Scope 3 emissions

Scope 3 emissions

Sustainability in your value chain

Whether you are just starting to consider your value chain emissions or already have a net-zero roadmap in place and want support turning your ambitions into reality, Ricardo has the expertise to help.
Tackling your Scope 3 emissions demonstrates sustainability leadership to your stakeholders, and increases your adaptability to future climate and legislative challenges.

What are Scope 3 emissions?

Scope 3 (or ‘value chain’) emissions are the indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in your organisation’s value chain outside of your own operations. They include business travel, water and waste processing, and purchased goods and services. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions and are the Scope 1 and 2 emissions of others. As such, targeting Scope 3 emissions is not just about reducing your organisation’s own emissions, it’s about supporting the global drive towards a low carbon future.

Your Scope 3 emissions can account for up to 90% of your organisation’s environmental impact.

How do you calculate Scope 3 emissions?

Scope 3 emissions must be calculated in line with the GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard to be considered robust. There are several methodologies to follow though typically they are calculated using economic indicators, showing that the more your organisation spends, the greater your carbon emissions will be. This implies that to reduce GHG emissions, your organisation must reduce spend. This is often incompatible with growth.
Ricardo’s approach is different – as much as possible, we calculate a value-chain carbon footprint using methodologies that are specific to your suppliers and their activities. This highlights your carbon hotspots so that you can pursue effective carbon reduction, while continuing to grow through sustainable procurement and supply chain engagement.



  • Review data availability
  • Confirm relevant categories
  • Identitfy hotspots
  • Establish data hierarchy


  • Collect data
  • Calculate according to data hierarchy using supply specific methodologies where beneficial


  • Develop a publishable report describing methodologies used


  • Set a reduction target aligned with your organisation’s ambitions and commitments


  • Develop an actionable implementation plan
  • Develop sustainable procurement policies and strategies.

Understand your carbon hotspots and implement effective solutions

Ricardo has the expertise and experience to help you drive down emissions across your value chain. Whether it’s conducting life cycle assessments (LCAs) to identify hotspots in your downstream emissions, or helping you to develop sustainable procurement policies to tackle those emissions upstream, our dedicated team of experts are here to help.

By carrying out Scope 3 emissions valuations and LCAs, Ricardo has helped hundreds of organisations understand the environmental impacts across their value chain. Our tried-and-tested approach enables you to fully understand those activities that your organisation should address to achieve the greatest impact on your Scope 3 emissions.
Using our sustainable procurement and supply chain engagement expertise, we will work with you to develop practical decarbonisation strategies that target those key areas. We will help you to develop policies and projects to drive down your value chain emissions and align sustainability with growth.

A strong track record in monitoring and decarbonisation

Ricardo is a world leader in all areas related to GHG inventories. We have operated the UK Government’s emissions inventory programme for more than 30 years – including its GHG reporting. We have a long track record helping organisations with baselining, developing and implementing carbon reduction strategies and policies; and responding to environmental legislation.

Bespoke support for your organisation

We can support you no matter where your organisation is on its value chain sustainability journey. We can help you:

  • Calculate your Scope 3 emissions based on information specific to your supply chain.
  • Develop an emissions reduction strategy that meets your needs and ambitions.
  • Align Scope 3 emissions reduction with an existing net zero roadmap.
  • Set a science-based target and support your application to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
  • Identify projects and policies needed to achieve your ambitions.
  • Support effective implementation.
  • Communicate your successes to your stakeholders.

If you want to demonstrate sustainability leadership by tackling your Scope 3 GHG emissions or you have any questions on the topic, please get in touch using the enquiry form on this page.

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