Emissions Scope

The GHG Protocol defines three scopes of emissions: 

  • Scope 1 - Direct GHG emissions are emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company. For example, emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, furnaces and vehicles.
  • Scope 2 - Accounts for GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity by the company.
  • Scope 3 - Optional reporting category that allows for the treatment of all other indirect emissions. They are a consequence of the activities of the company, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company. Some examples include third party deliveries, business travel activities and use of sold products and services.

Some of the activities in Scope 3 will be included under scope 1 if the pertinent emission sources are owned or controlled by the company (e.g., if the transportation of products is done in vehicles owned or controlled by the company). To determine if an activity falls within scope 1 or scope 3, the company should refer to the selected consolidation approach (equity or control) used in setting its organizational boundaries.

  • Extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels
  • Transport-related activities
    • Transportation of purchased materials or goods
    • Transportation of purchased fuels
    • Employee business travel
    • Employees commuting to and from work
    • Transportation of sold products
    • Transportation of waste
  • Electricity-related activities not included in scope 2 (see Appendix A)
    • Extraction, production, and transportation of fuels consumed in the generation of electricity (either purchased or own generated by the reporting company)
    • Purchase of electricity that is sold to an end user (reported by utility company)
    • Generation of electricity that is consumed in a T&D system (reported by end-user)
  • Leased assets, franchises, and outsourced activities—emissions from such contractual arrangements are only classified as scope 3 if the selected consolidation approach (equity or control) does not apply to them. Clarification on the classification of leased assets should be obtained from the company accountant.
  • Use of sold products and services
  • Waste disposal
    • Disposal of waste generated in operations
    • Disposal of waste generated in the production of purchased materials and fuels
    • Disposal of sold products at the end of their life


The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard is designed to prevent double counting of emissions between different
companies within scope 1 and 2. For example, the scope 1 emissions of company A (generator of electricity) can be counted as the scope 2 emissions of company B (end-user of electricity) but company A’s scope 1 emissions cannot be counted as scope 1 emissions by company C (a partner organization of company A) as long as company A and company C consistently apply the same control or equity share approach when consolidating emissions.

Similarly, the definition of scope 2 does not allow double counting of emissions within scope 2, i.e., two different
companies cannot both count scope 2 emissions from the purchase of the same electricity. Avoiding this type
of double counting within scope 2 emissions makes it a useful accounting category for GHG trading programs
that regulate end users of electricity.

When used in external initiatives such as GHG trading, the robustness of the scope 1 and 2 definitions combined
with the consistent application of either the control or equity share approach for defining organizational boundaries
allows only one company to exercise ownership of scope 1 or scope 2 emissions.