Let’s take a look at the intersection of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and why the industry needs to align across ‘core values’

GettyImages-1137864954 Airplane Boeing 777 contrails
Photo: Getty Images

If you have been reading anything about climate change and CO2 emissions over the past decade or so, you have probably come across the terms ‘Scope 1’, ‘Scope 2’, and ‘Scope 3’ emissions at some point. Unless you are a sustainability professional or emissions auditor, you would be forgiven for not immediately being able to explain the concepts in detail.

The topic is immense, but let’s take a brief look at what these terms actually mean, why corporate clients will drive down aviation emissions, and how actors across the travel industry can collaborate on reaching each other’s varying scope targets.

The aforementioned ‘scopes’ for carbon emissions are defined by the widely-used international accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, and are categorized as follows:

  • Scope 1 – emissions from direct operations. For instance, CO2 emitted from jet fuel burned in an aircraft engine counts as an airline’s Scope 1.
  • Scope 2 – indirect emissions from purchased sources, such as air conditioning or heating, i.e., the climatization at an airline’s, IT service supplier’s, or travel agent’s office are all those companies’ Scope 2, but the electricity company’s Scope 1.
  • Scope 3 – the emissions produced by third-party suppliers. In the case of aviation, the CO2 added to the atmosphere from the jet fuel used to propel the plane on which a business traveler is journeying is that company’s Scope 3 (while simultaneously being the airline’s Scope 1).
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An airline’s Scope 1 is a corporate traveler’s Scope 3. Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying

It takes a village

As such, it makes sense that, for instance, corporate clients, who are under pressure from shareholders, climate auditors, and public perception to lower emissions, would pay a higher price for travel to use a larger amount of sustainable aviation fuel (even if it is used to power a different flight than the one they are on), while this may still be out of reach for many passengers traveling for leisure.

Speaking at the Altitude 22 Conference in Dubai organized by global travel technology company Amadeus and attended by Simple Flying, Air Canada’s Director for Supplier Relationship Manager and Strategic Procurement – IT, Laila Nouasri, commented on the importance of collaboration across the industry,

“I think that all of the industry stakeholders need to come together and work together to find different solutions. And so I think aligning our core values is something that’s really important. What we expect to see is that you are going to find innovative ways of reducing your Scope 3 and Scope 2 emissions, and by reducing those emissions, you are going to have a direct impact on all of the airlines that work with you as well.”

Air Canada Heart Aerospace ES-30Regarding sustainable innovation, Air Canada has committed to purchasing 30 electric planes from Swedish startup Heart Aerospace. These are expected to be delivered by 2028. While they are no solution for the long-haul traveler, regionally operating businesses may be happy to send their employees on flights that are actually zero-emission (given that the batteries have been charged with renewable energy). The airline has also become a minority shareholder in the company, contributing a $5 million investment, matched by Saab. How much did you know about Scope 1,2, and 3 emissions? Is this something that is discussed at your place of work? Leave a comment below and join the conversation on the future of aviation.

Source: simpleflying.com

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