Glossary

Use of sold products emissions (Scope 3 Category 11)

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Summary
Use of sold products emissions (Scope 3, Category 11) involves the greenhouse gases emitted when customers use the products they’ve bought.

Use of sold products emissions, defined as Scope 3 Category 11 in the GHG Protocol, refers to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions released during the use phase of a company's products. This category is critical for products that have significant energy consumption during use, such as vehicles, appliances, and electronics. 

The emissions accounted for in this category derive from the end use of a product by the consumer, which can include direct emissions from products that consume fuels (e.g., gasoline in vehicles) and indirect emissions associated with the use of electricity or other energy sources not directly provided by the product manufacturer.

Use of sold products emissions, defined as Scope 3 Category 11 in the GHG Protocol, refers to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions released during the use phase of a company's sold products. This category is critical for products that have significant energy consumption during use, such as vehicles, appliances, and electronics. 

The emissions accounted for in this category derive from the end use of a product by the consumer, which can include direct emissions from products that consume fuels (e.g., gasoline in vehicles) and indirect emissions associated with the use of electricity or other energy sources not directly provided by the product manufacturer.

Critical considerations for this category include:

  1. Energy-intensive products: Emissions are primarily from products that require significant energy during operation. For example, an automobile manufacturer would include emissions from the fuel consumed by the cars it sells. At the same time, an electronics company would consider the electricity it uses for its devices.
  2. Duration of product use: Emissions are calculated over the expected life of the products, which requires assumptions about product lifespan and usage patterns.
  3. Consumer use patterns: Variability in how consumers use products affects the total emissions. Companies often use typical or average usage scenarios to estimate these emissions.
  4. Aftermarket modifications: Any changes or modifications made to the product after-sale that could impact energy use and thus GHG emissions during the product's use phase​​.

This category excludes emissions from the manufacturing, disposal, or recycling of the products covered under other Scope 3 categories. It focuses solely on emissions directly related to energy consumption while using sold products.

Please read our guide on the return on investment of decarbonisation for companies.

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