While all organisations accept, or at least should accept, that they have an important role to play in the battle against climate change, quite what their individual obligations may be are not always so obvious. The ‘Science-Based Targets’ initiative is a global effort for the private sector to more clearly understand what is required of them.
Science-Based Targets are intended to clearly demonstrate to companies how much, and how quickly, they need to reduce their emissions by to contribute to preventing the worst impacts of climate change. Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science considers necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Collectively, this would limit global warming to below 2c, and potentially achieve the ideal limit of 1.5c.
The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) provides guidance and support for companies and organisations that commit to achieving science-based targets. As of 2020, 590 companies with a combined market capitalisation of $10.8 trillion had seen their science-based targets ratified by the SBTi.
For organisations that are considering setting out clear sustainability targets, or even those that have already done so, setting science-based targets is the best way of demonstrating a clear understanding of and commitment to combating climate change.