Estimating Your Carbon Footprint

Estimating greenhouse gas emissions, or your “carbon footprint”, is an important foundational step of a company’s emissions reduction journey.

We all know the adage that if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. So creating a greenhouse gas inventory or “carbon footprint” for your company is the foundation of a strong emissions reduction strategy.

In 2023, Walmart began asking companies to share their Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions in Project Gigaton™. This is one of the requirements to achieving the top Project Gigaton™ Recognition status of “Giga-Guru”. New in 2024, suppliers will be asked to share renewable electricity information, Scope 1 and 2 target details, and information on the relevancy of Scope 3 categories as defined by the GHG Protocol. View the FAQ resource for more detail about what is included in these questions.

When we talk about a company’s carbon footprint, we mean all greenhouse gas (or CO2e) emissions. These emissions are divided into three “scopes”. Scope 1 and 2 are emissions caused by business operations and the generation of purchased energy, and Scope 3 emissions are from the value chain. This video helps illustrate the three scopes of emissions in one minute.

  • Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by your company such as factories, office buildings, and company-owned or leased vehicles.
  • Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions resulting from the generation of purchased energy, primarily electricity.
  • Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions resulting from upstream activities such as production of goods and services purchased by the company, as well as downstream activities such as consumer use and disposal of products sold by the company.

See the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard for additional details on GHG emissions accounting, guidance, and tools.

Graphic explaining the GHG Protocol Methodology. Upstream Activities: SCOPE 2 Indirect: Purchased Electricity, Steam, Heat & Cooling. SCOPE 3 Indirect: Leased Facilities, Employee Commuting, Business Travel, Operational Waste, Fuel/Energy Related, Transport & Distribution, Capital Goods, Purchased Goods/Services. SCOPE 1 Direct: Energy/Heat Generation at Company Facilities, Company Vehicles, Fugitive Emissions. Downstream Activities: SCOPE 3 Indirect: Transport & Distribution, Processing of Sold Products, Use of sold Products, End of Life for Products, Leased Facilities, Franchises, Investments