The Ultimate Guide to SBTi (Science Based Target Initiatives)

Posted in on Jan 3 2023, by Hollie McHughHollie McHugh

What is the SBTI?

Science-based target initiatives demonstrate to businesses how much and how rapidly they must minimise their GHG emissions in order to slow global warming, lessen the climate crisis, and reduce the worst impacts of climate change.

If the emissions reduction target matches the thresholds that the scientific community believes are required to achieve the 1.5–2°C temperature reduction target outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement, they are said to be "science-based."

The SBTi is a collaboration of the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) Center for Sustainable Business, the CDP, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and WRI.

What do they do?

  • Defines and promotes sustainable business practices in science-based emissions reduction targets in line with climate science.
  • Provides technical assistance and expert resources to companies that set science-based targets in line with the latest climate science.
  • Bring together a team of experts to provide companies with independent assessment and validation of targets.
  • The SBTi is the lead partner of the Business Ambition for 1.5C campaign - an urgent call to action from a global coalition of UN agencies, and business and industry leaders, mobilising companies to set net-zero science-based targets in line with a 1.5°C future.

Why Should Businesses Strive for Science-Based Objectives?

Governments from around the world agreed in the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to 2°C over pre-industrial levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a warning in 2018 that global temperature must not surpass 1.5°C - hence the urgency for businesses to set 1.5°C-aligned targets.

Participants agreed that in order to reach this target, GHG emissions must be cut in half by 2030 and reach "net zero" (i.e., emissions still being produced are offset by reductions in carbon emissions elsewhere) by 2050.

If the private sector wants to prevent the devastating effects of climate change and maintain investor confidence over time, businesses need to work with their supply chains and pay attention to the SBTi and set ambitious, credible targets for emissions reduction.

Impact of SBTi

The SBTi, or Science-based Target Initiative, began an era of exponential expansion and rising corporate ambition in 2021, with a tripling of the rate at which new science-based climate targets were validated and a doubling of the number of new organisations setting and committing to set emissions targets.

By the end of 2021, more than 2,200 businesses, accounting for more than a third of the market capitalization of the world's economy, were collaborating with the SBTi, adding more than 110 new businesses each month.

These businesses are setting the standard. But we need every business, in every industry, to join them. Our planet's future depends on it.

Before COP26, the SBTi Net-Zero Standard was introduced, defining the first framework for corporate net-zero target setting in the world, with 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets as foundations.

What are the Benefits of Science-Based Target Setting?

  • The SBTi is working with more than 2,000 private sector companies and financial institutions to achieve net-zero emissions, and that number is steadily increasing. There are numerous advantages which include:
  • The acknowledged barometer for pursuing climate action is now science-based goals.
  • The goal of reducing emissions spurs innovation and forms a long-term company strategy.
  • Future regulations relating to carbon emissions can be avoided by reducing emissions in accordance with research.
  • Financial institutions are increasingly taking science-based carbon reduction into account.

How Can Businesses Establish Science-Based Goals?

Companies should set SBTi-approved emissions-reduction goals that are in line with the most recent scientific findings. On the route to attaining science-based net-zero targets by 2050, the approach starts by identifying a representative range of emissions scenarios that are deemed realistic, responsible, objective, and consistent with the aim of satisfying the global 1.5–2°C science-based emission reduction target.

The three types of SBTs are short-term, long-term, and net-zero goal objectives.

Short-Term Objectives

These goals take into account how businesses will lower their emissions over the following five to ten years as well as the quick efforts needed to achieve significant emissions reductions by 2030. Companies that want to set net-zero ambitions must first have near-term goals.

Long-Term Objectives

This ambitious emissions reductions target shows how businesses will reach net zero in accordance with the requirements of the SBTi's Corporate Net-Zero Standard. To attain net zero, the majority of enterprises will need to reduce emissions by at least 90%. These goals must be accomplished by 2050 at the latest (2040 for the power sector).

Net-Zero Objectives

These cover both short-term and long-term objectives. Both short-term and long-term targets have been certified for companies who want to set net-zero targets under the Corporate Net-Zero Standard.


We at CoolPlanet can assist you in beginning the process of reducing your emissions and energy consumption, as well as setting and achieving ambitious emissions reduction targets.

We can find, design, and implement the best solutions for your business, from increasing energy efficiency and optimising processes to incorporating renewable energy and electrification.

Additionally, we provide you with detailed guidance about funding or scheme possibilities that may benefit your business and make you feel supported during the entire process. Talk with CoolPlanet about setting your ambitious climate target today.