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Managing and reducing your Scope 3 emissions

By Hannah Morris
10th September 2020

In partnership with sustainability publisher, edie, we hosted a webinar to discuss how to manage and reduce your organisation’s Scope 3 (indirect) emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, featuring insight from Pukka Herbs’ sustainability manager Vicky Murray.

During the hour-long session, joining Vicky was Danielle Mulder and Annabell James from Carbon Intelligence who broke down the role of Scope 3 emissions within the science-based targets movement and explored why more and more businesses are accounting for these emissions in their climate strategies.

The panel also provided practical advice on measuring, reporting on and reducing Scope 3 emissions across the value chain, whatever the size and sector of your organisation. The team discussed how to take control of your upstream and downstream supply chain emissions, and the tools and techniques required to effectively gather and act upon Scope 3 emissions data.  Watch the one hour masterclass here.


Key discussion points:

  • Factoring Scope 3 emissions into your net-zero carbon strategy
  • Understanding the Science Based Targets Initiative’s Scope 3 reporting requirements
  • Taking control of your upstream and downstream supply chain emissions
  • The tools and techniques to effectively gather and act upon Scope 3 emissions data


What is Scope 3? 

Simply put, Scope 3 refers to all of the indirect carbon emissions which occur in an organisation’s value chain, which do not relate to the generation of purchased energy. Whilst Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions tend to sit within the organisation, Scope 3 typically sits outside – both upstream and downstream.

Because Scope 3 carbon emissions are so wide-ranging in what they encompass, and vary so significantly for different types of organisation, they are the most complex part of

an organisation’s emissions.


Why Scope 3 matters



Many organisations report that 80% of their emissions fall under the auspices of Scope 3 and, for some, Scope 3 accounts for as much as 97% of their overall emissions. This makes the topic a critical one to address in the transition to net-zero.

“Arguably, if you aren’t addressing your Scope 3 emissions, you aren’t addressing your emissions at all.” Danielle Mulder, Associate Director, Carbon Intelligence.

Key to success within Scope 3:

  • Collaborate – you can’t do this on your own.
  • Data is king – science plus technology.
  • Be ambitious – leaders will be the winners.

Scope 3 transparency and accuracy is key to a successful carbon strategy. The key benefits it provides includes cost reduction and operational efficiencies, and an opportunity to new markets and products. To do this, you’re going to need data accuracy on your emissions exposure to avoid expensive offsets. 

How to calculate Scope 3 emissions

The process of measuring emissions depends on multiple factors including the size and location of the organisation, as well as the sector it operates within. Each sector has its own specific impacts on the environment and its emissions. Therefore, the first step in calculating emissions is to establish which of the 15 categories are material to its business. The 15 Scope 3 categories include:


  1. Purchased goods and services
  2. Capital goods
  3. Fuel – and energy-related activities
  4. Upstream transportation and distribution 
  5. Waste generated in operations
  6. Business travel
  7. Employee commuting 
  8. Upstream leased assets


  1. Downstream transportation and distribution
  2. Processing of sold products
  3. Use of sold products
  4. End-of-life treatment of sold products 
  5. Downstream leased assets 
  6. Franchises 


Three tips from Pukka Herbs from their Scope 3 journey

In October 2018, organic herbal tea and supplement company, Pukka Herbs’ science-based emission target was approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). It committed to become zero carbon in its own operations, in line with a 1.5C warming scenario or below.

Pukka also committed to reduce Scope 3 emissions from crop to cup by 50% per million units of product by 2030 from a 2017 base-year. To achieve this, Pukka will have a particular focus on engaging with top suppliers and targeting emissions reductions from the boiling of kettles. 

Throughout the journey to carbon zero, Vicky Murray, Sustainability Manager at Pukka Herbs summarises her top 3 tips she has learnt along the way. 


Tip #1 How to get started: Build a business case for Scope 3 climate action

“My first tip for putting  Scope 3 on your company’s agenda is to link it to how you do business, and the purpose of your company. Taking climate action in Scope 3 is a commitment, but is 100% necessary.” Vicky Murray, Sustainability Manager, Pukka Herbs. 


Tip #2 Understand your baseline + set science based targets

“Working with the team at Carbon Intelligence, we have been able to understand our baseline which has allowed us to prioritise action and set our science based targets.” Vicky Murray, Pukka Herbs. We presented a road map to Pukka to achieve the 1.5C targets to  Pukka’s Strategic Sustainability Group which led to achieving sign-off for ambitious targets to become zero carbon by 2030.




Tip #3 Prioritise activity + partner for change

“Once you know your whole Scope picture, it allows you to prioritise activity and partner for change, as there is no way that any of us can do any of this alone.” Vicky Murray, Pukka Herbs. 


The webinar ended with a discussion about presenting the business case for measurement, double counting and ultimately understanding where to start with Scope 3. We will discuss these areas in future insights, please follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter for updates. Watch the one hour masterclass here. In addition to the webinar, we have also partnered with edie to publish a guide which details what businesses need to know to measure and act on Scope 3 emissions. Find the guide here.

If you would like to know more about how we can help your company calculate, report and ultimately reduce your Scope 3 emissions to achieve your sustainability goals please email info@carbon.ci


Further resources