Session 5

Carbon Accounting


Session 5 explains the Carbon Accounting methodology: definitions of scope 1, 2 & 3, emissions factors and volumes of activity.

It develops the strategic interest of Carbon Accounting for companies, as it measures the physical flows and market conditions necessary for company operations.

Session 5 presents the Net Zero Initiative and differentiates CO2 emissions from Avoided Emissions and Captured CO2, and stresses the irrelevance of subtracting them from each other.

Course Outline

Key principles of Carbon Accounting
Example: Washing Machine
Workshop: Cars Carbon Footprint

Key Learnings

3 Scopes

  1. Scope 1: direct emissions of company assets
  2. Scope 2: indirect emissions due to company energy consumption
  3. Scope 3: upstream and downstream indirect emissions


  • Emission Sources: based on the scope.
  • Emissions Factors: CO2 emission by activity unit. Emissions factors are provided by public databases.
  • Activity Volume: number of units operated over a period of time.

Collecting a company's data can represent a significative time investment.

The 3 Scopes of Carbon Accounting

Greenhouses gas

  1. CO2: Fossil energies, Cement, Deforestation
  2. CH4: Leaks, Beef, Rice, Waste fermentation
  3. N2O: Agricultural
  4. Fluorinated gases: refrigerant system leaks

Estimated vs. Actual Emissions

  • Scopes 1 & 2: mandatory. Scope 3: not mandatory and no rules on scope 3 limits.
  • Few Greenwashing techniques:
  • Limit emission sources to scopes 1 & 2, outsource carbon intense activities to other companies.

No items found.

Basic Math

1. List: the emission sources by scope.

2. Multiply: the Emission Factor by the Activity Volume for each source.

3. Add: the emissions of all sources

Sector Predominance of Scope 3

Scope 3 represents the largest scope for most business activities.

Scope 3 over 90%: Banking, Retail, Software & Services, Real Estate.

Scopes 1+2 over 50%: Extraction, Passenger Transportation, Energy.

3 Actions for Companies

1. Reduce Internal Emissions: Induced emissions

2. Reduce Third-Party Emissions: Avoided emissions

3. Develop Carbon Sinks: Negative emissions

Subtracting Induced, Avoided and Negative emissions makes no physical sense.

No items found.

Student Projects

No items found.


No items found.


No items found.

Pedagogical Note