The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) is a key tool in the Ecological Transition, driving collaboration and the implementation of Science-Based Targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In this article, we explore how SBTI is transforming the way organisations approach sustainability and how companies can integrate Science-Based Targets into their strategies for a greener and more prosperous future.
What is the SBTI and why is it important for companies and organisations?
The UN Global Compact issued a decisive warning last year. Only four out of ten companies are willing to reduce their carbon footprint. This therefore paints a picture in which there is an urgent need to work harder on this issue.
What is the SBTI (Science Based Targets Initiative)?
Firstly, it is important to understand the SBTI and what it entails. It is a global collaborative initiative, with its purpose being to help companies reduce their GHG emissions by setting clear and measurable targets. It is led by a number of organisations, including the following:
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
- Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
- World Resources Institute (WRI).
Naturally, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) plays a crucial role. It focuses on enabling companies to contribute to the goal that society has set out. This is to keep the rise in temperatures below 2°C compared to the pre-industrial era.
Benefits of adopting Science-Based Targets
Following Science Based Targets (SBT) offers numerous environmental, economic and reputational benefits to companies. Some of these benefits are detailed below:
- Alignment with global regulations and policies: Introducing SBTs ensures that companies are aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), facilitating compliance with environmental regulations and avoiding potential sanctions.
- Risk reduction: By setting and meeting emission reduction targets, companies can minimise the risks associated with climate change, such as resource scarcity, supply chain disruption and increased energy costs.
- Competitive advantage: Companies that adhere to SBTs demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment, which can increase their attractiveness to investors, customers and employees. In addition, innovation in clean technologies and efficient processes can drive growth and improve the company’s competitive position.
- Innovation and efficiency: Setting ambitious emission reduction targets drives companies to seek innovative and efficient solutions, which can generate long-term savings and improve profitability.
- Access to finance: Investors are increasingly interested in financing sustainable projects and companies committed to reducing their environmental impact. Implementing SBTs can open doors to new financing and capital opportunities.
In short, pursuing Science-Based Targets ensures companies’ future viability in a world where there is an ever-increasing awareness of sustainability and the fight against climate change.
CDP and SBTI: Partnering to promote corporate sustainability
SDG 17 reinforces the need for building partnerships to achieve these goals. For example, there is the ongoing collaboration between the CDP and the SBTI.
What is the CDP?
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is a non-profit organisation founded in 2000. It is focused on providing a standardised, global system for sharing data on GHG emissions. It also aims to integrate all companies so that they communicate their progress and most effective methods.
Today, it is responsible for the creation of an ecosystem that involves public and private funding. It encompasses both businesses and governments, which gives even more importance to its results. For example, they have recently started to share information on corporate emission reduction strategies.
The relationship between the CDP, the SBTI and the UN Global Compact
The CDP, with its members, is one of the founders of the SBTI. The two have created a positive synergy that strengthens companies’ efforts:
- The first discloses how corporations have been able to outline their emissions reduction targets and how they achieved them.
- The second provides the necessary tools for companies to meet their objectives. To do so, it is supported by data and success stories.
Both entities are fully aligned with the SDGs, specifically SDG 13 (Climate Action). This is because they are part of the United Nations Global Compact. One of the areas in which they work more closely together is the establishment of ESG criteria, especially in the following areas:
- Human and labour rights.
- Environment and sustainability.
- Fight against corporate corruption.
APLANET has joined the Spanish Global Compact Network. Our mission is to work together to create a greener future for the generations to come.
SBTI Guide: How to establish Science-Based Targets in your company
Sustainability is a future challenge that will generate jobs and wealth for companies. The World Employment and Social Outlook (2018), produced by the International Labour Organisation and the UN, is very clear. Around 24 million people will be hired by companies because of this opportunity. Employers should therefore see it as an investment.
Senior management commitment
Senior management commitment is the seed that produces real change. It is a matter of priority that the adopted policies are based on corporate leadership. Similarly, executives must be committed to the success of the organisation and take concrete steps to promote the company’s culture and values.
Establishing a task force
The first action is to select the committee members. It is essential that they constitute a representation of the company, with a variation of profiles and skills. It is necessary to select employees from different departments, who have knowledge of environmental issues and an interest in sustainability.
Analysis of emissions and scenarios
It is a key opportunity for companies aiming to improve their environmental performance and sustainability. It must be based on several steps to ensure success:
- Measuring emissions. The company must have a precise understanding of its environmental impact. It is advisable to use the methodology proposed by GHG Protocol or SBTI with certification.
- Identifying mitigation opportunities.Knowledge of what measures can be taken, both in terms of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies, remains indispensable.
- Interpreting future scenarios. Depending on what policies have been implemented, it is necessary to understand what the next few years will look like. Thus, it may be possible to determine changes in regulations or emerging technologies..
Defining objectives and strategies
It is important to ensure that the goals are aligned with the societal demands and they should also be regularly evaluated by internal and external stakeholders. In relation to the fourth point above, it is also wise to anticipate new demands from consumers, investors and target audiences.
The strategies should follow the guidelines of bodies endorsed by the scientific community. Useful advice can be found in the Science-Based Target Setting Manual (SBTI, 2020). Initial targets should be combined with more ambitious ones to create a roadmap for real progress.
Monitoring, reporting and continuously improving
According to the policies outlined by the Science Based Targets Initiative, companies should continuously monitor and optimise their strategies. To do so, there are certain recommendations that can be undertaken:
- Create a reporting team. This team should provide constant communication to investors and any stakeholder or entity that has provided funding.
- Measure progress. The performance of implemented strategies must be evaluated. Ideally, GHG emissions should be identified and benchmarked from time to time.
- Revise and update objectives. This is the only way to guarantee that they remain consistent with science. It is important to note that the current understanding of climate change is constantly changing and adapting.
Net Zero SBTI: Moving towards carbon neutrality
One of the latest initiatives to make progress in this area is Net Zero SBTI. The aim is to help companies achieve carbon neutrality (zero emissions) by 2050. It is included in the goals proposed by the United Nations for industries, society and countries in general.
It provides a framework for companies to set science-based targets. In doing so, they will be able to reduce their GHG emissions. Plans should aim to keep global average temperature growth below 1.5°C and focus on the short, medium and long term.
How do you integrate the targets set by Net Zero SBTI and its criteria? Here are three key pieces of advice:
- Encourage research, innovation and information sharing with other corporations.
- Integrate science-based data analytics into measurement and reduction strategies.
- Communicate progress on a regular basis and draw on the progress made by other companies.
Conclusions: SBTI’s impact on corporate sustainability and the future of the planet
As this article has shown, the adoption of Science-Based Targets is an opportunity for organisations. The key is to mitigate the effects of climate change with valuable initiatives and strategies. These, in turn, must be adapted to the current and future demands of society.
A further conclusion that can be drawn is the need for a holistic approach. It must be geared towards attracting and retaining talent, whilst seeking environmental awareness as a differentiating factor. In this way, it will be easier to build work teams and stakeholders within the business.
The aim is to generate a positive impact on business and the economy as a whole. In order to do so, it is essential to set targets, adopt changes and measure their achievement.
Organisations such as SBTI or CDP help to facilitate this important task for companies. With our NEUTRALITY tool, you can collect emissions data, manage all indicators and information in one place and generate your own reports. Get more information.
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