What are Science Based Targets and what are their benefits?

Compliance with international standards by private companies often serves as a mechanism for transparency and communication of their actions.   

Depending on the nature of these standards, they may evaluate the management of the company’s processes, employee safety systems, and sustainability policies and targets.   

Among the standards that correspond to the environmental assessment of companies, we find the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).  

But,  

  • What are science-based targets?  
  • What are the aims of this initiative?  
  • What are the benefits of setting a Science Based Target?  

In this article, we will answer all these questions and we give you some examples of companies that currently belong to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).  

What are Science-Based Targets? 

According to the Science Based Targets Network, these are defined as:  

“Measurable, actionable, and time-bound objectives, based on the best available science, that allow actors to align with Earth’s limits and societal sustainability goal” 

These objectives come from the Science Based Targets Initiative, based on the following goals:  

  • Define and promote best practices for reducing carbon emissions according to the best available climate science.  
  • Provide methods and guidelines for companies to set their emission reduction targets based on the best available climate science.  
  • Make a team of expert scientists available to advise companies and validate their emission reduction targets.  

 Who can join SBTi? 

All companies, regardless of industry or size, are eligible to participate in the SCT initiative. However, they encourage large companies with the highest GHG emissions to participate in the project.   

SBTi does not currently evaluate decarbonization targets of cities, local governments, public sector institutions and non-governmental organizations. 

 How can organizations set a Science Based Target? 

According to SBTi’s proposed guidance, to establish Science Based Targets, companies must go through 5 steps:  

  1. Evaluate: Determine the company’s greatest impacts on the environment.  
  1. Prioritize: Define in which areas the company has direct control to act on these impacts.  
  1. Measure: Quantify its environmental impacts based on the two previous points.   
  1. Act: Define actions to reduce current and avoid future impacts.  
  1. Monitor: Measure the implemented actions and publicly report the results.  

Science Based Targets provide companies with a clear path to follow to reduce their emissions. In this way, they seek to align their actions with the goals of the Paris Agreement.   

These targets are aligned with a recent call by UN Global Compact for all companies to set their own emissions reduction targets. These should be set to limit the earth’s temperature increase to 1.5°C and thus achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Science Based Targets provide companies with a clear path to follow to reduce their emissions. That way, SBTi encourages companies to align their actions with the goals of the Paris Agreement.   

These targets are aligned with a recent call by UN Global Compact for all companies to set their own emissions reduction targets. These should be set to limit the earth’s temperature increase to 1.5°C and thus achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

How do you validate targets as “science-based”? 

To determine whether a standard set by a company can be classified as science-based, a SBTi’s team of experts need to approve a submission 

After the company submits its standards, a team of experts will validate against SBTi’s scientific criteria if the targets are “science-based” or not. Once the evaluation is completed, the decision is communicated to the company.  

The “science-based” criteria used are available on the web and are freely accessible to any individual who wishes to learn how the SBTi works. 

 Which organizations are leading the SCBi? 

SBTi is a collaborative initiative between different projects:  

These organizations seek to lead the way toward a carbon-neutral economy.   

They work together to drive the decarbonization of private companies by setting ambitious reduction targets based on the best available science 

SBTi defines and promotes best practices for setting science-based targets. It offers different resources and guidelines, always considering the company’s industry, aligning their targets with strict science-based criteria.   

 What are the benefits of setting a science-based target? 

Companies that set emissions reduction goals based on Science Based Targets will likely:  

  • Increase their investments: Many investors are looking for companies with policies and actions aligned with the highest sustainability standards.  
  • Reduce risks: Not only the private sector but also countries and cities in general already have decarbonization targets for 2050 that all stakeholders will have to align with to avoid future penalties.  
  • Create a competitive advantage: Companies with better environmental performance outperform companies with worse performance in many criteria.  
  • Attract new talent: Young professionals choose to work in triple-impact companies, committed to the future of our planet and the new generations.  
  • Improve their reputation: Belonging to SBTi improves the reputation of companies by being able to certify their environmental commitments with transparency.  
  • Collaborative actions: By establishing an SBT, companies enter into a collaborative network with scientists, peers, and competitors pursuing the same environmental goals 

 What organizations are part of the SBTi? 

There are currently more than 3,200 companies and financial institutions working with the Science Based Targets initiative to reduce their emissions. They all work in alignment with the latest data from the best available climate science.  

Some of these companies are:   

  • Patagonia  
  • United Airlines  
  • Marriott  
  • Amazon  
  • Nissan Motors  
  • Prada group  
  • American Airlines  
  • Netflix  
  • Visa  
  • Twitter  
  • Among others.  

To access the complete list of companies that have decarbonization targets aligned with the SBTi, click on this link. 

If you are looking to set your reduction targets based on SBT, Carbon Neutral+ can help you 

Among the services offered by CARBON NEUTRAL+, two of them that are useful for companies that want to apply to this increasingly important initiative: the carbon footprint measurement performed under the GHG Protocol standards (approved by SBTi), and the operation with renewable energies through BIOREC+. These will allow them to reduce their carbon footprint scope 2 and thus add points and be aligned to multiple reduction targets.   

If you want your company to be part of SBTi, contact us and we’ll reply as soon as possible to find the best way to add points and set carbon reduction goals. 

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