Scope 3 emissions

ExxonMobil has publicly reported the Company’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions data for many years. The 2025 emission reduction plans are based on Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and are projected to be consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Report Jan. 5, 2021

Scope 3 emissions

Reporting Scope 1 emissions data (direct greenhouse gas emissions from Company operations) provides useful insight into the efficiency and emission-reduction performance of the Company’s operations, portfolio of products, business sectors served and resource type. 

Reporting Scope 2 emissions data (indirect greenhouse gas emissions from energy purchased by the Company) highlights the Company’s choice of energy sources, primarily purchases of electricity to power its operations.

Noting that stakeholders have expressed growing interest in Scope 3 data, the Company is providing Scope 3 information in the table to the right and plans to do so on an annual basis. Scope 3 includes the indirect emissions resulting from the consumption and use of the Company’s products. 

Because Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are within the direct control of a company, the criteria for identifying and reporting them is well established, transparent and consistent across industries. Reporting Scope 3 emissions, however, is less certain and less consistent because it includes the indirect emissions resulting from the consumption and use of a company’s products occurring outside of its control. Evaluating a company’s Scope 3 emissions and comparing them to other companies can be challenging due to inconsistent reporting methodologies, as well as potential duplication, inconsistencies and inaccuracies that may occur when reporting emissions that are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization. The International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) acknowledges these issues.1

Furthermore, Scope 3 emissions do not provide meaningful insight into the Company's emission-reduction performance and could be misleading in some respects. For example, increased natural gas sales by ExxonMobil that reduce the amount of coal burned for power generation would result in an overall reduction of global emissions but would increase Scope 3 emissions reported by the Company. 

Ultimately, changes in society’s energy use coupled with the development and deployment of affordable lower-emission technologies will be required to drive meaningful Scope 3 emissions reductions. 

To do its part and support society’s ambition of net-zero emissions by 2050, ExxonMobil is committed to continuing to invest in new technologies that can potentially reduce emissions at scale. As highlighted throughout this report, the Company is focusing its competencies on developing breakthrough technology that could reduce emissions from the three sectors that emit 80 percent of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions: power generation, industrial processes and commercial transportation. The Company is also partnering with governments, academia and industry to research and commercialize biofuels, direct air capture, and lower the cost of carbon capture and storage. 

ExxonMobil’s focus and commitment to supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement are further detailed in the forward-looking emission-reduction plans described in the Metrics and Targets section.

Estimated Scope 3 emissions from the use of ExxonMobil’s crude and natural gas production for the year ending Dec. 31, 2019 as provided under IPIECA’s Category 11 were 570 million tonnes. 

Note: The table below provides ExxonMobil's Scope 3 estimates associated with the use of its natural gas and crude production in alignment with Category 11 of IPIECA's methodology, which contemplates accounting for products at the point of extraction, processing or sales. ExxonMobil's Scope 3 estimates represent three approaches for accounting and are not meant to be aggregated as this would lead to duplicative accounting. 

For example, for completeness, the Scope 3 estimates associated with the combustion of the crude processed, produced or sold from ExxonMobil's refineries are provided; however, to avoid duplicative accounting, these Scope 3 estimates are not included in ExxonMobil's Scope 3 Category 11 total since the associated Scope 3 emissions would have been reported by the producer of those crudes.

ExxonMobil 2019 Scope 3 estimates 

(Million tonnes CO2-equivalent)
IPIECA Category 11 Scope 3  Upstream production  Refining throughput  Petroleum product sales 
 Natural gas production 190   570  630  730
 Crude production  380
Notes: Applied CO2 Emission Factors were obtained from EPA or derived from API calculations; where applicable emission factors for specific fuel products were applied. Non-fuels products are not combusted by the end-user and therefore are not included in these Scope 3 estimates. IPIECA's Scope 3 methodology includes 15 categories of activities along each product's value chain. Due to lack of third-party data, Scope 3 emissions for categories other than Category 11 could not be estimated. 
1 IPIECA/API, 2016. Estimating petroleum industry value chain (Scope 3) greenhouse gas emissions - Overview of methodologies