Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard

The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard allows companies to assess their entire value chain emissions impact and identify where to focus reduction activities.

For easy reading on your computer, notebook, tablet, or handheld device, click to download the electronic version of the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard. This version provides hyperlinks between the standards text, tables and images. Please note that the page numbers vary slightly between the original and electronic versions. When citing specific page numbers, please note when you are referring to the electronic version text.

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Scope 3 Standard Background

The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard has been created through a broad, inclusive, multi-stakeholder process. Over a three year period:

  • 2,300 participants were involved from 55 countries;
  • 96 members participated in technical working groups to draft the standard, and;
  • 34 companies from various industries road tested the standard in 2010.

The Scope 3 Standard provides a methodology that can be used to account for and report emissions from companies of all sectors, globally. It is accompanied by a suite of user-friendly guidance and tools developed by the GHG Protocol to make Scope 3 accounting more easy and accessible. 

What is the Scope 3 Standard? 

Until recently, most companies have focused on measuring emissions from their own operations and electricity consumption. But what about all of the emissions a company is responsible for outside of its own walls—from the goods it purchases to the disposal of the products it sells? In fact, the majority of total corporate emissions come from Scope 3 sources, which means many companies have been missing out on significant opportunities for improvement.

Released in 2011, the Scope 3 Standard is the only internationally accepted method for companies to account for these types of value chain emissions. Users of the standard can now account for emissions from 15 categories of Scope 3 activities, both upstream and downstream of their operations. The Scope 3 framework also supports strategies to partner with suppliers and customers to address climate impacts throughout the value chain. Minor corrections to the Scope 3 Standard are recorded below. 

Can the Scope 3 Standard be used to make comparisons between companies?

The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard is designed to enable comparisons of an individual company’s GHG emissions over time. It is not designed to support comparisons between companies. Differences in reported emissions may be a result of differences in inventory methodology, company size or structure. Additional measures are necessary to enable valid comparisons across companies, such as consistency in methodology, consistency in data used to calculate the inventory, and reporting of intensity ratios or performance metrics. 

What is the main difference between the GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard and GHG Protocol Product Standard?

The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard accounts for emissions at the corporate level, while the Product Standard accounts for emissions at the individual product level. The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard helps companies identify GHG reduction opportunities, track performance, and engage suppliers at a corporate level, while the Product Standard helps a company meet the same objectives at a product level. Together with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, the three standards provide a comprehensive approach to value chain GHG measurement and management.  

Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard Online Course

A convenient online training on accounting for emissions throughout the corporate value chain.

Scope 3 Calculation Guidance
Building on the Scope 3 Standard, this companion guide makes it easier than ever for businesses to complete their scope 3 inventories. 

Supporting Documents

Amendments and Corrections
Additional Tools and Resources
Background Information

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