Navigating Scope 4 Reporting: Best Practices for Business Adoption

As Scope 4 has yet to have a unified framework under one voice, like the other Scopes, it is confusing for businesses wanting to adopt it. However, if a business is dithering around the rollout of Scope 4 reporting, there are commonly used best practices for Scope 4 reporting, that they can follow.

Following these practices can help more businesses with their adoption of Scope 4, whilst ensuring that Scope 4 reporting remains transparent and credible.

Set the Foundation

Before starting Scope 4 reporting, businesses should already be reporting/measuring their Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. It is recommended that these reports be through a credible 3rd party verification group like PlanetMark.

Baseline for Comparison

Now onto the Scope 4 reporting, after laying out a business Scope foundation, businesses then can use that data to understand their emission landscape and identify areas/products/services that could be used for avoided emissions reporting.

From Inception to Beyond the Grave

A full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is essential for Scope 4 reporting to remain useful for consumers and stop businesses cherry cherry-picking a product's best CO2e stats. Being able to measure the full lifecycle of a product, from where its materials are gathered to its impact after use, will mean Scope 4 reporting will be truly representative and enhance transparency.

Analyse the product impact

A product's impact goes beyond the actual product, certain products change the market, and even consumer behaviour. To measure Scope 4 emissions, businesses should look at the broader impact their product will have on Carbon Emissions. For example, the use of virtual meeting technology has meant that more people can work from home, meaning there is a smaller proportion of the public commuting, which from the use of this technology it will reduce CO2e.

However, when calculating Avoided Emissions, the Virtual Meeting Technology provider should also look at other areas of behaviour, like more employees using gas and electric at their home offices. This is seen as the Consequential Methodology for Scope 4 reporting, which gives a wider lens to measure a products actual impact. As the consequential approach is more difficult to gather data for, businesses do use Attributional Methodology, which is for the absolute emissions avoided.

Advanced Modelling Techniques

When it can be difficult to measure direct emissions for Scope 4 reporting, many opt to use advanced modelling techniques, like statistical or simulation models. These helps provide an informed estimation of emissions.

Monitoring and Updates

Carbon Reporting is a journey, not a destination, and that means things change. When going for Scope 4 reporting businesses should regularly monitor and update their avoided emissions data. That could be CO2e updates from your suppliers to the new market space with newer technologies.

Be Verified

Once the previous steps are completed, ensure once again your Scope 4 claims are verified by a 3rd party specialist, such as Greenly.

Announcing your Avoided Emissions

Let your customers know what your data means, whether you adopted the consequential methodology, or attributional. If this report is a direct comparison to a competitor or a market average. The bottom line is to be transparent with your reporting to your stakeholders, otherwise it opens the doors to greenwashing tactics.


Although Scope 4 is still within its infancy and still not claimed by one standard of reporting method, businesses are facing complications in adopting it. Although there are frameworks out there, it is understandable why businesses remain hesitant to go forward with Scope 4, as there isn’t one clear direction for them to follow. Although this article has covered the best practical steps to help businesses gain clarity in their Avoided Emission rollout, there remains a global need for “one voice” to lead the direction of Scope 4 reporting. If Scope 4 continues to be unstandardised, it unfortunately becomes at risk of becoming another Greenwashing tactic.

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