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Sustainability FAQs & FYIs Part 3

Sustainability touches lots of business areas and as such is connected to numerous external memberships and reporting standards. This edition of our glossary gives a bit more information on some of these and why they’re important.  If you have any sustainability-related queries, feel free to reach out. A member of our sustainability team is ready to help and advise.

What are Scope 1 emissions? 

Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse (GHG) emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by an organisation (e.g., emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, vehicles). 

What are Scope 2 emissions? 

Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling. Although scope 2 emissions physically occur at the facility where they are generated, they are accounted for in an organisation’s GHG inventory because they are a result of the organisation’s energy use. 

What are Scope 3 emissions? 

Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organisation indirectly affects in its value chain. Scope 3 emissions include all sources not within an organisation’s scope 1 and 2 boundary. The scope 3 emissions for one organisation are the scope 1 and 2 emissions of another organisation. Scope 3 emissions, also referred to as value chain emissions, often represent the majority of an organisation’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

The GHG Protocol defines 15 categories of scope 3 emissions, though not every category will be relevant to all organisations. Scope 3 emission sources include emissions both upstream and downstream of the organisation’s activities.


What is SBTi? 

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) drives ambitious climate action in the private sector by enabling organisations to set science-based emissions reduction targets. 

Science-based targets provide a clearly-defined pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth. 

Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 

What is the UN Global Compact? 

The UN Global Compact is a voluntary initiative launched by the United Nations to encourage businesses and organisations worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies. The initiative is based on ten principles that cover human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. These principles are derived from various existing international agreements and declarations.  

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human right; and 

Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses. 

Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; 

Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour; 

Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and 

Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. 

Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;  

Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and 

Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies. 

Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery. 

What are UN SDGs? 

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are a set of 17 goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” These goals were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs address a wide range of global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice. 

  1. No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. 
  2. Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. 
  3. Good Health and Well-Being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. 
  4. Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 
  5. Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. 
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. 
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. 
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. 
  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. 
  10. Reduced Inequality: Reduce inequality within and among countries. 
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. 
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. 
  13. Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. 
  14. Life Below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. 
  15. Life on Land: Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. 
  16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. 
  17. Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development. 

Check out our other articles and whitepapers to help broaden your understanding around these topics and find out how we are taking measure to enhance our sustainability efforts, if you have any questions please get in touch here.

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