Scope 3 Reductions Key for Credible Net Zero Strategies

A new swell of Net Zero commitments has, unsurprisingly, been swiftly followed by questions of greenwashing. These are based on three key criticisms:

  1. Lack of details on the plan to get to long-term targets
  2. Lack of near-term actions and accountability
  3. Lack of value chain commitment and/or misuse of market mechanisms

In some cases, greenwashing claims are merited. In others, companies may lack the data, tools, or expertise to create best practice strategies with detailed plans to achieve them. The limiting factor for many companies underpinning all three is the complex challenge of Scope 3, or value chain emissions.

Value chain emissions are often the largest source of corporate carbon footprints, yet to date have been the lowest area of focus for most companies because of these common barriers:

  • Limited access to supplier emissions data
  • Lack of guidance on how to account for reductions from investments in supply chains
  • Minimal incentives to invest in meaningful change beyond direct operations

ValueChange aims to remove these barriers to driving down Scope 3 emissions, enabling companies to set and achieve ambitious Net Zero targets. Companies seeking to reduce upstream emissions can introduce interventions within their ‘supply shed,’ that is, among a group of suppliers that provide a common set of goods/services connected to that company's value chain.

ValueChange aims to remove barriers to driving down value chain emissions and enable companies to set and achieve ambitious Net Zero targets.

ValueChange supports companies in properly drawing boundaries, conservatively accounting for missing data, and credibly quantifying the climate impact of that intervention. This generates lower Emissions Factors for their purchased goods and services they report in their GHG inventories.

Having tested versions of core guidance in real-world practical applications via working groups focused on the Food & Beverage and Apparel sectors, the ValueChange coalition has now published final Value Chain Interventions: Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting Guidance.

The guidance is now applying for ‘Built on GHG Protocol’ status and is already accepted toward reporting progress toward Science Based Targets.

Future work will address the unique challenges of other sectors, including finance, technology, transport and pulp & paper, as well as the use of market-based mechanisms in Scope 3 projects. This is expected include innovative approaches among multiple companies working to introduce improvements in a common sourcing area with an aim to catalyse deep reductions through collective action at the larger landscape level.

About ValueChange

The Value Change Initiative is a multi-stakeholder forum hosted by Gold Standard and SustainCERT, working to remove barriers to address and account for Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions to drive action at scale. The Value Change Initiative creates consensus-driven guidance, tools, and resources to help companies tackle their climate impact up and down their value chains, creating value for their business, their partners and our global society.

If you would like to join the Value Change Initiative or hear more, send us an email at platform@goldstandard.org.




Innovation-Solution Category: ValueChange
Media Category: Opinion
Event Dates: Monday, May 10, 2021