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Scope 1: GHG Protocol Guide

Summary

The GHG Protocol is an essential global standard for assessing and managing corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Divided into three "scopes", it identifies organizations' direct emissions.
Scope 1, in particular, concerns emissions generated directly by company activities, such as fuel combustion or process emissions.
The protocol proposes methodologies and emission factors to ensure the accuracy of carbon footprints. Its transparent and flexible approach sets it apart from other standards, facilitating its worldwide adoption. Universally recognized, it guides emission reduction efforts and serves as the basis for other regional standards.
By embracing the principles of the GHG Protocol, companies can not only improve their own carbon footprint, but also contribute to the global effort to combat climate change.
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Introduction

Growing awareness of climate issues has led to the creation of standards to measure and manage GHG emissions. The GHG Protocol stands out as the global reference in this field. Discover the specificities of the "Scope 1" of the GHG Protocol and the differences of this standard compared to the others.

A man reading the GHG protocol guide

What is the GHG Protocol?

The GHG Protocol or Greenhouse Gas Protocol is an internationally recognized standard for accounting and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by organizations and companies Its creation in 1998 was motivated by the need for a standardized, clear and effective tool for measuring, managing, and reducing GHG emissions.

This protocol provides a detailed framework on how to inventory and report GHG emissions from different sources, divided into three 'scopes' or perimeters. These scopes distinguish direct emissions from indirect emissions, allowing companies to better understand the origin of their emissions and to establish relevant strategies for their reduction.

Over the years, the GHG Protocol has established itself as the gold standard for greenhouse gas emissions accounting. In addition to providing a framework for emissions accounting, the GHG Protocol also provides guidance for verifying emissions, setting reduction targets, and evaluating GHG reduction initiatives. It encourages a transparent, comprehensive and consistent approach towards emissions reporting.

Scope 1 according to the GHG Protocol

Under the GHG Protocol, Scope 1 refers to direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by an organization's or company's own activities. These emissions come from sources controlled or directly owned by the organization, reflecting the direct and immediate impact of its activities on the environment.

Here are some of the main sources of emissions covered by Scope 1

Combustion of fuels;

Emissions processed;

Fugitive emissions.

GHG Protocol Methodologies and Emission Factors for Scope 1

This Protocol, as a leading standard, puts forward detailed methodologies and precise emission factors to ensure the rigor and accuracy of companies' carbon footprints.

Scope 1: Methodologies 

Under the GHG Protocol, Scope 1 refers to direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by an organization's or company's own activities. These emissions come from sources controlled or directly owned by the organization, reflecting the direct and immediate impact of its activities on the environment.

Here are some of the main sources of emissions covered by Scope 1

Direct measurement and estimation: The ideal for a company is to measure its emissions directly, including using measuring instruments to monitor the output of gasses from its facilities. However, this is not always feasible. In this case, the GHG Protocol offers activity-based estimation methods, such as the amount of fuel consumed.

Hierarchical approach: When different methods for estimating emissions from the same source exist, the GHG Protocol recommends a hierarchy based on the accuracy of the methods, encouraging companies to adopt the most accurate method available.

Regular update: Companies are encouraged to regularly re-evaluate and update their methodologies.

Scope 1: Emission Factors

Emission factors are coefficients that convert a quantity of activity (for example, liters of fuel consumed) into GHG emission equivalents. The GHG Protocol provides standard emission factors for a wide range of activities:

Here are some of the main sources of emissions covered by Scope 1

Fuel combustion: For each type of fuel, specific emission factors are proposed to take into account the different energy compositions and densities.

Process emissions: Emission factors for process emissions are often more complex, as they must account for different chemical reactions and their conversion rates.

Fugitive emissions: For these unintentional emissions, factors are established based on the type of equipment, the frequency of leaks, and the nature of the gas emitted.

It is crucial for companies to use the right methodologies and emission factors to ensure the accuracy of their carbon footprint. Building on the recommendations of the GHG Protocol, organizations ensure that they take a consistent and credible approach to assessing and reporting their Scope 1 emissions.

Measuring GHG emissions according to the GHG Protocol sets the global standard for environmental transparency.

A hand holding a transparent sphere with trees in the background symbolizing the transparency of the ghg protocol standard.

How does it differ from other standards?

One of the major strengths of the GHG Protocol is its transparency. This protocol provides clear and detailed guidelines, ensuring that companies have all the information they need to make an accurate declaration. In addition, it is designed to be flexible, thanks to its hierarchical approach, allowing companies of all industries and sizes to adopt it. The GHG Protocol is designed to have a global reach, making it relevant to companies operating internationally. It also allows for the classification of emissions into three “Scopes”. This tripartite approach allows companies to better identify and manage their different sources of emissions, whether direct or indirect.

The GHG Protocol is widely recognized and adopted by businesses, governments, and NGOs around the world. This universal recognition ensures consistency in the way emissions are reported globally. Finally, the GHG Protocol is often used as a basis for developing other regional or industry standards.

The GHG Protocol, with its well-defined structure and international scope, plays a crucial role in the fight against climate change. Many of the software, such as the D-Carbonize tool,rely on its repository for GHG accounting.
By understanding and adopting its principles, companies can not only improve their carbon footprint, but also contribute to a global approach to reducing emissions.

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