As data centers take steps to decarbonize, the provisions of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol are increasingly in the spotlight.
First conceived in 1998, this partnership between the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development has since developed a set of standards that assist organizations in measuring and mitigating their greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 1 emissions result from activities that an organization has direct control over. These may include emissions from facilities and vehicles. Scope 2 emissions result from the production of energy used by an organization to power its operations.
Scope 3 emissions constitute a more nebulous category. They refer to emissions created by an organization’s partners -- from extraction of raw materials to shipment to banking -- as well as indirect business activities such as travel. They have proven difficult to measure.
However, they are far from inconsequential. The Carbon Disclosure Project has suggested that up to 75% of an organization’s emissions fall under Scope 3.
Here, InformationWeek plumbs some of the recent literature on the subject and speaks to Pankaj Sharma, EVP of Secure Power at Schneider Electric, who shares his perspective on how data centers can get a tighter focus on their Scope 3 emissions -- and begin correcting for them.
How Are Scope 3 Emissions Defined?
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol also refers to Scope 3 emissions as the Corporate Value Chain Standard. Issued in 2011, this standard is aimed at tracking emissions across the supply chain. For data centers this may mean anything from the energy it takes to extract minerals used in computer equipment to the vehicles used by suppliers to transport necessary materials.
Essentially, these emissions are those that are not under the remit of the organization -- emissions created by partners and suppliers as well as activities that do not pertain to its direct operations. Scope 3 lists 15 categories that...