Understanding Scope 1 and Scope 2 Emissions in Manufacturing

With the advent of the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) in the EU, manufacturers must begin reporting on different types of emissions from their operations.

In fact, manufacturers will have to report on emissions from their upstream suppliers and downstream users too.

In all, there are 3 types of carbon emissions that manufacturers will have to report on:

  • Scope 1 Emissions – Direct emissions from owned or controlled sources
  • Scope 2 Emissions – Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy
  • Scope 3 Emissions – Indirect emissions from activities outside the manufacturer’s owned or controlled sources, such as business travel, employee commuting, and supply chain.


This new era of granular reporting can be confusing for manufacturers. In this article, we’ll provide some examples of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions from different types of industrial manufacturing.

In this article we’ll explore:

  • Plastics Manufacturing: Scope 1 and Scope 2 Emissions Examples
  • Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing: Scope 1 and Scope 2 Emissions Examples
  • Automotive Manufacturing: Scope 1 and Scope 2 Emissions Examples
  • Aerospace Manufacturing: Scope 1 and Scope 2 Emissions Examples

For a comprehensive overview of carbon reporting and regulations, see the Complete Guide to Sustainability & Carbon Reporting.


Scope 1 Emissions Examples in Plastics Manufacturing


Scope 1 emissions in plastics manufacturing involves any carbon emissions that result directly from the manufacturer’s operations.

The largest contributors to a plastics manufacturer’s Scope 1 emissions depends on how far up the value chain the manufacturer goes. One of the greatest sources of carbon emissions in plastics manufacturing comes from the extraction of the raw materials. All plastics are ultimately made from long-chain hydrocarbons, which are sourced from fossil fuels. If extraction of these fossil fuels are part of the plastics manufacturer’s operations, then the manufacturer would have to include emissions involved in extraction in their Scope 1 reporting.

The second largest source of Scope 1 carbon emissions from Plastics manufacturing comes from the transformation of raw materials into resins and final plastics forms.


The extraction of raw materials and the transformation of raw materials into final plastics forms ultimately accounts for 61% of all emissions involved with plastics production.  


In plastics manufacturing, intense amounts of energy are required in the transformation of raw materials (AKA “feedstocks”) into resin, and then into final plastic forms. The chemical reactions involved in these processes require intense temperatures and pressures.

Typically, plastics manufacturers achieve these temperatures and pressures through the onsite burning of fossil fuels. As such, the emissions from these transformation processes are classed as Scope 1 emissions.

Scope 2 Emissions Examples in Plastics Manufacturing


Scope 2 emissions involve carbon emissions from the generation of purchased energy used in plastics manufacturing processes.

In plastics manufacturing, one of the most energy-intensive processes is injection moulding. Injection moulding can have process loads of between 0.9-1.6 kWh/kg.

Examples of other energy-intensive processes in plastics manufacturing are extrusion moulding and blow-moulding, which can require process loads of between 0.4-0.7 kWh/kg and 0.8-1.3 kWh/kg respectively.

[H2] Scope 1 Emissions Examples in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

In Pharmaceuticals manufacturing, substantial greenhouse gases are generated when converting active ingredients into medicinal products.

As with plastics manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing often requires intense amounts of heat and pressure to drive critical chemical reactions. Chemical reactions are the backbone of pharmaceutical manufacturing, as specific molecules need to be generated. These specific molecules are often the “active ingredients” in the medicines that are manufactured.

And again – as with plastics manufacturing – most pharmaceutical manufacturers achieve the heats and pressures required for chemical reactions through the onsite burning of fossil fuels. The carbon emissions from the onsite burning of fossil fuels must be reported as Scope 1 emissions.

Some pharmaceuticals manufacturers are finding ways to curb their Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions. Amgen reduced emissions from operations by 69% by moving from a batch-processing method to a continuous-processing method. And now others, such as Sanofi, are following suit.

Scope 2 Emissions Examples in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing


In addition to the fossil fuels burned on site, pharmaceutical manufacturing typically requires enormous draws of electrical energy. Electrical energy is required in pharmaceutical manufacturing to maintain the right conditions for generating human medicines.

Prior to undergoing chemical processes, it is often necessary to pre-heat, reheat, or maintain cool temperatures for raw materials. Beyond chemical reactions, pharmaceutical manufacturing can require other steps such as cooling or filtration. All these steps require electrical energy.

Medicines designed for human consumption must be carefully maintained to ensure the right levels of chemical activity. In practice, this requires systems for maintaining strict temperature controls. Preserving medicines can also require maintaining conditions around humidity, and air drying.

Scope 1 Emissions Examples in Automotive Manufacturing


The greatest source of carbon emissions from automobiles throughout their lifetime comes from usage, which is categorised as scope 3 for a manufacturer. The emissions that result from usage dwarf those involved with production, but production emissions can still be significant.

The greatest sources of direct carbon emissions in the automobile manufacturing industry are from the transformation of materials. Materials transformation processes such as metal stamping, casing, forging and machining were found to generate 1,065 kg of CO2 for a generic 1532 kg vehicle.

These direct carbon emissions would be reported under Scope 1 for the automotive industry.

Scope 2 Emissions Examples in Automotive Manufacturing


Materials transformation processes in automobile manufacturing are the top driver for direct carbon emissions. Transformation processes are also a top draw for electrical energy. Both direct fossil fuel consumption and electricity are required for transformation processes such as stamping and machining. Transformation processes were found to require over 19,000 megajoules of electrical energy in producing a generic 1532 kg vehicle.

Transformation processes are not the only electrical draw for the automotive industry. The second most energy-intensive process involved with vehicle manufacture is painting. Vehicle painting was found to require more than 4K megajoules of electricity.

Beyond the direct activities involved with vehicle production, automotive manufacturing also requires vast amounts of electricity for auxiliary purposes, such as lighting and heating. HVAC, lighting & heating of manufacture facilities for the car manufacturing industry were found to require more than 6K megajoules of electricity for each 1532-kg vehicle produced.

Scope 1 Emissions Examples in Aerospace Manufacturing


In the manufacturing of airplanes, the largest sources of scope 1 emissions arise from activities such as welding, painting, and curing of composite materials, all of which require significant energy inputs.

Additionally, the use of heavy machinery and equipment in assembly lines contributes to emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide and methane.

Scope 2 Emissions Examples in Aerospace Manufacturing


Processes surrounding the milling of components from solid blocks is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions in the aerospace industry. These milling processes are typically powered by electricity, so they form part of aerospace’s Scope 2 emissions.

Moving to other manufacturing techniques such as structural casting and bulk additive manufacturing can help to reduce Scope 2 emissions from airplane manufacturing.

As with automotive manufacturing, aerospace manufacturing also requires vast amounts of electricity for the maintenance of factory facilities. Aerospace manufacturers are looking to improve efficiencies in their factories around heating and insulation to rein in costs to heat and maintain ventilation.

Airbus case study identified the preparation for painting and painting processes as being one of the largest consumers of electricity in the manufacture of airplanes.

Changes to approaches for anodising, painting and drying of painted parts were able to achieve a 70% reduction in energy usage through these processes.



The pace of change in manufacturing industries is rapid. Manufacturers have competed for years on production efficiency and cost minimisation, but now must learn to manage a new form of accounting. Sustainability is the new frontier in competition among manufacturers, and those that learn and adapt most quickly will reap the rewards.

The first step in developing efficiencies in sustainability is measuring and understanding your own facility’s emissions.

Contact Mavarick today to understand the benefits of centralised carbon management and reporting tracking for your Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions.