The Science Based Targets Initiative
The Science Based Targets initiative, or SBTi, is a collaborative effort by several organisations to encourage businesses to set ambitious emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change. The initiative was launched in 2015 and has since gained significant traction, with over 1,000 companies committing to set science-based targets as of 2021.
The SBTi provides a framework for companies to assess their current emissions levels and set targets that align with the latest climate science. This involves setting targets that limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and ideally to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is the more ambitious target outlined in the Paris Agreement.
To set a science-based target, companies must first calculate their emissions footprint, including both direct and indirect emissions from their operations and value chain. They can then use the SBTi's tools and resources to determine what level of emissions reduction is required to align with the Paris Agreement goals. The SBTi also provides guidance on how to track progress towards these targets and report on emissions reduction efforts.
One of the key benefits of setting science-based targets is that it can help businesses future-proof their operations by reducing their exposure to climate-related risks. This can include physical risks, such as extreme weather events and sea level rise, as well as transition risks, such as regulatory changes and shifts in consumer preferences. By taking proactive steps to reduce emissions, companies can also position themselves as leaders in their industries and attract customers and investors who are increasingly focused on sustainability.
The SBTi has also created a framework for setting science-based targets for other areas beyond greenhouse gas emissions. This includes water use, land use, and biodiversity. By setting targets in these areas, companies can help address broader environmental challenges and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The Science Based Targets initiative is an important tool for businesses looking to take action on climate change. By setting science-based targets that align with the latest climate science, companies can reduce their environmental impact, future-proof their operations, and position themselves as leaders in their industries. With over 1,000 companies already committed to setting science-based targets, the SBTi is helping to drive meaningful action on climate change across a range of sectors and geographies.