Interview with Greenstone CEO, Matthew de Villiers, on why the sustainability software company joined the movement to set an ambitious emissions reduction target.
Science-based targets (SBTs) are greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets in line with levels identified by climate scientists to prevent global warming. The SBT initiative, a partnership between CDP, UN Global Compact, WRI and WWF, and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments, is championing them as a powerful way of boosting companies’ competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy.
Greenstone recently committed to setting a science based target. We spoke to Greenstone’s CEO Matthew de Villiers on the reasons behind the decision.
What were the drivers that led towards you setting a target?
As a partner of Barclays, we were invited to take part in an initiative to join them in making the commitment to set a science based target. Barclays, who recently announced its commitment to setting a SBT, has set an ambitious carbon reduction target of 80% by 2025 which exceeds the minimum science-based reduction of 37% required to keep global temperatures well below 2 degrees. The global bank has also committed to RE100, and will procure 100% of its global operational energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.
As a CDP accredited partner and a UN Global Compact participant, Greenstone is championing the adoption of science-based targets and even though our impact is smaller than many organisations, we thought it was important for us to make the commitment. We are working with a number of our clients providing them with credible data to be able to set and monitor 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.
Many businesses are now setting their own SBTs. What impact do you hope this will have?
It’s very encouraging to see more and more companies taking action and setting SBTs. As the latest IPCC Special Report on 1.5oC highlights, there is now a small window of opportunity for businesses to take action, in an effort to keep temperature rises to within 1.5 degrees. This demands strong commitment and action from everyone, no matter what size their business is. I hope that promoting and encouraging the setting of SBTs will help the initiative gain the momentum needed to make a significant change to the future of our planet.
Why do you think now is a good time to start developing a SBT?
The Special Report has increased interest in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of companies from a range of groups, including investors, the media and the general public. This increased scrutiny provides organisations with the opportunity to reaffirm commitment to climate action, show leadership in their industry and gain competitive advantage. As a technology company, it’s important that we are fostering innovation to look at tackling climate change. We’re proud to join some of our clients in the technology sector, including Sopra Steria and Fujitsu, by committing to a science based target to help set a roadmap for momentum.
Are you including Scope 3 emissions in your SBT?
More than 40% of Greenstone’s carbon footprint is within Scope 3 so it’s important that we include Scope 3 in our target setting to ensure it is credible. This includes our Scope 3 business travel, water and waste as well as the Scope 3 impacts through our supply chain. Like many organisations, a key component of our Scope 3 footprint comes from primary data collection from our suppliers. We're using our SupplierPortal platform to capture this data and foster enhanced engagement with our suppliers on their own environmental impacts.
If a company is interested in setting a SBT, where will they find information?
The SBTi have a really useful step-by-step guide on their website advising companies on where to start. If you would like to discuss how to collect robust and verifiable data for setting a SBT, please get in touch with one of the Greenstone team to explore the use of our award-winning software.