Development of a Concept for the Use of Digital Technologies in Scope 3 Carbon Accounting

Due to climate change, politics, society, and the market environment are increasing the pressure on companies to track their emissions. This is having an increasing impact on the profitability of SMEs, as large corporations are passing on their requirements to them. Accordingly, SMEs are particularly challenged to account for their emissions (Scope 1 and 2). However, emissions along the upstream and downstream value chain (Scope 3) usually have a higher climate relevance for companies. In practice, however, these are often not considered.

This is because scope 3 carbon accounting is accompanied by several challenges, including data collection and provision of the various emission sources. The associated activities often exceed the available resources and competencies of SMEs. To make matters worse, the available solutions are far behind the current technological possibilities and thus require a high proportion of human input.

Accordingly, new solutions must be provided in the context of digitalization so that SMEs can record and calculate Scope 3 emissions automatically, precisely, and cost-effectively. The Institute of Business Logistics and General Management at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), under the scientific leadership of Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Wolfgang Kersten, has been working on the project "Entwicklung eines Konzepts für den Einsatz von digitalen Technologien im Scope 3 Carbon Accounting" since July 2021, which is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag.

The project aims to develop a concept for SMEs that supports the use of digital technologies in Scope 3 carbon accounting in logistics-intensive sectors. The requirements of SMEs for scope 3 carbon accounting are to be derived, possible uses of digital technologies in scope 3 carbon accounting identified and evaluated, and guidelines for implementation developed. A web-based demonstrator for SMEs will then provide decision-making support for the target-oriented integration of digital technologies in Scope 3 carbon accounting.


Project of the „Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung (IGF)“, project number: 21899 N

AiF research association: Institut für Energie- und Umwelttechnik e.V. (IUTA)



Hannah-Deborah Harbich

Research Associate

E-mail: hannah-deborah.harbich(at)

Phone: +49 40 42878 3767


Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Wolfgang Kersten


Phone: +49 40 42878 3525