Scope 3 Calculation Guidance

New guidance makes corporate value chain accounting easier

GHG Protocol has released extensive new guidance for calculating value chain (scope 3) emissions. The guidance is freely available to download below.

An effective corporate climate change strategy requires a detailed understanding of a company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Until recently, most companies have focused on measuring emissions from their own operations and electricity consumption, using the GHG Protocol’s scope 1 and scope 2 framework. But what about all of the emissions a company is responsible for outside of its own walls—from the goods it purchases to the disposal of the products it sells?

The Scope 3 Standard, released in late 2011, is the only internationally accepted method for companies to account for these types of value chain emissions. Building on this standard, GHG Protocol has now released a new companion guide that makes it even easier for businesses to complete their scope 3 inventories.

How Can Businesses Use the New Guidance?

Assessing GHG emissions across the entire value chain can be complex. For companies just beginning to assess their scope 3 emissions, it can be difficult to know where to start. This calculation guidance is designed to reduce those barriers by providing detailed, technical guidance on all the relevant calculation methods. It provides information not contained in the Scope 3 Standard, such as:

  • Methods for calculating GHG emissions for each of the 15 categories of scope 3 emissions (such as purchased goods and services, transportation and distribution, and use of sold products);
  • Guidance on selecting the appropriate calculation methods; and
  • Examples to demonstrate each calculation method.

The guidance can help companies understand the full climate change impact of their business throughout its value chain and develop more effective GHG reduction strategies. This increased understanding can benefit the companies themselves, as well as their suppliers, customers, and other value chain partners. The guidance was developed in partnership with the Carbon Trust, whose GHG measurement expertise and practical experience has helped develop calculation guidance that provides a clear and coherent approach to carrying out a scope 3 assessment.

What has changed since the first draft?

A first draft of the calculation guidance was released in late 2011 for public comment. Based on the feedback received, a number of revisions were made to the guidance. These included:

  • Revised decision trees for many of the categories
  • More detail on the calculation methods for category 1 ‘Purchased goods and services’, in particular the ‘hybrid method’
  • More guidance for category 5 ‘Waste generated in operations’, in particular in relation to recycling and waste-to-energy
  • Extended guidance on category 15 ‘Investments’

The guidance for each category of scope 3 emissions can be downloaded separately. Appendix D also contains a table that summarizes the different calculation methods available for each of the categories.


Title Date Size

Scope 3 Calculation Guidance (Full Version)

April 2013 3.50 MB


April 2013 1.75 MB

Category 1 - Purchased goods and services

April 2013 608 KB

Category 2 - Capital goods

April 2013 181 KB

Category 3 - Fuel- and energy-related activities

April 2013 443 KB

Category 4 - Upstream transportation and distribution

October 2013 (Updated) 568 KB

Category 5 - Waste generated in operations

April 2013 477 KB

Category 6 - Business travel

April 2013 413 KB

Category 7 - Employee commuting

April 2013 225 KB

Category 8 - Upstream leased assets

April 2013 235 KB

Category 9 - Downstream transportation and distribution

April 2013 335 KB

Category 10 - Processing of sold products

April 2013 231 KB

Category 11 - Use of sold products

April 2013 288 KB

Category 12 - End-of-life treatment of sold products

April 2013 201 KB

Category 13 - Downstream leased assets

April 2013 172 KB

Category 14 - Franchises

April 2013 229 KB

Category 15 - Investments

April 2013 328 KB

Appendix A - Sampling

April 2013 202 KB

Appendix B - Scenario Uncertainty

April 2013 182 KB

Appendix C - Intensity Metrics

April 2013 173 KB

Appendix D - Summary Tables

April 2013 235 KB