Supply chain challenges with scope 3 emissions data

3 Minutes Read

Scope 3 emissions reporting for supply chains is an inherently complicated beast. You don’t control access to the data you need, you have several suppliers which means your data is always coming in with different formatting and it takes your team time and energy to figure out how to make it work the way you need it to. Which, as the need for better emissions data and more reduction action grows, is going to weigh supply chains down more and more.

Here, we’re looking at the top three challenges that supply chains face when it comes to scope 3 emissions data: accessibility, accuracy and usability.


The biggest scope 3 data problem that supply chain leaders have shared with us is trouble accessing the data in the first place. Because, for the most part, you’re relying on them to provide that data somehow. Some businesses have tried making this easier by providing all of their suppliers with a portal to enter all of the relevant data into. Others require regular reports to continue contracts. 

But all of those systems require your supply chain partners to be on the ball and providing that data consistently. And none of them give you the flexibility to make changes on the fly or easily test the impact of any changes you do make.

It’s also possible that you’ve hired a sustainability consultant to gather your emissions data. Unfortunately, those consultants still have to rely on getting the data from your suppliers. On top of that, you’ll need to hire them again every time you want to collect that data. 
Another problem that arises from relying on partner-given emissions data is you can’t verify the accuracy of their claims. Manually entered self-reports have several potential points for error. 

Aside from the fact that no person is immune from misplacing a decimal point, you also can’t be sure of the initial measurement itself. What tools and calculations are they using? What does that data really cover? And, importantly, are they including emissions that they otherwise claim is offset? And if not, how are you able to verify that those emissions have been offset by a reputable source?

Read more: Why 7bridges uses the GLEC framework for Scope 3


Even once you have the data, making use of it presents its own set of challenges. Particularly, not having tools in place to turn the data into useful insights. Which impacts businesses both because you now have data that is not useful on its own and because you’ll need to dedicate manual attention to managing, transforming and understanding all the data you get in.

First, because the data that you get is coming from different partners, your emissions data probably doesn’t sit well together. We’ve even heard of companies that have a standard format they require, but it never arrives the way they need it to. And that means it needs to be cleaned up before you even start to use it. We’ve seen many businesses struggle to find the time needed to manually manage all of the data that comes in. And it both slows down their ability to make the data useful and eats up time. 
All of those things make it so that logistics data and emissions data don’t always work together well. Which takes away the power that data has to help you take action and enable your supply chain drive better sustainability outcomes. 

Read more: Taking your supply chain emissions beyond regulatory reporting

Skipping the hassle

Thankfully, there are ways around those challenges— even ones that don’t require huge budgets or time commitments to implement. This is especially important as momentum around sustainable initiatives is only set to speed up. The 7bridges Scope 3 emissions layer can be an important part of that journey. 

By pulling data straight from your invoices, our platform can accurately calculate your scope 3 emissions automatically. So you never have to wait for your partners or consultants to clue you in. That gives you the ability to create a baseline understanding of how your logistics network is performing in terms of emissions. 

You can use that up-to-date data whenever and however you want. From there, you can use the platform to explore what happens when you make changes. Whether that means changes in carrier or changes to your own processes.

Getting the right tech in place to make scope 3 calculations easier is key. Make sure your scope 3 data is accessible, accurate and usable by better navigating your providers or by skipping that step altogether. 

Find out what our Scope 3 emissions layer can do for your supply chain.

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