Science-based targets

What is a science-based target?

Science-based targets (SBTs) are greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – to keep global temperature increase within 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial temperature levels.

You can have your science-based target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which offers a credible, globally recognised approach for setting carbon reduction targets. If you employ under 500 people, you can apply to have your target validated under the streamlined route for SMEs.

Near-term and long-term net zero targets

In late 2021, the SBTi released the first global science-based framework for companies to set net-zero targets. The Net-Zero Standard defines ‘near-term’ and ‘long-term’ science-based targets. For most companies, you must achieve emission reductions of at least 4.2% p.a. for near-term targets, and must reach 90% emission reductions by 2050 at the latest as your long-term target. To achieve net zero, you can offset the remaining 10% of your emissions via greenhouse gas removals.

If you are looking to achieve carbon neutrality on the way to net zero, you can consider becoming certified under Climate Active.

Why should you consider setting science-based targets?

Your business will face increasing market and regulatory pressure to provide clarity on your climate action and to set targets aligned with what is needed to maintain a safe climate, particularly if you are reporting in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). Setting a science-based target comes with many business benefits:

  • Improved competitive advantage in the market
  • Reduced physical and market climate-related risks
  • Strengthened investor confidence and credibility
  • Boosted employee morale
  • Confidence that your targets are contributing to the global goal of achieving net zero by mid-century
  • Increased innovation

How do we help you set and manage science-based targets?

100% Renewables can help you understand and set science-based targets for your business. Our SBTi services focus on senior-level stakeholder engagement and rigorous analysis to establish and set your targets, develop your emissions reduction pathway, and validate and communicate your goals. In our work with your business, we will:

  1. Engage your stakeholders to discuss the business case for setting a science-based target
  2. Analyse your situation and choose the most appropriate SBT approach
  3. Help you select a baseline year
  4. Calculate your comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions inventory following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard and Scope 2 Guidance. We can also help you to determine your value chain emissions for potential scope 3 targets. This can be an initial scope 3 screening exercise, or the development of a full scope 3 inventory across the 15 scope 3 categories.
  5. Set your short-term science-based targets for the next 5-10 years. This includes determining a mitigation pathway that informs the rate of your emissions reduction or emissions intensity reduction. We will help you select a suitable target year that takes your planned emissions reduction actions into account.
  6. Set your long-term target in line with global net zero scenarios
  7. Develop your strategy and model your emissions reduction initiatives to make sure you are meeting your targets
  8. Align your decarbonisation strategy with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  9. Get your target validated by the SBTi and help you communicate your targets internally and externally
  10. Calculate and help you to communicate your progress annually

For further information, please download our 100% RE Science-Based Targets brochure.

Further information:

Please watch our 4-part video series, in which Barbara, our Co-CEO, explains setting science-based targets.

Relevant episodes from the Driving Net Profit with Zero Emissions”  Podcast 

Blog posts and videos