Reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) in the fight against climate change is a key aspect of responsible business, in particular, greenhouse gases in supply chains, which make up a large portion of scope 3 emissions – typically the greatest of all emissions.

The first step towards reducing emissions is to establish a baseline measure of current levels through calculating your carbon footprint.

A carbon footprint1 measures the total GHG emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organisation, event, or product. Your baseline provides an initial benchmark against which you can measure progress. It helps you to understand what your key emission sources are, so that you can consider opportunities to reduce these.

Your carbon reduction plan details how you plan to go about reducing your carbon footprint. While many businesses have set carbon reduction targets and developed plans to meet these, in most cases they are short-term timeframes – typically five-year – and not connected to climate science.

A net zero target is one that involves deep cuts to emissions and permanent removal of any remaining greenhouse gases in line with limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

The GHG Protocol is the accounting tool most widely used by organisations and governments to measure GHG emissions. It categorises emissions into three groups or ‘scopes’.

Most members will have data from Scopes 1 and 2 and the business travel component of scope 3 can be obtained from travel management companies and commuting information can be gained from employee surveys.

Full Members of LUPC can take advantage of our Scope 3 supply chain emissions reporting benefit to add to the data they already have to complete a basic baseline and comparative measure.

Scope 3 Reporting

LUPC and its UKUPC partners provide Scope 3 supply chain emission reports based on the Higher Education Supply Chain Emissions Tool (HESCET).  This tool is owned centrally by HEPA and is managed by its Scope 3 Working Group made up of staff from UK  member institutions, with input from UK Universities Purchasing Consortia (UKUPC).

How to obtain a Scope 3 Report

LUPC full members can receive a Scope 3 supply chain emissions report if they provide their non-pay spend data for analysis. This report will cover all of your Scope 3 emissions, not just your framework spend, but we obviously need your data to do this.

Data must be submitted to our Data Analyst via the Spend inbox ( before the end of October (in the format requested) following the academic year (August-July).

This data is categorised using Proc HE codes, allowing Scope 3 supply chain emission reports to be released in January each year.

What can you do with the info gained from the report?

Only scope 3 emissions from the supply chain are included in this report. Not all scope 3 categories are counted, this is covered below, and the analysis is based on spend methodology, which also has its limitations. It does, however, provide a meaningful start in the fight against climate change.

Adding the data from your scope 3 supply chain emissions report to your own data on scope 1 and 2 and other scope 3 emissions (e.g. your business travel and employee commuting as well as emissions from home working where appropriate) will enable you to establish a basic carbon footprint baseline measure.

This will help you to identify where and how you can reduce your emissions and which emissions will need to be offset to achieve your net zero target. Your reduction efforts should then be detailed in your carbon reduction plan.

What is LUPC doing?

LUPC has used the various methodologies to calculate and report on its own carbon emissions, with the aim of reducing the emissions produced and offsetting what cannot be reduced. Details of LUPC’s current Environmental policy and progress can be found in our annual carbon emissions reduction report, with a brief commentary on the methods used and patterns which are foreseen, including where the greatest reductions can be made and where calculations may not reflect the unique situation.

Framework for Carbon Offsetting and Validation Services

LUPC has implemented a framework that delivers a national route to market for carbon offsetting and validation services, working in conjunction with The Energy Consortium (TEC) and EAUC.

For more information on the Framework, please contact Justin McLoughlin

Useful terms:

1Carbon footprint:  a carbon footprint measures the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organisation, event, or product.

GHG Protocol:  an accounting tool used by organisations and governments to understand, quantify, and manage their GHG emissions. It provides the world’s most widely used GHG accounting standards. It was created in 2001, when the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development identified a need for consistency in how organisations accounted and reported emissions and together introduced the new standard [1]

Carbon neutral:  Climate neutrality means that you bring your emissions down to zero; something that applies both to individuals and to organizations. Many organizations are not able to reduce their emissions to zero immediately however, as it will take a number of years for them to make the technological investments and change the habits that climate neutrality requires. But if they do not want to wait, they can – in addition to the reductions they can make now – also invest in emission reductions outside their organization, known as offsets. This option helps accelerate the global effort to reduce emissions and puts a ‘carbon price’ on their own organisation, providing an economic incentive to reduce their own emissions quicker. Purchasing compensation units is also an option available to individuals and households, as – similarly to organizations – they will have difficulties becoming climate neutral immediately. Offsets are not a long-term solution, and they don’t replace the need for you or your organization to go to zero as fast possible, but they do provide a way to accelerate that journey.[2]

Net zero: Net Zero means that a company reduces its absolute emissions across its whole supply chain, in order to support the target to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed in the 2015 Paris climate summit.[3]

Carbon offset: Offsetting is a climate action that enables individuals and organizations to compensate for the emissions they cannot avoid, by supporting worthy projects that reduce emissions somewhere else. [4]


[1] The Carbon Trust

[2] United Nations Climate Change

[3] World Economic Forum

[4] United Nations Carbon Offset Platform

For more information, please contact:

Kai Osborne

Kai is responsible for all of LUPC’s data needs, including management information and spend data, as well as LUPC’s ICT systems. He develops internal reports for LUPC staff, executive committee and the board, and the annual member benefits and scope 3 reports.

Data Analyst
Mags Shapiro

Mags is responsible for helping LUPC to implement policy, develop and implement strategy, conduct research and training in responsible procurement. She assists member organisations with embedding responsible procurement within their sourcing processes and supports suppliers to meet rigorous human rights and environmental criteria set against global benchmarks.

Responsible Procurement Lead
Justin McLoughlin

Justin manages the Estates category alongside Julie Gooch.

Senior Category Manager