The lever of change for setting emission reduction targets: Science Based Targets (SBTi)

Updated on
March 1, 2024

What are they?

The Paris Agreement committed governments to limit global temperature rise to 2°C, and preferably to 1.5°C. Companies, as the largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), must halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Science Based Targets" (SBTs) are targets defined by companies, aligned with the criteria of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), to reduce their GHG emissions. SBTs drive decarbonisation, aiming to become a competitive advantage and ensure that targets are consistent with scientific recommendations to mitigate climate change. More than 80% of the 500 largest companies have already set reduction targets, reflecting a corporate commitment to a low-carbon economy.

Why implement SBTs in companies?

Setting SBT targets in companies offers several key advantages:

• Boosting innovation:
Encourages innovation and technological development, positioning companies as leaders in the transition to a low-emission economy.
• Saving money and competitiveness: Ensures long-term efficiency and sustainability, crucial in a resource-costly future, improving competitive position and profitability.
• Building credibility and reputation: Strengthens reputation among stakeholders by leading on climate issues, building trust among investors, customers and employees.
• Influencing and preparing for regulatory change:
Places companies ahead of future regulations, enabling influence on key policies and reducing regulatory uncertainty.

How can a company set these targets and have them validated by SBTi?

The Science Based Targets initiative invites companies to demonstrate leadership in climate action by publicly committing to science-based GHG reduction targets. Participating companies will be recognised on sciencebasedtargets.org. To join, five key steps must be completed.

1. Complete a pledge form. This indicates that they are committed to setting science-based targets.
2. Develop the goal. Companies have 24 months to develop and announce their target.
3. When they announce the target, it must be reviewed and validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative.
4. The company must calculate and report the total carbon footprint to the initiative and make it public.
5. Report on the company's emissions and review them annually.

What are the criteria for defining SBTi targets?

• Boundary: Include Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and all relevant GHGs according to the GHG protocol.

• Timeframe: Short-term reduction targets should be for a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 years from the announcement.

• Level of ambition: Minimum is to be aligned with targets of no more than 1.5 C global temperature increase for scopes 1 and 2 and no more than 2 C for scope 3.

• Scope 3: Necessary and quantifiable if it represents more than 40% of total emissions, including the value chain, or if the company represents the fossil resource sector (oil, natural gas, etc.).

• Reporting: Disclose annually the company-wide GHG emissions inventory.

How can Dcycle help you in managing your environmental impact and defining SBTi reduction targets?

We specialise in carbon footprinting and environmental management, offering not only an effective solution for companies in the transition to a low-emission economy, but also significant benefits. The platform optimises the assessment and improvement of environmental performance by automatically collecting and measuring relevant data in an efficient way. Through its Modelling functionality, it allows setting specific targets aligned with GHG protocols and SBTi, providing an integrated view for effective impact reduction and reporting with relevant metrics.

Dcycle facilitates the setting of reduction targets aligned with SBTi, turning these targets into tangible actions. The platform also allows you to collect and calculate supply chain emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3) and work collaboratively with suppliers, helping to demonstrate leadership in sustainability and corporate responsibility, driving immediate action towards a more sustainable future. Join committed companies in setting short term targets and become the company of the future.

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Cecilia Bayas
Senior Sustainability Specialist