Author Emma Littlewood
Creator & Strategist
Why set science-based targets?
Setting science-based targets (SBTs) future-proofs growth, saves money, provides resilience against regulation, boosts investor confidence, spurs innovation and competitiveness – while also demonstrating concrete sustainability commitments to increasingly-conscious consumers.
What is the climate emergency?
Climate science predicts that unless we dramatically curb temperature rise in the next 11 years we’ll see catastrophic impacts of climate change, including sea level rises affecting 10 million homes, ice-free Arctic summers, loss of almost all insect habitat and significant increase in droughts, floods, storms and forest fires.
What is the Paris Agreement?
The Paris climate deal of 2015 saw 200 countries pledge to keep global temperatures well below 2C above pre-industrial times and preferably to 1.5C
In 2018 UN scientists said limiting the rise to 1.5C could prevent island states from sinking beneath the waves, help millions of people avoid the impacts of extreme weather or losing their homes to the sea and limit the chances of an ice-free Arctic summer.
Where does my organisation come in?
As well as nation states reducing emissions in line with the 1.5C cap, organisations and individuals around the world need to make the same commitments if we are to succeed in averting catastrophic global heating.
How to ensure your company is in line with the Paris Agreement
Science-based targets provide companies with a clearly-defined path to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth.
What is a science-based target?
Targets are ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
What do science-based targets look like?
Science-based targets provide companies with a percentage reduction for carbon emissions between a recent base year and a target year which is between 5 and 15 years later. Achieving this target will mean that the company has reduced its own carbon emissions enough to limit global heating to the critical 1.5C cap. Rule of thumb is to cut emissions in half every ten years.
How to calculate and set a science-based target
Once you have measured your carbon footprint, you can commit to calculating your target by signing a commitment letter and sending it to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) which will then contact you and explain the next steps. You’ll have 2 years before you need to set your target and have it officially validated by the SBTi. The SBTi provides models and tools to help you calculate and understand the targets.
What is the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)
The SBTi is a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and its call to action is one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.
The SBTi has created the framework and tools for businesses to set science-based targets, and is working to define a science-based standard for net-zero target setting, to ensure that companies’ net-zero targets translate into action consistent with achieving a net-zero world by no later than 2050.
Who has set science-based targets?
More than a thousand businesses around the world have committed publicly with the Science Based Targets initiative.
Infographic Source: Science-based Targets Initiative
Science-based targets for SMEs
The Science Based Targets initiative now have a path for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to get their targets verified. This is very exciting news facilitating smaller organisations to set science-based targets. Previously, SMEs, organisations with less than 500 employees may not have had the resources to do so.
SMEs (companies with fewer than 500 full time employees) can now reap the benefits of a quicker path to achieving verified science-based targets. The following adjustments have been made in their favour:
- Discounted cost – SMEs now only pay $1,000 to have their science-based targets verified.
- SMEs can bypass the initial step of committing to the target and the target validation process.
- Flexibility setting targets. SMEs can choose to set targets in line with staying well-below 2°C of warming, or below 1.5°C.
- SMEs don’t have to set a scope 3 emissions target and only need to commit to reducing scope 3 emissions in general.
Learn how to set Science-based targets
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