4 types of Emissions Reporting

In order to take action to reduce emissions, we need to understand and measure where they are sourced from in the first place.

The four scopes in the GHG protocol corporate standard created by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a way of categorizing the different kinds of emissions a company creates in its own operations and its wider “value chain” (its suppliers and customers).

It has become the dominant accounting methodology for greenhouse gasses and is the world's most widely-used greenhouse gas accounting standard.

There are four types of carbon emissions reporting, where SeenThis mainly addresses scopes 3 and 4. Read more about all four scopes below.[1] [2] [3]


Direct emissions

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stem directly from operations owned or controlled by the reporting company. Examples include factory emissions, production emissions, and emissions stemming from company facilities & vehicles.


Indirect emissions from purchased or acquired energy

Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, from a utility provider - meaning all GHG emissions released in the atmosphere, from the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, heat, and cooling. For most organizations, electricity will be the unique source of scope 2 emissions.


All other indirect emissions

All indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream (supplier) and downstream (customer) emissions. Examples include: business travel, employee commuting, as well as third-party warehousing.


Avoided emissions

These include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions avoided as a result of more efficient goods and services. Emission reductions that happen outside of a product's life cycle or value chain as a result of the use of that product also count for avoided emissions. Scope 4 emissions aren't required to report and do not have a universally accepted standard for measurement.