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Zero Waste Scotland: A partnership approach

20 May 2021

The Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) has been working in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland on two key projects, designed to support the public sector to reduce Scope 3 emissions.

Public sector organisations are familiar with their Scope 1 & Scope 2 emission footprints as part of their annual PBCCD reports. Some organisations but not all include Scope 3 emissions such as waste, water and business travel in their annual reports. However in general, Scope 3 emissions remain ‘the elephant in the room’ in terms of emissions reporting as they are complex and more challenging to measure. Getting to grips with Scope 3 emissions will become increasingly more crucial in terms of meeting net zero targets.

Zero Waste Scotland is currently developing a number of tools to assist with Scope 3 measurement and has been working with the SSN membership to test and provide feedback on the tools. SSN members took part in two pilot projects carried out between November 2020 and March 2021.

Commuting tool

Zero Waste Scotland has developed a spreadsheet-based tool to calculate and monitor commuting emissions. Seven SSN members piloted the tool to gain a better understanding of their commuting impacts before and during the Covid-19 scenario.

The tool was generally well received with organisations seeing the future value of having access to such a tool to assist with calculating and monitoring commuting emissions. Zero Waste Scotland is currently taking on board the suggestions for improvement received during the pilot to inform the next version of the tool.

Two case studies have been developed from the pilot. View case studies from Skills Development Scotland and VisitScotland.

Embodied carbon in common office equipment

Zero Waste Scotland has used specialist lifecycle analysis software to establish the estimated carbon impacts of commonly used office equipment. Five SSN member organisations participated in a desk-based exercise to calculate their embodied carbon emissions associated with furniture and IT equipment. All organisations found the exercise to be extremely worthwhile and reported that it was a useful first step in examining Scope 3 emissions relating to purchased goods. It was noted that getting insight on the carbon impact of purchasing had the potential to influence procurement strategies so that future investment decisions were not solely based on cost.

Zero Waste Scotland is exploring a web-based option to host this desk exercise and is looking to extend the range of items currently listed.

Two case studies were developed from this pilot. View case studies from Scottish Parliament and Police Scotland.

Should you wish to carry out this desk exercise and would like to discuss it further please contact

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