Greenhouse Gas Emissions Scope 3: Upstream and Downstream Emissions

Is Your Business Ready to Measure and Report Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Whether your company is just beginning to consider the benefits of getting involved in green energy segments or you’re a current player seeking to expand your markets, it will be important to have an understanding of the role of greenhouse gas emissions.

The first article in this four-part series covered basic information about greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Now we take a deep dive into measuring and accounting for greenhouse gas emissions.

Three different types of emissions, called “scopes,” are commonly used to delineate direct and indirect sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The first steps in a GHG inventory include understanding the three different types of emissions and current practices, setting boundaries, and deciding on a model for evaluating emissions.

What’s inside

Scope 3 emissions, the subject of this article, include for the same six GHGs that are inventoried in Scope 1 and Scope 2. What’s different is where they appear in the product’s value stream. Upstream emissions are emitted during the acquisition and preprocessing of materials and supplies. Downstream emissions are associated with distribution and storage of goods, their use and how they are dealt with at their end of life. The GHG Protocol categorizes Scope 3 emissions into 15 categories split between upstream and downstream emissions.

This article covers the

  • What are the business benefits of inventorying Scope 3 emissions?
  • How do you calculate Scope 3 emissions?
  • How do you avoid double counting?
  • How can companies reduce Scope 3 emissions?

Why it matters

With emerging economic opportunities and the possibility of new regulations in this arena, it is important to have an understanding of the steps involved in measuring and reporting GHG emissions.


Jillian Blanchard

Jillian Blanchard

Senior Manager, Energy Compliance Services


As part of Weaver’s Energy Compliance Services team, Jill uses her knowledge of production process technology and environmental regulations to…

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