE 1 emissions are defined as those caused directly by an organisation’s activities while,
- SCOPE 2 emissions count indirect emissions resulting from an organisation’s energy consumption.
With the help of emission factors scope 1 and 2 emissions can be determined relatively easily using the organisation’s utility bills and fuel expenses. In contrast, reporting on SCOPE 3 emissions may present organisations with a challenge. Defined as all other indirect emissions, caused along an organisation’s value chain these emissions are often hard to track - especially if their value chain is long. Since the organisation is not emitting these emissions itself it can be difficult to obtain the necessary information. At the same time the organisation has less influence on reducing these emissions.
Yet, scope 3 emissions often account for most an organisation’s emissions and should be closely examined. EMAS registered organisations report on significant direct and indirect environmental aspects and consider emissions created along their value chain in their continuous improvement process. They are therefore in a good position to deliver profound climate reporting data, including scope 3 emissions.
To identify best practice examples of reporting on scope 3 emissions the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), CDP (formerly the "Carbon Disclosure Project") and the consultancy Ecofys are currently organising an open competition inviting all German or German-speaking organisations to submit their methods for reporting on scope 3 emissions. The best examples will be published and presented during a conference in November. Initiatives such as this can contribute to facilitate the climate reporting for organisations along their value chain. We look forward to seeing the contributions of EMAS registered organisations!