How Are OECD Companies Faring When it Comes to CO2 Emissions?

Climate February 7, 2023 Almudena Hellin, Jaime Oliver

In comparison to their Non-OECD counterparts, companies from OECD countries present a smaller intensity of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. Together with governments, policy makers and citizens, they work on establishing evidence-based international standards and finding solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges.

Clarity AI wanted to compare CO2 emissions for OECD and Non-OECD countries, across all scopes. While OECD companies present a smaller intensity of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, Scope 3 is substantially higher, accounting for 88.42% of the emissions.

To dig into this result further, we explore the emissions at the industry level. On the one hand, we find that material-intensive industries (such as consumer staples) have much higher Scope 3 emissions in the OECD.

On the other hand, knowledge intensive industries (such as health care or communication services) have lower footprints in OECD countries, although Scope 3 still accounts for a significant portion. 


For all industries, Scope 3 emissions are higher in OECD countries than non-OECD countries. However, the breakdown by industry groups shows that in the Services sector, OECD countries emit overall less CO2 than non-OECD countries in spite of the Scope 3 emissions (see Industry Breakdown section).

Consistent with the literature, these results show how OECD economics offset lots of their carbon emissions to other countries.


Note: Intensity = TnCO2/MUSD



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