Businesses play a critical role in climate action. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting is a way for companies to monitor their impact, understand how their day-to-day operations contribute to climate change, and identify opportunities to improve. This article will provide an overview of Scope 1 GHG emissions reporting, detailing what it is, who is expected to do it, and tips to simplify the process.
What Does Scope 1 Reporting Entail?
Scope 1 encompasses emissions a company directly controls. It includes fuel for their vehicles, fleets, machinery, power used to run, heat, and cool offices, factories, and other facilities. Scope 1 is easy to quantify, and arguably the area businesses can have the most significant impact.
Tracking and reporting these metrics are the most fundamental aspects of GHG emissions reporting. Recognizing areas where improvements can be made is the first step. Measuring progress over time informs on the success of various initiatives to reduce and mitigate impact.
Energy efficiency is often the first line of defense. However, many companies have taken a more sweeping approach, converting their fleets to electric power and buildings to renewable energy, and replacing machines with more energy-efficient models. Emissions data must be collected—ideally using software designed for the purpose—and compiled according to GHG Protocol (or equivalent international) standards and reported annually (due by March 31 for the previous calendar year).
Companies Currently Reporting Scope 1 Emissions
Scope 1 reporting is mandatory for many types of companies. This includes companies that are publicly traded, federally regulated, or fall under a specific industrial category. Power plants, refineries, chemical manufacturers, mines, waste management services, landfills, paper mills, universities, food processing plants, and the military are all examples of organizations that must track and report Scope 1 emissions.
Scope 1 Reporting Tips for EHS Professionals
Scope 1 emissions are relatively easy to track and can be controlled (to a certain extent). A company’s awareness of Scope 1 metrics informs organizational change by allowing leaders to visualize progress toward net zero. There are four categories tracked under Scope 1.
- Process emissions: emissions, fumes, CO2, etc., released during manufacturing
- Fugitive emissions: greenhouse gas leaks from refrigeration and AC
- Stationary combustion: emissions from heat sources
- Mobile combustion: all fuel-burning vehicles controlled by the company
Much of the data for these different categories is held within various departments or can be calculated with a reliable degree of certainty. Many companies use specialized software to automate and simplify the data collection and reporting process.
Generally, these calculations are initiated by a company requesting utility information from their partnering agencies. The information is usually provided in spreadsheets. It is then the initial company’s responsibility to fact-check that data, request updates, and communicate that information to investors through reports. EHS professionals can utilize software applications to streamline this complex and time-consuming process. Integrated modules can help companies better organize their data for Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions. Such tools offer a comprehensive range of capabilities in a single platform so that companies can create easier workflows and become more aware, efficient, and transparent with their emissions data.
Practical Concerns and Tips for EHS Professionals
Every company is unique in both the scope and complexity of operations. Choosing a configurable reporting tool is essential for guaranteeing accuracy in reports. The following is a list of practical considerations for companies to look for when assessing ESG data management software to handle Scope 1 calculations and reporting.
Users should be able to set custom categories (e.g., fugitive emissions, water consumption, waste generated by location, etc.) to make data sorting and tracking easier.
2. Highly Relevant Data
Time-stamped responses attached to each metric keep discussions separate and relevant to the information as it is viewed.
3. Track Progress Over Time
The ability to compare data over time is an important functionality. For example, when configurable templates and notifications automatically alert users to significant value changes from one report to the next, this eliminates the need to spend time sifting through files and previous reports to perform inefficient data analysis.
4. Easy Onboarding with Templates
The implementation of ESG reporting software typically requires configuring the system with common scoping concerns (e.g., water use, utility consumption, fuel, gas mileage, etc.). Templates and questionnaires that are prepopulated with organizational data (such as facilities, locations, and employee contact information) accelerate form completion and allow EHS practitioners to spend less time on administrative tasks.
5. Pre-Scheduled Reporting
Data capture scheduling helps teams keep regular reports. Schedules can be set to repeat at a specified frequency, ensuring stakeholders always have the most current data.
6. Highly Secure
Reports should be able to be assigned to individuals based on role and access level or designated as requiring secondary approval to encourage accountability.
7. Share and Communicate
Links or downloads to read-only reports in multiple formats should be available for export so that users can easily communicate relevant metrics to investors and other stakeholders.
8. External Integration
ESG reporting software should accommodate external APIs with third-party vendors, such as utility companies or waste management, to automate data capture.
Scope 1 GHG emissions reporting can be complex with the complications that naturally arise when transferring, verifying, and communicating data across organizations. These action points can be incorporated into simplified workflows with the assistance of configurable software. EHS professionals who have been tasked with performing this essential first step in the journey to a more sustainable and prosperous future do not have to be overwhelmed with the intricacies of Scope 1 reporting.
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While the objectives of the RAG are varied, the primary public-facing outcome will be available through engaging and practical content found on the SafetyStratus resource pages. Various articles, papers, and other valuable resources will be produced and shared as part of an ongoing effort to cultivate a robust community. Ultimately, the SafetyStratus RAG will expand to have a broader reach and provide opportunities for more inclusion by all interested EHS professionals in a collaborative community environment.