Scope 1 Emissions – an Introduction

Scope 1 Emissions | CircularTree | CCF

Addressing climate change is a universal priority that affects everyone. The global community is united in their concern for the environment and the urgency of taking action.

Companies increasingly recognize their role in mitigating climate change across various sectors regardless of size. They understand that reducing emissions within their operations and throughout their supply chains is crucial for building a sustainable future and adapting to changing environmental conditions. 

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, established by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), offers a standardized framework for companies to evaluate and disclose their emissions. This framework categorizes emissions into three scopes, with Scope 1 being paramount.

Definition of Scope 1 Emission

Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse gas emissions from sources owned or managed by a company. These emissions occur due to fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, vehicles, and chemical production in owned or managed process equipment. They constitute a substantial part of a company’s total carbon footprint and frequently make up the most significant portion of manufacturing, transportation, and mining emissions.

Scope 1 emissions are easy to quantify and fall under a company’s direct influence, making them a central target for decreasing its carbon footprint.

What Comes Under Scope 1 Emission

Scope 1 emissions encompass direct emissions originating from resources owned or controlled by a company, reflecting activities conducted at the organizational level. These emissions commonly arise from company-operated facilities like factories, offices, or company-owned vehicles.

These emissions are categorized into four main groups:

  1. Stationary combustion: These emissions come from fuels used for heating and from various industrial processes. All fuel types producing greenhouse gas emissions fall within this category.
  1. Mobile combustion: This includes emissions from vehicles owned or controlled by the organization, such as cars, vans, and trucks. 
  1. Fugitive emissions: These refer to leaks of greenhouse gases from equipment like refrigeration and air conditioning units. Refrigerant gases pose significantly higher environmental risks than CO2 emissions, making reporting such emissions very important.
  1. Process emissions: They arise during industrial operations and on-site manufacturing processes, such as the production of CO2 during cement manufacturing or emissions from factory fumes and chemical processes. These emissions necessitate careful monitoring and reporting by companies to lessen their environmental impact.

Efforts to address Scope 1 emissions are crucial for companies aiming to reduce their overall carbon footprint and contribute to environmental sustainability. By identifying and mitigating these direct emissions sources, businesses can significantly combat climate change and promote a greener future.

How To Know If You Are Creating Scope 1 Emission

To know if you are creating Scope 1 emissions, you should look for direct greenhouse gas emissions that originate from sources owned or controlled by your company. These include:

  • Direct emissions that originate from sources owned or controlled by a company. 
  • Greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere due to activities within the company’s physical boundaries.

Scope 1 emissions are crucial to a company’s overall carbon footprint, often constituting the largest emissions in energy-intensive sectors like manufacturing, transportation, and mining. Even in less energy-intensive industries, direct emissions can significantly impact the environment.

Scope 1 emissions always fall within a company’s direct control. Implementing changes in operations, such as enhancing energy efficiency or transitioning to cleaner fuels, can directly reduce these emissions.

If your company directly pays for fuel or owns the asset responsible for emissions, it falls under Scope 1 emissions, which should be included in your GHG or greenhouse gas inventory. This applies to businesses with a physical presence, such as stores, factories, offices, and company-owned vehicles and equipment. 

For companies with extensive physical infrastructure, like real estate firms or manufacturers with multiple factories, Scope 1 emissions constitute a significant portion of their CCF or Corporate Carbon Footprint.

However, certain emissions sources are not categorized under Scope 1. 

Assets or equipment supporting your organization’s activities that you do not own or control are not included under Scope 1 emissions.  

Also, purchased energy consumed on-site but produced elsewhere is not included under Scope 1 emissions. Only fuels directly burned by your business are classified as Scope 1 emissions.

Calculating Scope 1 Emission

Accurate measurement and reporting of Scope 1 emissions are critical for effective management. Here is a list of the key steps to calculate Scope 1 emission. 

Identify Emission Sources: Identify and categorize all direct emissions sources, including fuel consumption, energy use, and other relevant activities.

Collect Data: Accurate data collection is vital for calculating emissions. This involves gathering information on fuel consumption, energy usage, and other relevant parameters from various sources within the organization.

Calculate Emissions: Emissions can be calculated from the data using proven procedures stipulated by recognized bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Set Reduction Targets: Based on the emissions data, organizations can set ambitious reduction targets aligned with their sustainability goals. Such moves can help incentivize efforts to embrace cleaner energy sources, boost energy efficiency, and integrate sustainable practices.

Implement Mitigation Strategies: To effectively reduce Scope 1 emissions, companies must implement various strategies such as investing in renewable energy, adopting electric vehicles, improving energy management systems, and optimizing production processes.

Scope 1 emissions play a pivotal role in corporate sustainability efforts. Organizations can significantly progress in shrinking their carbon footprint by understanding and addressing these direct emissions. Prioritizing the measurement, reporting, and mitigation of Scope 1 emissions is crucial to pave the way toward a sustainable future for the coming generations.

Actions for Reducing Scope 1 Emission

To reduce Scope 1 emissions, consider implementing the following strategies:

Reduce energy consumption: Implement energy-efficient practices and technologies to lower overall energy usage within your operations.

Switch to renewable energy: Invest in renewable energy sources like solar, wind, or hydroelectric power to replace fossil fuels and decrease reliance on non-renewable resources.

Improve energy management systems: Identify areas for improvement and efficiency gains. Implement robust energy management systems to monitor and optimize energy usage.

Optimize production processes: Enhance manufacturing processes to minimize emissions from industrial activities, such as optimizing equipment, improving process efficiency, and reducing waste.

Adopt electric vehicles: Move from conventional vehicles to electric alternatives to reduce emissions from mobile combustion and promote sustainable transportation practices.

Provide support to suppliers: Collaborate with suppliers to encourage the adoption of more sustainable production practices.

Carbon offsetting: Consider purchasing carbon offsets to neutralize any remaining emissions that cannot be eliminated through internal mitigation efforts. These offsets can support forest preservation, energy efficiency initiatives, or landfill methane capture.

By implementing these strategies, your company can reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to broader global efforts to combat climate change.


Reducing a company’s Scope 1 emissions is a key stride towards sustainability. Beyond being responsible guardians of the environment for future generations, it’s also about strengthening business operations in an ever-evolving landscape. The journey commences with understanding the nuances of Scope 1 emissions and evaluating the carbon footprint accurately. Formulating a strategy to realize them while persevering with your efforts is imperative. By remaining unwaveringly committed to scope 1 emission reduction, you can position your business for continued success amidst changing dynamics.