Student Research Project Sparks Further Analysis of Scope 3 Emissions

Friday, August 7, 2020

While Stanford is well along its path toward zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions, the next frontier of decarbonization lies in Scope 3 emissions accounting, program development, and systematic reduction. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions from sources that occur as a result of an institution’s operations, but from sources not owned or controlled by the institution. In conjunction with programs offered by Stanford Transportation, the university has partially tracked emissions in business travel and employee commuting for multiple years. In FY2020, student and faculty interest sparked expanded research into emissions from business travel as well as a first attempt at quantifying emissions from purchased goods and services. At the same time, staff in the Office of Sustainability collaborated with Stanford Transportation to improve the precision of commuter emissions estimates using new data sets, and with Stanford’s waste haulers to develop estimates for emissions from Stanford’s waste streams. Once a detailed understanding of this data is available, it can open the door for many strategic initiatives to advance Stanford's decarbonization efforts. View more information on the Scope 3 emissions inventory.