Science Based Targets Initiative

The Science Based Targets Initiative aims to increase corporate participation in mitigating climate change. Companies can use SBTI to reduce their carbon emissions to what scientists think is effective in limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial temperatures, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The Science Based Targets Initiative aims to increase corporate participation in mitigating climate change. Companies can use SBTI to reduce their carbon emissions to what scientists think is effective in limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial temperatures, as outlined in the Paris Agreement. SBTI differs from other carbon-reduction methods by using a scientific evaluation of what has to be done universally, instead of what the company can manage in isolation.

Any company regardless of size or sector can use SBTI, and the organization is developing “pathways” that are tailored to sectors’ specific needs. For example, it is working on a framework and guidance for the financial sector. To date, more than 1,000 businesses globally use science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions.

SBTI sets out the process of joining the initiative and setting a target in five steps:

  1. Signing a letter of commitment – Once a company has committed to setting a target, they are encouraged to also further pledge to phase out all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
  2. Developing an emissions reduction target that meets the SBTI’s criteria, which must be met in order for target to be recognized
  3. Validating the target in cooperation with SBTI
  4. Announcing the target and informing stakeholders – STBI gives companies two years to take action once their participation is announced, otherwise it removes all reference to the company from its literature
  5. Reporting progress

Companies should also follow the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, Scope 2 Guidance, and Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard. This is to ensure transparency and best practices.

The initiative was launched in 2015 after COP21 as a collaboration between CDP, a reporting framework organization formerly called the Carbon disclosure Project, World Resources Institute, an ecology research organization, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the United Nations Global Compact.