Measurement MattersSustainability

Tools for Measuring Carbon Output

Measurement Matters

Just What Are We Measuring Anyway?

It's hard to escape the news about climate change, erratic weather patterns and other natural anomalies that are believed to be the result of ever-increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. These increasing levels of CO2 are in part a direct result of human activity, specifically, the emission of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil. As the world's largest shipper, we are concerned with the environment and seek to find ways to reduce our own and our customers' impact on the environment. The first step to controlling that impact is to understand how CO2 is measured.

Making Accuracy Count

UPS's emissions measurement services strive to provide industry-leading accuracy and detail. Based upon our actual carbon inventory-that is, the fuel we burn within our uniquely efficient network--we are able to provide detailed and accurate carbon emissions data. Our intent is to provide the best possible estimate, which includes a year-end reconciliation calculation that enhances the precision of our methodology. Our analyses, verified by SGS and certified by The CarbonNeutral Company, can provide details that enable better carbon management. For example, we can specify carbon impact by both mode and scope and offer our customers detailed reports by customised business designations, such as product line, division, or even distribution centre. This level of detail allows you to understand your shipments' impact on the environment and can provide a framework for creating reduction initiatives, monitoring, and improved carbon reporting.

Making Sense of Modes & Scopes

Now that you understand a bit more about the importance of measuring carbon impact, here's how to make sense of the terminology.

Modes: Modes are simply the transport method used to make your shipments.

  • Air
  • Ocean
  • Rail
  • Ground

Scopes: The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) categorises emissions in terms of Scopes.

  • Scope 1 emissions are from sources owned or controlled by you, the reporting entity.
  • Scope 2 emissions, known as indirect emissions, result from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat, or steam. In other words, emissions that result from the activities of the reporting entity, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity.
  • Scope 3 emissions are other indirect emissions, including but not limited to, the extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels, transport-related activities in vehicles not owned or controlled by the reporting entity (such as shipping via UPS), and other activities not controlled by you.
A UPS Carbon Impact Analysis reports total emissions and provides metric tons by mode of transport and by scope. That means you have a detailed view of your Scope 3 emissions within our network, providing you better insight with specific information on how your shipping movements impact your carbon output.

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