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Expert Insight: Aimée Hall

In a world where sustainability isn't just a buzzword but a crucial business practice, understanding and measuring the impact of your company's actions is paramount. Aimée Hall, Machine Learning Engineer at Applegate Marketplace via Troy, dives into the complex realm of Scope 3 carbon emissions tracking in her latest blog.

Navigating through hundreds of pages of guidance, ever-changing best practices, and annual updates to government-published emissions factors, Aimée sheds light on the challenges businesses face in this evolving landscape.

CarbonImpact revolutionises the landscape of carbon footprint management by effectively addressing the challenges associated with scope 3 emission reporting.

If you want to be a sustainable business, you need to know what actions your company is taking, and how to measure the effects of any improvements. This is as true for financial practices as it is for carbon emissions.

However, the world of Scope 3 carbon emissions tracking is relatively new and very complex; there’s hundreds of pages of guidance, frequently-changing best practice rules and even the government-published emissions factors dataset updates its methods and recommendations annually. Where can you find the most up to date guidance or emissions factors? What is a spend-based or distance-based calculation? How and when do you avoid double-counting your Well-to-Tank emissions for electric vehicles? This can feel like it is too much for many companies to assess by themselves. That’s where we come in!

Applegate’s earlier work on carbon emissions focussed on requests from specific companies using RFQs on Applegate’s B2B platform. In particular, councils using SupplyDevon asked us to determine how buying locally could save them money and carbon emissions. This had the advantage of using quote information that was already saved in Applegate’s own system – from the cost of the quote to the distance travelled between buyer and seller. As is always the way, the more data you have – and the higher quality it is – the more useful insights your business will discover.

We now want to enable more companies to report on their carbon emissions, even for sales made outside of Applegate’s system. We know that many smaller companies, or those less used to automation, may not always have ideal, data-rich records available. However, even those companies are invariably still keen to promote and improve their business’ sustainability as much as possible.

Therefore, we have made our CarbonImpact reports available to cover a wide range of company needs, all while endeavouring to follow guidance such as government methods and the GHG protocol. As we say in our reports, the most accurate and precise figure will always be the one at the population level – the overall carbon footprint. This is due to natural uncertainty in any individual product’s carbon emissions measurement averaging out across many thousands of products. At all stages, the more detailed data is provided, the more robust the calculations will be. Where companies are not able to provide full details, we use standard assumptions to still provide a suitable estimate of emissions. An example of this is to use the government emissions factor for an average-laden diesel HGV in cases where the transport and fuel is not fully specified.

The need for companies to share their carbon credentials is only going to increase in coming years. Consumers increasingly want to feel they can choose environmentally friendly options, and governments are increasingly putting pressure on businesses to prove they are working towards Net Zero goals. Applegate’s CarbonImpact reports are here to keep that momentum going, and we will continue to update our methodology and calculations in line with new data and guidance.