The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) will introduce major new updates to enable companies to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets consistent with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement, to limit average global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial temperatures. New technical resources and an updated set of target validation criteria will be available to companies in April 2019, and will reflect the latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October 2018.

The SBTi will also release new resources enabling companies to set targets aligned with a well-below 2°C pathway, which under the SBTi’s new criteria will become the minimum level of ambition accepted by the initiative.

The IPCC report warned of severe consequences of a failure to prevent global warming exceeding 1.5°C, and presented a number of new emissions scenarios that would keep temperatures within the thresholds laid out in the Paris Agreement.

Experts from the SBTi, in consultation with a Scientific Advisory Group consisting of leading climate scientists from around the world, are using the new scenarios to model emissions reduction pathways that can be applied by companies to align their strategies with the latest science.

“The IPCC Special Report was a wake-up call for the global economy. There is an urgent need to step up ambition in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid devastating global warming,” said Alexander Farsan, Global Lead for science-based targets at World Wide Fund for Nature, one of the Science Based Targets initiative partners. “Companies have a vital role to play in realizing this goal. The latest science from the IPCC has shown the way forward. We urge companies to raise the bar and set the pace of change that we know is needed.”

The SBTi is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The initiative uses the latest available climate science to define best practice in science-based target setting, and independently assesses companies’ targets against its validation criteria.

“We are calling on all companies to set their science-based target with a new level of ambition — one that aligns with 1.5-degrees Celsius pathways,” said Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “In the lead-up to the UN 2019 Climate Summit, we will drive business innovation and ambition to make zero-carbon future a reality.”

Since its inception in 2015, the SBTi has approved targets of more than 160 companies, and an additional 350+ companies have committed to set targets within a two-year timeframe.

As of October 2019, under the SBTi’s updated target validation criteria:

  • New targets submitted for validation will only be accepted if they are consistent with limiting warming to well-below 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Targets consistent with limiting warming to 2°C will no longer be approved. The definition of “well-below 2°C” will be informed by the IPCC Special Report and underlying scenarios.
  • The level of ambition of all existing and new targets will be published on the SBTi website, and classified under one of three categories: 1.5°C, well-below 2°C and 2°C.
  • To ensure targets remain aligned with the most recent climate science, companies will be required to review, and if necessary revalidate, their targets every five years from the date of the original target approval. This will become mandatory in 2025.

About the Science Based Targets initiative

The Science Based Targets initiative mobilizes companies to set science-based targets and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. It is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments. The initiative defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets. The following Dutch companies are involved (date february 2019):  ABN Amro Bank N.V., Actiam NV, AkzoNobel, ASM International, N.V. , ASN Bank, Bugaboo International bv, Corbion, Eneco, ING Group, KPN NV, De Bijenkorf B.V., PostNL, Royal BAM Group, Royal Philips and Signify.