Jennifer Ulloa

What is the SBTi framework?

Learn about the SBTi Framework and how to become a part of this globally recognised target setting initiative.
1 min Read

What is the SBTi Framework? 

The science is very clear. 

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published a widely recognised report in 2018 urging that we prevent global warming to more than 1.5 degrees celsius – above pre-industrial levels and reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown.

The evidence behind this is indisputable, and it will take effort from and for everyone to slow down anthropogenic climate change.

But all hope is not lost, there are numerous organisations and frameworks working to keep us on the right path, and more importantly, harness efforts in an effective way so that we can collectively reach the goal of "keeping 1.5 alive.” 

One of those projects is the SBTi (science based targets initiative) which prompts companies from varying sectors to commit to a target, measure against it, and make reductions on it year by year.

Keep on reading to discover more...

Introducing the Science Based Targets Initiative

Science-based targets enable companies to pursue the overarching objective of reducing corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by aligning their reduction efforts with global emissions budgets projected by climate models.

The Science-Based Targets Initiative, a collaboration involving CDP, UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute, and WWF, has actively contributed to the creation of methodologies and tools. 

These resources aid companies in establishing and progressing toward targets that are grounded in scientific principles.

In this feature, we will examine the SBTi in greater detail and will also list out ways in which you can get involved on a corporate level. 

What does best practice look like? 

The SBTi is a global body encouraging corporate organisations and financial institutions to set science-led targets to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement

Best practice for this initiative looks like a company adopting a robust transition plan covering Scope 1,2, and 3 emissions, lay out short term milestones, ensure broad level governance from the company, and make adhering to the SBTi framework as business critical.

What makes a target “science based?”

You may wonder how we can verify that the targets set out by SBTi are legitimate and backed by science.

Targets are considered to be “science backed” if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems to be necessary to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement, limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels*

*In principle, "pre-industrial levels" means any time before the industrial revolution. Given consistent or similar definitions are frequently being used here, the exact definition does not affect the fact that human activity have greatly accelerated global warming to unprecedented levels.

How can corporate players subscribe to SBTi Framework? 

Companies all across the world are able to set science-based targets and join the framework. Here are some quick ways to do just that: 

  • Submit a letter communicating your commitment to science-based targets and showing leadership buy-in;

  • Work on a reduction plan towards a science based target;

  • Submit your target proposal to the SBTi Framework for approval;

  • Communicate and shout about your target commitment with your internal and external stakeholders;

  • Disclose and report on your progress, ensuring to track your progress annually. 

Who can join the SBTi Framework? 

The SBTi Framework is extremely inclusive and encourages companies from all sectors to join. However, there is a special importance placed on companies coming from the highest emitting sectors to join in and take part. Check to see if your sector is included!

If so, you can register to be a part of the framework, here

Final Remarks

As we navigate the intricate landscape of climate action, best practices within the SBTi involve adopting robust transition plans that encompass Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. 

Companies are encouraged to set short-term milestones, establish broad-level governance, and actively engage with the framework to ensure the legitimacy of their science-based targets.

Understanding the credibility of these targets is paramount. A target is deemed "science-based" when it aligns with the latest climate science, reflecting what is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

As corporate players seek to contribute meaningfully, the SBTi Framework offers an inclusive platform for companies across sectors to join in and actively participate. 

Additional Resources 

If you want to continue learning about the SBTi Framework, or have any further questions, we’ve provided a few resources here below to help: 

Read the Salesforce case study 

The importance of “big picture” thinking 

SBTi Framework from the World Resources Institute 

SBTi explained

Find out more

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