Understanding a company's full carbon footprint means diving deep into every aspect of its operations and value chain. One of the more complex parts of this footprint calculation is Scope 3 emissions. Unlike Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which are relatively direct and pertain to a company's own operations and purchased energy, Scope 3 encompasses a wider range of indirect emissions. These can span everything from the sourcing of materials to the end-of-life phase of a product. To make this vast array more manageable and precise, it's beneficial to divide Scope 3 emissions into "upstream" and "downstream" categories.
Upstream Emissions: These refer to the emissions associated with the production of goods or services that a company purchases or acquires. It can include everything from the extraction and processing of raw materials, transportation of those materials to the company, and manufacturing of products that the company eventually purchases.
Downstream Emissions: These are the emissions that result after the company's product or service has been delivered to the consumer. They can cover a broad range, including emissions from the use and disposal of a product, transportation of the finished product to retailers or consumers, and emissions resulting from franchises or investments.