What is the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)?

Iceberg melting due to climate change

Net-zero has often been a hard to define term and open to interpretation. The Science Based Targets organisation (SBT https://sciencebasedtargets.org/) uses the IPCC definition of net-zero as its basis for developing their Net-Zero Standards and established a campaign to promote the wider adoption of science-based targets through its Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

So what is the IPCC definition of net-zero?

  • Net-zero is defined as the point when “anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere are balanced by anthropogenic removals over a specified period” (IPCC 2019). The Paris Agreement sets out the need to achieve this balance by the second half of this century, i.e. by 2050.

How does this relate to the Science Based Targets initiative?

  • The Science Based Targets’ Net-Zero Standard provides a unified framework for companies and financial institutions to calculate by how much and how soon they need to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent the worst effects of climate change, i.e. limiting warming to 1.5°C[1],[2].

Science Based Targets helps companies by defining and promoting best practice in emissions reductions and net-zero targets in line with climate science.

To meet the SBTi Net-Zero Standard, companies must accordingly reduce their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and neutralizing any residual emissions through the permanent removal/storage of atmospheric carbon.

Carbon credit “off-sets” can be purchased as an additional action, but these cannot be used to claim net-zero; only those relating to the permanent removal of CO2 (i.e. neutralization) can be claimed.

Purchasing high-quality carbon credits in addition to reducing emissions along a science-based trajectory can play a substantial role in accelerating the transition to net-zero emissions at the global level.

The SBTi is a lead partner of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign – an urgent call to action from a global coalition of UN agencies, business and industry leaders, mobilising companies to set net-zero science-based targets in line with a 1.5°C future.

Nearly one thousand organisations worldwide are leading the transition to a net-zero economy by setting emissions reduction targets grounded in climate science through the SBTi.

[1] https://sciencebasedtargets.org/developing-the-net-zero-standard

[2] https://sciencebasedtargets.org/net-zero-for-financial-institutions






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