GeSI publishes groundbreaking guidance for telecom operators for Scope 3 accounting

The Scope 3 Guidance for telecommunication operators provides an extensive understanding of categories for a Scope 3 evaluation and guiding principles that help form sustainable methodologies revolving Scope 3 accounting and reporting standards.

Published on: Aug 4, 2023 | Written by: Augustin Destrée

The Scope 3 Guidance report provides calculation methods to each category listed; every calculation method includes its benefits, challenges, and examples. Scope 3 emissions cover a wide range of economic activities that are divided into 15 categories. These categories are introduced in GHGP-1 and detailed in the 5.4 table below the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard.  

However, based on the prioritised activities for ICT companies the most significant categories for a network operator Scope 3 evaluation are as follows:

  • Purchased goods and services (category 1) including but not limited to: Purchases related to offered services (Cradle-to-gate) » Purchases related to used services (life cycle)
  •  Capital goods (category 2), including: Own information technology (IT) equipment (cradle-to-gate) » own telecommunication towers » machinery
  •  Fuel and energy-related activities (category 3) are: Associated with the organisations own Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions » see clarification in Category 3 section on EFs
  •  Upstream leased assets (category 8), such as: Leased IT equipment (cradle-to-gate) » leased telecommunication towers (Towercos) » leased IT or telecommunication facilities (cradle-to-gate)
  •  Use of sold products (category 11), including Scopes 1 and 2 emissions: Operation of products and services » use of support equipment necessary to operate the equipment (power supply and cooling)
  •  Downstream leased assets (category 13), such as: Scopes 1 and 2 emissions due to operation 
    of provided products and services 

GeSI’s Scope 3 Guidance, written in collaboration with the GSMA and ITU, offers significant guiding principles that harmonize with the prioritized activities to create sustainable methodologies. These principles are listed in the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard. All eight of the guiding principles hold their own individual value but the most significant of these principles for a network operator Scope 3 evaluation are as listed:

  • Hot-spotting (principle 2)– Focus time and effort on largest emission sources. Identifying and putting effort to reform the largest emissions sources can create the most impactful change. 
  • Improve accuracy over time (principle 5)– Data availability and quality are improving each year. Thorough identification of which areas cause the largest emissions is a result of accurate and credible data research. 
  • Follow science-based principles (principle 7) – Related to net zero standards from International Organization for Standardization (ISO), The Science Based Targets Initiative [SBTi], or the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Considering set targets can provide a template for guiding principles that are globally used.
  • Focus on mitigation (principle 8) – Carbon offsets, whether purchased by the telecommunication operator, a supplier, or a customer, shall not be considered as a valid means of reducing carbon dioxide equivalent CO2e inventories.  

 The Guidance is accessible here on GeSI’s website: Scope 3 Guidance   

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