3 Questions to Take the Pain Out of Employee-Related Scope 3

Today we are going to break down the upstream Scope 3 reporting issues related to employee commuting and working from home by asking 3 questions:

  • How much energy are your employees using commuting and working from home?
  • Is your emissions data accurately accounting for the shift from Scope 2 to Scope 3?
  • Are you going beyond measurement to enable & promote offsetting on an individual and organization level?

In March the SEC released their proposed rules on disclosing climate reporting to investors and the questions we ask in this post are the very same questions some of the most successful sustainability organizations ask themselves when evaluating their data and programs. 

If you have Scope 3 emissions goals and a distributed workforce these are the three questions you need to help evaluate your current methods.

Let’s get into it!

How much energy are your employees using commuting and working from home?

In the last decade thousands of companies invested billions in net-zero and renewable energy goals for their physical workplaces. 

You’ve invested millions in energy-efficient offices and renewable energy purchasing, but now a big chunk of employees are working from home much more frequently. 

What impact does this have on your goals? You aren’t sure, because you may not have reliable data on employee related Scope 3 emissions.

Other questions you need to answer to help find your answer are:

  1. What percentage of employees have renewable energy at home? 
  2. How frequently are people working from home? 
  3. What’s the square footage of their office space or percentage of electricity use? 
  4. When they do come in, how are they getting to the office and how long is their commute?

If you are declaring Net Zero, carbon neutrality or 100% renewable use, you should know the answer to these questions.  

And if the proposed SEC rules pass and you have a Scope 3 goal, it will now be mandatory to measure this accurately.

Is your emissions data accurately accounting for the shift from Scope 2 to Scope 3?

Employee related Scope 3 emissions are difficult to measure and are not always seen as material to the business. 

But in 2020 workers shifted to working from home and so did $9 Billion in energy spending associated with computers, bathrooms, cafeterias, etc.

You can see the impact of your company’s shift to hybrid work using this energy calculator from Watershed.

But has your current system accurately represented this shift? If not then your sustainability goals are further than you may think.

The biggest challenge is getting employees engaged in accurately reporting their energy usage as it relates to their daily work life.

A solution to this is using an employee engagement platform specifically designed to track and report on employee-related Scope 3 Emissions like WeSpire (yup, shameless plug)

Are you using your offset purchases as a way to educate and engage employees?

Using offsets can be a powerful  way to engage workers in sustainability practices and grow impactful programs that contribute to lasting change.

For example,  as a part of 1.3 billion tons of carbon offset, Microsoft is putting purchase power in the hands of its employees by giving them an allowance to spend on the Gold Standard marketplace. 

Cox Enterprises uses their data to direct strategic initiatives in offsetting energy consumption in the communities employees are passionate about. This helps employees see their impact in the $1 billion invested in sustainable business and initiatives by Cox in the last 15 years. In addition, after helping employees measure their and reduce their personal carbon footprint, they offer a link to various projects that can offset it. 

What Questions Are You Asking?

Share with us how your team is driving sustainable change and making employee-related Scope 3 emissions reporting more impactful to your business and we will feature you in a future installment of WeSpire: Weekly!

Are you ready to build a better working world?