Scope 3 emissions
As the climate emergency intensifies and its effects become increasingly tangible across the world, a shift towards sustainable development and a circular economy is necessary. Within this context, companies worldwide are required to calculate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions connected to their supply chains, target a net-zero horizon, and reduce emissions accordingly.
However, estimating emissions is a difficult task. In order to accurately quantify them, emissions are divided into three categories, or scopes. Scope 1 and 2 encompass a company’s direct and indirect emissions, such as fuel combustion and electricity or heating usage. Scope 3 includes emissions generated by activities not controlled (and potentially not even known) by the given company and typically represent the lion share, up to ~95% of the total for Mondelez in 2021. To complicate things further, scope 3 emissions can be both upstream and downstream of the company. For example, emissions resulting from the production of raw materials that a company buys to generate its product are considered upstream, while the ones related to the disposal of a product when it reaches the end of its life are considered downstream.
At Satelligence, we are committed to a deforestation-free world. We help companies in agricultural commodity supply chains to achieve sustainable practices by understanding the deforestation and emission risks in their supply chains.
When working with commodities such as palm oil, cocoa, or soy, emissions related to land use change — mainly clear-cutting of primary forest to plant commodity trees — represent the largest contribution of a company’s emissions. The Hershey Company, a global giant in chocolate manufacturing, reports that land-use change emissions account for an estimated 42% of their scope 3 emissions and 38% of their total GHG emissions.
Up-to-date and accessible forest baseline definition and commodity production area data are critical in order to consistently monitor and quantify emissions related to land use change on a yearly basis at high spatial resolution.
GEDI – Measuring forest carbon stocks from space
In 2018, a one-in-a-kind instrument was installed on the International Space Station: GEDI (Global Ecosystems Dynamics Investigation). A joint mission between NASA and the University of Maryland, GEDI is the first spaceborne lidar sensor to be deployed specifically for forest monitoring (Dubayah et al., 2020). Three infrared lasers measure the 3D structure of the Earth’s forests between 51.6 degrees north and south by sampling forest canopy height and its vertical structure within 25 m ground footprints.