What are Science-Based Targets (SBT)?

Science-based targets are a new approach for setting emissions reduction targets for companies. In contrast to typical potential-based climate goals, SBTs follow a top-down perspective and focus on the amount of emissions that have to be reduced in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

The driving force behind SBTs is the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a joint initiative by CDP, UNGC, WRI and WWF. It created methods and criteria for SBTs and validates company targets. Such targets must have a time frame between 5 and 15 years, and cover scope 1 and 2 in accordance with Greenhouse Gas Protocol standard. If a company's scope 3 emissions cover more than 40% of its overall scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, targets must also cover scope 3.

Science-based Targets: Grafic describing the scopes 1, 2 and 3 of carbon emissions

Furthermore, company targets have to focus on emission reductions within the company's own value chain. Offsets, as well as avoided emissions, are not counted toward science-based targets but can be an option for a financial contribution toward emissions reduction beyond SBTs.

Take a look at the SBTi criteria for more detailed information.

Setting science-based targets has many benefits for companies such as improved brand reputation, increased innovation or bottom line savings. Companies can also set SBTs if they already have an emissions reduction target.

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Sources: Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) 2021

You can find further exciting information on the subject of climate change and climate protection in our climate booklet

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