25 Feb 19

Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) announces major updates

Earth SBTBuilding on the IPCC’s 1.5°C report released in October last year, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has announced that it will introduce major new updates. These updates will enable companies to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets consistent with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement; to limit average global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

The SBTi is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The initiative uses the latest available climate science to define best practice in science-based target setting, and independently assesses companies’ targets against its validation criteria.

Since its inception in 2015, the SBTi has approved targets of more than 160 companies, and an additional 350+ companies have committed to set targets within a two-year timeframe.

Available to companies from April 2019, SBTi will be publishing new technical resources and an updated set of target validation criteria which will reflect the latest science from the IPCC Special Report. The SBTi will also release new resources enabling companies to set targets aligned with a well-below 2°C pathway, which under the SBTi’s new criteria will become the minimum level of ambition accepted by the initiative.

As of October 2019, under the SBTi’s updated target validation criteria:

  • New targets submitted for validation will only be accepted if they are consistent with limiting warming to well-below 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Targets consistent with limiting warming to 2°C will no longer be approved. The definition of “well-below 2°C” will be informed by the IPCC Special Report and underlying scenarios.
  • The level of ambition of all existing and new targets will be published on the SBTi website, and classified under one of three categories: 1.5°C, well-below 2°C and 2°C.
  • To ensure targets remain aligned with the most recent climate science, companies will be required to review, and if necessary revalidate, their targets every five years from the date of the original target approval. This will become mandatory in 2025.

As a CDP partner, and an active supporter of the SBTi, Greenstone is championing this challenge and continues to encourage the adoption of science-based targets. We are already working with a number of clients providing guidance on how to track the on-going process towards their SBTs. Through our sustainability software, our clients can monitor and manage progress against each SBT and analyse the initiatives that have and will contribute towards achieving their goals.

For more information on the recent updates, read SBTI’s press release.


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Science-based targets