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What is the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI)?

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a partnership between the Carbon Trust, CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that helps companies set and achieve science-based emissions reduction targets. These targets are based on the latest climate science and are aligned with the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed upon in the Paris Agreement.

The SBTi defines three different types of targets:

Absolute emissions reduction targets: Companies set a target to reduce their absolute emissions, regardless of their growth.

Intensity targets: Companies set a target to reduce the emissions intensity of their operations, usually measured as emissions per unit of production or revenue.

Renewable energy targets: Companies set a target to increase the proportion of renewable energy in their energy mix.

The SBTi has set a rigorous process to validate and approve targets set by companies. To have their targets approved by the SBTi, companies must go through a technical assessment to ensure that their targets are in line with the latest climate science and that they have a plan in place to achieve them.

Once a target is approved, companies are expected to publicly report their progress towards achieving their target on an annual basis. They are also required to regularly update the SBTi on their progress and any changes to their target.

Companies that set and achieve SBTi-approved targets are recognized as leaders in the fight against climate change and are included in the SBTi’s “A-list” of companies that have set science-based targets.

Overall, the SBTi reporting standards provide a framework for companies to set and achieve emissions reduction targets that are aligned with the latest climate science, and are recognized as leaders in the fight against climate change. It's worth noting that SBTi is a voluntary initiative, however, many companies are encouraged by investors and other stakeholders to set science-based targets in line with the SBTi's recommendations.

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