"What's your particular way of doing standardized emission reporting?" A Swedish study on measurement and reporting practices of scope 3 emissions

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för företagande och ledning

Abstract: Following the saying "what gets measured, gets managed" the constructed notion of GHG emissions measurements has, in the environmental sustainability context, increasingly been shaping business decisions and academic debate. However, the current state of measurement and reporting of scope 3 emissions, which generally account for the majority of firms' emissions, is inconsistent and incomplete. As the common understanding of the concept of scope 3 emissions itself as well as their quantification is questionable, this study aims to shed light on how the perception of Scope 3 Emission Measurement and Reporting (SEMR), as well as adopted practices, differ across firms. Following an abductive qualitative approach, 21 participants from 10 large Swedish firms were interviewed using a semi-structured format. It was possible to identify coherent sets of SEMR practices that are shaped by underlying values and shared beliefs sitting at the heart of an organization's culture. As such, differences in culture, contribute to differences in the adopted scope 3 approaches, which were described with the help of Quinn's (2011) competing values framework. While these findings complement traditional reporting theories, they raise critical methodological concerns on the relevance of research that aims to understand the adoption and quality of indirect emission measures by quantitatively studying firms' published emission data. The findings further imply that cultural awareness and development are necessary to further drive SEMR both internally as well as through external actors and regulators.

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