Science Based Targets Initiative

The Science Based Targets Initiative aims to increase corporate participation in mitigating climate change and align corporate goal with international climate agreements. 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.

Latest: In early 2022, SBTI said it would no longer accept commitments or validate targets from fossil fuel companies. It will also remove those with previous commitments, as it looks to develop peer reviewed oil and gas target setting methodologies, the organization said.

“SBTi has updated its fossil fuel policy and will no longer accept commitments or validate targets from fossil fuel companies,” but noted that “companies may be reinstated following further development of the fossil fuel sector project.”

About: The initiative is a collaboration between the CDP reporting framework organization, the ecology research organization World Resources Institute, the World Wide Fund for Nature, United Nations Global Compact and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.

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.

Process: The SBTI differs from other carbon-reduction methods in that it uses a scientific evaluation of what has to be done universally, instead of what the company can manage in isolation. 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.

In October 2021, the SBTI launched the new Net-Zero Standard to provides guidance and tools to set science-based net-zero targets.