A Guide to Carbon Emissions Accounting

Posted on Monday, June 26, 2023

In the wake of growing environmental concerns and the desire to impact climate change, governments, corporations and organizations worldwide are increasingly focusing on their carbon footprint. As society strives for a more sustainable future, organizations are enhancing how they evaluate their emissions and are implementing solutions to reduce their carbon footprint.

We can start by developing our understanding of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and how it categorizes emissions into different scopes. 

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol establishes comprehensive global standardized requirements and guidance for companies to use when evaluating their GHG emissions. These standards apply to universities, government agencies and industry associations too. 

The GHG Protocol was developed in the late 1990s when the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) recognized a need for an international standard for reporting GHG emissions. These two groups worked with large companies to develop a report titled “Safe Climate, Sound Business.” This report’s agenda included what we now refer to as the GHG Protocol. The GHG Protocol categorizes carbon emissions into three scopes based on who is directly responsible for the emissions. 

What are Scope 1 Emissions?

Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from sources owned or controlled at your organization. They might come from boilers used to heat your buildings, vehicles used for transportation and distribution or from industrial and manufacturing processes. Scope 1 emissions are the easiest to control as an organization because your company has total control of the actions that produce such emissions. 

Scope 1 emissions are divided into subcategories:
  • Stationary combustion
  • Mobile combustion
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Process emissions

What are Scope 2 Emissions?


Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from sources such as consumed electricity, steam, heating or cooling. The emissions are produced by an outside source, which means your company cannot control the actions leading to those emissions, but your company can reduce how much they rely on carbon-intensive energy sources. For example, if a company can implement ways to use less electricity at the office or manufacturing facility, they have taken a step to reduce their scope 2 emissions. 

What are Scope 3 Emissions?


Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions not produced directly by your company but occur as a result of your company’s activities such as business travel. According to Deloitte, scope 3 emissions account for more than 70% of a business’s carbon footprint. Scope 3 emissions are under the control of suppliers or customers and require significant effort to track in comparison to scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. Scope 3 emissions are divided into 15 subcategories:

1. Purchased goods and services
2. Capital goods
3. Fuel energy-related activities
4. Upstream transportation and distribution
5. Waste generated in operations
6. Business travel
7. Employee commuting
8. Upstream leased assets
9. Downstream transportation and distribution
10. Processing of sold products
11. Use of sold products
12. End-of-life treatment of sold products
13. Downstream leased assets
14. Franchises
15. Investments

Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Technical Guidance for Calculating Scope 3 Emissions

How to Reduce Emissions with Renewable Natural Gas 


While renewable energy options continue to develop, renewable natural gas (RNG) is readily available and is a turnkey solution that can have a significant impact on reaching your organization’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. Kinetrex Energy produces RNG from landfill gas, also referred to as biogas, that naturally develops from decomposing organic waste at landfills. Landfill gas consists of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Kinetrex captures the biogas and upgrades it to RNG, which has the identical chemical composition as fossilized natural gas and matches natural gas pipeline specifications, delivering a renewable energy solution that leverages existing infrastructure. Organizations can transition to RNG for a variety of applications including: 

  • Transportation Fuel: Natural gas vehicles can leverage RNG and displace the use of diesel. RNG is flexible and can be used whether your fleet runs on compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas.
  • Manufacturing & Commercial Applications: RNG is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and leverages existing natural gas infrastructure, providing you with a renewable option wherever traditional natural gas is used, such as manufacturing processes that utilize boilers, reactors or heat exchangers.
Our RNG solution is simple, proven and reliable. Let’s start a conversation about how we can work together and start reducing your company’s emissions today.

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