How to develop a science-based reduction pathway for your sector: New guidance

28th Feb 2017

To determine a science-based greenhouse gas emission reduction target for a company, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) relies on various methods.

The Sectoral Decarbonization Approach (SDA) is one of these methods. Developed by the partners of the SBTi with technical support from Ecofys, the SDA is a method for companies to set reduction targets in line with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) detailed CO2 sector scenario for keeping warming to 2°C above preindustrial levels.

The IEA’s 2°C scenario allocates the remaining global carbon budget to sectors taking into account inherent differences among sectors, like mitigation potential and projected growth. The SDA uses these sectoral carbon budgets to help individual companies derive science-based emission reduction targets based on their relative contribution to the total sector activity, their growth projections and their carbon intensity relative to the sector’s target intensity.

The process to develop the SDA and accompanying online-tool included extensive feedback from stakeholders including public workshops and webinars and written feedback with more than fifty organizations representing a diverse range of sectors providing inputs.

Which sectors can be used in the current version of the SDA tool?
The current version of the SDA tool is best suited for companies in sectors with well-defined activity projections and physical intensity data. This includes:

Electricity generation

– Iron and Steel

– Aluminium

– Cement

– Pulp and Paper

– Road, Rail, and Air Passenger Transport

– Commercial Buildings

Other less disaggregated sectoral pathways currently included in the tool are:

  • Other transport (freight transport)
  • Other industry (manufacturing industries)
  • Chemicals and Petrochemicals.

The carbon budget of non-covered sectors (e.g. agriculture emissions, residential emissions) is considered in the reference decarbonization model from which all these sector pathways have been derived. For these reasons, there is the need for additional specific sector pathways to be covered as well as for more nuanced trajectories for covered sectors.

The Science Based Targets initiative invites interested stakeholders to contribute to the development of new sector 2-degree pathways. Find out here how your company can get involved.