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The new scope

12 June, 2020

From Zoom conferences to virtual Friday drinks, the ‘COVID-19 era’ has changed the way we work and use our homes. 

Experts are predicting up to an 8% reduction in global carbon emissions in 2020 as a result of COVID-19. This is likely to be reflected in organisations’ Scope 2 emissions – which cover purchased electricity, heat and steam that power offices and operations – as they shut up shop for months.  

However, the reality is that these are simply displaced emissions as we all work from home. According to the GHG Protocol, employees’ home carbon emissions fall under Scope 3, but are rarely included in scope and reporting. During and post the ‘COVID-19 era’, as homeworking becomes the new normal, employees’ home emissions will play a significant role in an organisation’s operations (albeit, not controlled). This prompts a new responsibility for these emissions – including them within Scope 3 as a minimum, and also being transparent about the effects they see on their Scope 2. Although it may seem complicated to allocate work versus domestic emissions, new tools are emerging, such as NatWest’s relaunched carbon calculator, to help organisations understand the impact of homeworking on their carbon emissions.  

This brings us to the role of ‘insetting’, whereby organisations offset within their own value chain, bringing it closer to home and relevant to their business. Now, more than ever, employers can make a difference by facilitating employees to switch to a zero-carbon supplier.  

So, what’s your next move? 

By Jennie Mitchell

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