Welcome to our sustainability focussed ‘frequently asked questions’ page. Click on the question(s) you are interested in below to be taken to the answer.

  1. What are scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions?
  2. What is included in scope 3 Emissions?
  3. Why certify company carbon footprints?
  4. What is carbon neutral?
  5. What is the difference between carbon neutral and net zero?
  6. How do I deal with home working in a carbon footprint?
  7. Are there standards for a carbon footprint?
  8. What is PAS 2060?
  9. What is PAS 2080?
  10. What is a circular economy?
  11. What is an LCA?
  12. What is GWP?
  13. What is an EPD?
  14. What is CCLD?
  15. What is greenwashing?
  16. What is ESOS?

What are scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions?

Scope 1 | Direct greenhouse gas emissions from owned or leased assets. This will include fuel burned onsite, gas, fleet (petrol and diesel) and emissions from manufacturing process.

Scope 2 | Indirect greenhouse gas emissions. This will include emissions from purchased electricity and heat to power business premises.

Scope 3 | All other indirect greenhouse gas emissions from non-owned or controlled sources. This can include supply chain emissions, such as products linked to deforestation, or business travel and emissions associated with waste disposal.

(Source: Plant Mark Beginners Guide to Carbon Footprinting, 2023)

What is included in Scope 3 emissions?

There are 15 categories within scope 3. Business Travel for example is category 7. The 15 different categories are shown below:

1Purchased good and services
2Capital goods
3Fuel and Energy related activities (upstream)
4Transportation and distribution (upstream)
5Transportation and distribution (downstream)
6Waste generated in operations
7Business travel
8Employee commuting
9Leased assets (upstream)
10Leased assets (downstream)
11Processing of solid products
12Use of sold products
13End of Life Treatment of sold products

Why certify company carbon footprints?

To show transparency and to assist accuracy and credibility to your internal assessment /calculation of carbon footprint and reduction plans

What is carbon neutral?

“A person, company or country is carbon neutral if they balance the carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere through their everyday activities with the amount they absorb or remove from the atmosphere. This is also called net zero carbon emissions or net zero carbon, because overall no carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere.”

Source: What does carbon neutral mean and what is net zero? | Natural History Museum (nhm.ac.uk)

What is the difference between carbon neutral and net zero?

Carbon Neutral relates to Co2, a key greenhouse gas, but excludes other greenhouse gases such as Methane. NetZero relates to all greenhouse gases. If a company were to say it is aiming to be net zero that would mean that it was aiming to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions across its whole supply chain.

How do I deal with home working in a carbon footprint?

As a minimum, you should calculate the estimated electricity and heating used by those employees when they work from home. EcoAct estimates that average power use for a laptop or computer is 140 watts. For lighting, it’s 10 watts. To work out the total amount of electricity used by your team, you need to multiply this by the number of employees working from home, and the number of working hours in a month. For more information read this article.

Are there standards for a carbon footprint?

Yes. The British Standards Institute developed a package of standards covering carbon footprints and the journey to carbon reduction. Carbon Footprint Verification ISO 14064-1 V – read more here.

What is PAS 2060

PAS 2060 was developed by The British Standards Institute in 2010. It is a carbon neutral certification which is internationally recognised and covers a company’s carbon footprint, carbon reduction plan and is verifiable by a third party. For more information on why all carbon footprints are not equal watch this Auditel Video at 42 mins point in.

What is PAS 2080

PAS 2080 was developed by the British Standard Institute and relates specifically to infrastructure construction and maintenance which are key contributors to GHGs.

What is a circular economy?

It is an all-encompassing approach to life and business which, in simple terms, can be explained as ‘make, use, remake’ rather than ‘make, use, dispose’.

Source: Zero Waste Scotland

More detail is provided within our Sustainability Good Practice Guide on page 13.

What is LCA?

Life cycle assessment is a method used to quantify the environmental impact of a product through all, or selected stages of its lifecycle. Environmental inputs (such as water and energy) and outputs (such as CO2 and NOx) are quantified at each stage. These are used in the calculation of the overall environmental impact of the product. In broad summary, there are 3 key stages to an LCA – setting the goals/scope; inventory (data collection) and impact assessment.

Source: NCC-Introduction to sustainability within our Sustainability Good Practice Guide on page 26.

What is GWP?

Global Warming Potential – relevancy Life Cycle Assessment

What is an EPD?

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a short document that describes how a product impacts the environment, and thus can be used as proof of a products’ environmental credentials. It is based upon the findings from a LCA and is translatable across different countries. See within our Sustainability Good Practice Guide on page 33.

What is CCLD?

CCLD stands for climate change levy discount. Companies can apply for an exemption or reduction on the tax burden on site utility bills. For more information see our business support pages.

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing refers to when a company misrepresents their carbon footprint or portrays themselves in a “greener light” than they really are. They may make false claims about how they are reducing their emissions or use green packaging or labelling to make their products appear more environmentally friendly than they really are.

What is ESOS?

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) requires large organisations in the UK (> 250 employees or with annual turnover more than £44million) to undertake mandatory energy audits every four years to identify and review any potential energy efficiency measures. ESOS is now in phase 3 and the deadline for compliance is 5th December 2023.