Employee remote work is often categorized as de minimus for organization GHG inventories. However, given the response of many organizations to the impact of COVID-19, we expect remote employee work to become increasingly relevant in GHG inventories.
As organizations embrace the potential benefits of remote work, they may permanently close offices, reducing their scope 1 and 2 emissions. The transition away from centralized workspaces, catalyzed by impacts of COVID-19, will increase the need for remote work to be accounted for in scope 3 – category 7, employee commuting.
There will likely not be one single unifying approach to account for emissions associated with remote employee work. There are several calculation methods that can be catered to an organization based on its specific needs, structures and organization policies.
As we begin 2020 reporting, we anticipate an increase in organizations considering how to include these impacts in scope 3 inventories. Approaches for calculating these emissions will vary based on how a company implements remote work. Assumptions such as number of monitors, locations of employees working from home, and the reduction of employee commuting data will need to be made before deciding on an appropriate approach for calculating these emissions.
With over 250 organizations obtaining the Science Based Targets initiative approval in 2020 alone, we expect to see significant innovation in scope 3 accounting over the next year as organizations address how to track and manage progress toward ambitious reduction targets. The draft releases of guidance focused on supplier interventions and biogenic carbon in 2021 will further spur action.
As the GHG accounting continues to evolve over the next year and beyond, we look forward to the climate innovations that result from better visibility and quality in emissions results.
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