FAQs

INFORMATION ABOUT THE SBTi AND SCIENCE-BASED TARGETS

Science-based targets give companies a clearly-defined path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. They define how much and how quickly a business must reduce its emissions to be in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

Learn more in the science-based targets Getting Started Guide.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with climate science is good for the planet and for businesses.

In a recent We Mean Business survey, more than three quarters (79%) of business leaders agreed that science-based targets (SBTs) keep companies on track to specific timelines. This finding demonstrates the value of SBTs to businesses looking to accelerate their decarbonization efforts.

Organizations with validated science-based targets or commitments to set them are recognized on our website.

The SBTi mobilizes the private sector to take the lead on urgent climate action.

The SBTi enables companies and financial institutions to understand how much and how quickly they must decarbonize to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

We enable them to tackle global warming.

Action is needed in key sectors, many of which require tailored approaches to setting targets. The SBTi provides clarity and guidance for these sectors, including forest, land and agriculture (FLAG), steel, cement, maritime, finance and more.

In 2021 the SBTi launched the world's first Corporate Net-Zero Standard, to ensure that companies’ net-zero targets are consistent with what is required to achieve net-zero no later than 2050.

Our partners are CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the We Mean Business Coalition, the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The ACT initiative complements the SBTi. By supporting companies in the process of setting science-based targets, the SBTi helps them define a clear sense of direction to be in line with a decarbonization pathway. By supporting companies to achieve the low carbon transition and monitoring their climate action, ACT helps them implement that direction, and enhance the credibility of their climate commitments.

The Science Based Targets Network is developing science-based targets for protecting water, land, biodiversity and oceans for companies, and climate targets for cities.

We appreciate your interest in engaging with and promoting the Science Based Targets initiative. For the time being, we are not formally collaborating with consultancies, non-profit organizations, schools, students, researchers, or service providers. Feel free to subscribe to our mailing list here to receive our newsletter and other updates, and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Additionally, we invite you to use and promote the free resources and tools available on our website.

The SBTi’s conflict of interest policy is publicly available here.

The SBTi receives three different sources of funding:

  • Core funding
  • Project-specific funding for time-limited projects to develop new sector guidance or update specific standards
  • Validation service fees to recover the cost of running our target validation service

If the SBTi enters into Agreements with any company funding a project in which the SBTi is involved, or providing pro-bono support, this agreement will provide sufficient safeguards to ensure that such projects are carried out in accordance with industry best practice, including the requirement that all substantive decision-making related to such project is taken independently by the SBTi.

All corporate funders of sector projects are disclosed on the specific sector pages along with any other companies participating in the project.

You can find e-Learning courses on setting near-term and net-zero science-based targets on the UN Global Compact Academy.

SBTi also posts webinars and learning events covering our standards and guidance on our YouTube channel. For updates on upcoming events, join our mailing list.

PARTICIPATING IN THE SBTi

We encourage financial institutions and companies from all sectors and of all sizes to develop science-based targets. We acknowledge differences between business areas, which is why we offer sector-specific guidance and a streamlined SME route.

The SBTi is especially keen to welcome companies in the highest-emitting sectors, who play a crucial role in ensuring the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

The current exceptions are fossil fuel companies:

Commitments and validations for fossil fuel companies have been paused while sector guidance is developed.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can validate their near-term and net-zero targets and become part of the initiative by submitting to the streamlined target validation system for SMEs.

The SBTi reserves the right to perform due diligence before and after accepting new commitments and while reviewing submitted targets.

The SBTi does not currently assess targets for cities, local governments, public sector institutions, educational institutions or non-profit organizations. However, we encourage these stakeholders to consider science-based target setting methods on their own. Cities can register their interest in setting targets through the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN).

We strongly encourage companies to follow the step-by-step process and commit to developing a target before submitting one for validation.

By committing to set science-based targets before submitting targets for validation, organizations are recognized as “committed to setting a science-based target" on our website, as well as the We Mean Business Coalition website. Companies participating in the UN Global Compact will also be recognized on their website.

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) have a distinct process that doesn’t involve the commitment stage. They can directly submit near-term or net-zero targets for approval through our streamlined SME target-setting route.

Yes, companies can and are encouraged to set targets using the SBTi's Corporate Net-Zero Standard - the world's first Standard for science-based corporate net-zero targets.

SMEs may also set net-zero targets.

The Financial Institution Net-Zero Standard is under development.

We offer comprehensive guidance for companies setting science-based targets and support committed companies to understand which resources are available and appropriate for their needs. This includes guidance for specific sectors and wide range of tools and resources.

Once companies have reviewed these, they need to choose an appropriate approach and methodology to set their science-based target.

Companies can also browse our case studies and YouTube channel (including recordings of relevant webinars) for guidance in the target-setting journey. To stay up-to-date on our latest resources, events and other developments, companies are encouraged to subscribe to our newsletter and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

For a more detailed overview of how to develop and submit your target for validation, including the guidance available, please see our Getting Started Guide.

Thank you for your interest in supporting companies to develop science-based targets. As climate science evolves and frequently requires the SBTi to update materials and resources, we do not help develop, review, endorse or certify any third party tools. However, the resources that the SBTi uses to assess companies’ science-based targets are publicly available - see below. All tools to create science-based targets should be developed using these resources, and the resources should be reviewed at least every three months to ensure continued alignment. While you are free to use our resources to develop target setting tools, you may not include the SBTi logo on your tool or promotional materials without permission, nor claim endorsement, certification or approval by the SBTi.

Currently, companies in all sectors apart from oil and gas can set science-based targets, aligned with the SBTi criteria.

Most sectors will use one of two methods for developing their science-based targets: the Absolute Contraction Approach (used by four out of five companies with approved science-based targets) or the Sectoral Decarbonization Approach (SDA).

Unless your sector is listed below, please see page three of our how-to guide to learn which methodology your company should use, according to your sector and other criteria.

For some sectors / industries, separate sector-specific methodologies, frameworks and requirements have been developed:

We encourage stakeholders to participate in the consultation processes for additional sector-specific guidance and methods:

(Please note, companies in these sectors can already set targets using our existing methods, with the exception of oil and gas)

The SBTi understands that science-based targets can be complex and difficult for companies to always communicate accurately. It is vital that details around science-based targets are communicated accurately to ensure their credibility is maintained. That’s why we have detailed communications guidance, which we share with all committed companies, to support them with communicating about their commitment and target.

When we see a company misrepresenting their science-based target(s) or commitment(s) in their external communications, we will make contact, highlight the issue and ask them to make a correction.

Enabling science-based emissions reductions for fossil fuel companies is complex and the SBTi is taking a cautious and deliberate approach. As always, our aim is to develop robust methodologies that will support decarbonization at the pace and scale required by science.

Due to the developing status of our method, in addition to the existing SBTi policy to pause the validation of fossil fuel sector targets, we are also pausing commitments from these companies. During this period, commitments will not be accepted from companies or subsidiaries in categories 1.1 below. This policy is effective immediately and removal of previous commitments by oil and gas sector companies has been completed.

The SBTi reserves the right to remove other committed companies that, after careful evaluation, are considered to fall within category 1 below. Companies subject to this policy with targets that were approved prior to the policy's implementation will remain valid for five years from the approval date.

1. Companies that cannot commit to the SBTi until the oil and gas method is finalized.

  • 1.1 Companies with any level of direct involvement in exploration, extraction, mining and/or production of oil, natural gas, coal or other fossil fuels, irrespective of percentage revenue generated by these activities, i.e. including, but not limited to, integrated oil and gas companies, integrated gas companies, exploration and production pure players, refining and marketing pure players, oil products distributors, gas distributors and retailers and traditional oil and gas service companies (except as noted in category 2 below).

2. Companies that can join the SBTi

  • 2.1 Companies that derive less than 50% of revenue from a) sale, transmission and distribution of fossil fuels, or b) providing equipment or services to fossil fuel companies (see 1.1).
  • 2.2 Companies with less than 5% revenue from fossil fuel assets (e.g. coal mine, lignite mine, etc.) for extraction activities with commercial purposes.
  • 2.3 Electric utilities that mine coal for their own power generation.
  • 2.4 Subsidiaries of fossil fuel companies (see 1.1) may join the SBTi if the subsidiary itself is not considered a fossil fuel company.

    SBTi has discretion to evaluate the eligibility of fossil fuel company subsidiaries on a case-by-case basis based on the subsidiaries’ operational model and relevance of its emissions to the parent organization. Subsidiaries that are established for the sole purpose of setting an SBT on a portion of a fossil fuel companies’ GHG inventory are not permitted to join SBTi.

    For transparency, subsidiaries who set targets but whose parent companies are ineligible will be identified via a footnote in their target wording.

In summary, the SBTi is continuing work on the oil and gas methodology. Until this method is final, the following will be put in place:

  • Companies that fit category 1 with commitments will be removed from the SBTi target dashboard
  • The SBTi will no longer accept commitments and/or validate targets for companies that fit category 1

This policy will be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it is aligned with the latest SBTi position. Please see our latest release on Oil and Gas Sector guidance here. For any questions, contact the team at [email protected].

Policy change log

  • 07/19/2022 - policy updated to clarify approach regarding subsidiaries of fossil fuel companies
  • 04/19/2022 - policy updated to improve clarity
  • 03/07/2022 - policy update published

All companies involved in the sale, transmit or distribution of natural gas and/or other fossil fuels products shall set near-term and long-term scope 3 targets for the “use of sold products” category that are at a minimum consistent with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase to 1.5°C, irrespective of the share of these emissions compared to the total scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions of the company, company's sector classification, or whether fossil fuel sale/distribution is the company's primary business. Customer engagement targets as described in C19 are not eligible for this criterion.

For other outstanding questions please contact [email protected].

In March 2022, the SBTi enforced a temporary pause on the validation of targets from automakers. This pause was lifted on 20th March 2024. The publication of the Land Transport Guidance includes a new method for automakers to set 1.5°C emissions reduction targets. For the first time, this guidance aligns automakers’ largest source of emissions - scope 3 category 11 ‘use phase’ i.e. those from driving sold vehicles - with 1.5°C.

For any questions contact [email protected]

Companies are able to set near-term scope 3 emission reduction targets using the following methods:

  1. Absolute contraction in line with 1.5°C or well-below 2°C.

  2. Sectoral Decarbonization Approach in line with 1.5°C or well-below 2°C.

  3. Supplier or Customer Engagement Targets.

  4. Economic Intensity Targets.

  5. Physical Intensity Targets.

More details are included in the new version of the criteria.

We have launched a pathway for the power sector, allowing electric utilities to set science-based targets aligned with 1.5°C. Power sector companies must follow this pathway when setting science-based targets.

Dozens of power generation companies from around 20 countries worldwide already have approved targets or commitments. Join them today - commit to setting a target and use our guidance to develop and submit a target for approval:

The majority of companies setting new targets (after 15 July 2022) are only accepted if they are consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Existing targets in line with well-below 2°C or 2°C that were set before the new criteria was introduced continue to be valid. Companies in the finance sector can also still set science-based targets in line with well-below 2°C, but an ambition update has been proposed. See the finance sector page for more information.

The SBTi’s target-setting requirements are based on GHG inventory accounting practices, as specified in the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, Scope 2 Guidance and Value Chain Standard (Scope 3). Avoided emissions fall under a separate accounting system from corporate inventories and therefore do not play a role in emission reduction target-setting or achievement with the SBTi.

The SBTi requires that companies set targets based on emission reductions through direct action within their own boundaries or their value chains.

The use of carbon credits must not be counted as emission reductions toward the progress of companies’ near- or long-term science-based targets. This means that companies cannot purchase carbon credits as a substitute for emission reductions.

For more information on market-based accounting approaches, see What role do market-based accounting approaches play in target-setting with the SBTi?

When it comes to GHG emissions accounting, companies should follow guidance from the experts at the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP). Market-based accounting approaches include the use of certificates conveying emissions attributes that differ from the physical emissions attributes of a company’s activities.

The GHGP allows for market-based accounting for purchased steam, heat, electricity and cooling via the scope 2 market-based accounting approach. The GHGP does not provide guidance for market-based accounting for scope 1 or scope 3 emissions (with the exception of supplier- or customer-provided market-based emissions factors). Therefore, as part of the checks carried out during the target validation process, it is not currently possible for the SBTi to assess whether inventories that include market-based approaches to scope 1 and scope 3 emissions are aligned with the GHGP.

Other uses of market-based instruments, such as book-and-claim, are topics that require further research and clarification.

The SBTi is working with the GHGP to ensure we coordinate on requirements for corporate greenhouse gas inventories. As accounting standards evolve and further research is conducted by the SBTi, SBTi resources will be updated to reflect best practice.

As part of the SBTi’s MRV (Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification) project, the SBTi is conducting research into how companies achieve their targets and the parameters that should be considered for robust reporting of target progress, delivery and achievement. This research is for investigative purposes, and any updates to SBTi standards are subject to thorough consideration and approval in line with the SBTi’s governance.

DEVELOPING A SCIENCE-BASED TARGET

Most companies follow this five-step process to set science-based targets:

1. Commit: Submit a letter establishing your intent to set a science-based target

2. Develop: Work on an emissions reduction target in line with the SBTi’s criteria

3. Submit: Present your target to the SBTi for a complete validation

4. Communicate: Announce your target and inform your stakeholders

5. Disclose: Report company-wide emissions and track target progress annually

See our detailed guidance for each step.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can follow a stream-lined process. View the streamlined pathway for SMEs.

Companies have 24 months to submit their targets to the SBTi. The SBTi discloses commitment information and publishes the status of the commitment. This information is displayed on the SBTi Target Dashboard and in the data download. The commitment status indicates whether a commitment is still active and within the time frame, has been fulfilled, or has been removed.

If, for any reason, a company decides to remove its commitment from the initiative, we strongly encourage contacting us at [email protected] and providing an explanation for the withdrawal. Although we strongly discourage this action, if withdrawal is chosen, the removed commitments will be displayed as 'Removed' on the Target Dashboard. For more information please refer to our Commitment Compliance Policy.

Once companies have reviewed the relevant resources, they need to choose an appropriate approach and methodology to set their science-based target.

There are two approaches companies can use for setting a science-based target for their scope 1 and 2 emissions:

  1. Sector-based approach
  2. Absolute-based approach

Learn more about the target-setting approaches and methods: "Foundations paper".

Learn more about how these approaches relate to the SBTi criteria.

Companies should not default to the target that is easiest to meet but should instead use the most ambitious decarbonization scenarios and methods that lead to the earliest reductions and the least cumulative emissions. Further, alignment with the latest SBTi criteria is always advised and prevents the need for multiple target updates in the future.

For a more detailed overview of how to develop and submit your target for validation, including the guidance available, please see our Getting Started Guide.

In line with the latest climate science, we strongly encourage companies to commit to the highest level of ambition by setting a net-zero, 1.5°C-aligned target across their value chain.

We strongly encourage companies to commit to the highest level of ambition by setting a 1.5°C-aligned target and committing to net-zero.

For companies with existing SBTs, we invite you to voluntarily boost the ambition level of your current targets by completing this form and align your scopes 1 and 2 ambition, along with scope 3 where relevant, with a 1.5°C pathway. Learn more.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol categorizes direct and indirect emissions into three broad scopes:

· Scope 1: Direct GHG emissions occur from sources that are owned or controlled by the company, for example, emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, furnaces, vehicles, etc.; emissions from chemical production in owned or controlled process equipment.

· Scope 2: Indirect greenhouse gas emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam.

· Scope 3: Other indirect emissions, such as the extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels, transport-related activities in vehicles not owned or controlled by the reporting entity, electricity-related activities (e.g. T&D losses) not covered in Scope 2, outsourced activities, waste disposal, etc.

Science-based targets must cover scopes 1 and 2. For companies whose scope 3 emissions cover more than 40% of their combined scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, targets must cover scope 3.

For guidance on what to include in each scope, please refer to the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard. For specific guidance on what to include in scope 2, please refer to GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance. For specific guidance on what to include in Scope 3, please refer to GHG Protocol Scope 3 Guidance.

Please consult the SBTi Criteria Assessment Indicators for further details.

The SBTi offers clear guidance on the timelines businesses must adhere to. It also provides the means for ambitious businesses to go even further and faster.

Base years

When selecting a base year, there are two important considerations.

The first is ensuring your business has verifiable scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions data for this year. That’s because to develop an adequate benchmark, businesses need to provide a clear and accurate greenhouse gas inventory.

The year must also be representative of typical business activity. An unusual year of business activity that does not represent business as usual should not be used. For example, if a business underwent a merger or acquisition, or if an expected extreme weather event or pandemic significantly impacted a company’s usual operations in any given year, then it should not use that base year.

Selecting the right base year helps ensure emissions reduction targets are both ambitious and achievable, which is why it’s important to use the SBTi’s resources to help you pick the right year when setting your targets.

Target years

Near-term targets must have a target year of 5-10 years from the date the target is submitted to the SBTi. Long-term targets must have a target year of 2050 or before.

Only targets submitted in the first half of a calendar year can include the current year in the threshold. For example, companies submitting a near-target by the end of June 2024 can have a target year between 2028 and 2033. Near-targets submitted from July to December 2024 must have a target year between 2029 and 2034.

When selecting target years, it’s important to remember that our guidance outlines the minimum ambition to align with climate science. Many companies go beyond this to choose more ambitious target years. The SBTi welcomes and encourages this.

The SBTi requires companies to provide 100% of their GHG emissions for validation. Companies are allowed to exclude 5% of emissions. The SBTi requires that 100% of scope 1 and 2 emissions be covered under a target. The SBTi requires that 67% of the mandatory scope 3 emissions (see GHGP Corporate Value Chain Scope 3 Standard page 35) are covered under target(s). Companies are not allowed to exclude certain branches, geographies, businesses streams, etc. for validation of a science-based target.

Yes. Companies and financial institutions may set science-based targets using calendar or fiscal years.

No. However, companies that committed to the SBTi on or after 15 July, 2022 are required to use Version 5 of our criteria which requires alignment with a 1.5°C-pathway for most companies.

You can view definitions of each sector classification and their activities in our Sector Classification Descriptions document.

Companies need to establish a base year to track emissions performance consistently and meaningfully over a target period. Companies that are submitting targets for the first time are encouraged to set the most recent year with available data as the base year. If a company has more detailed data for a previous year, this is acceptable for the validation purposes as long as a most recent year data is also submitted to be assessed for ambition.

The following considerations are important for selecting a base year:

  • Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions data should be accurate and verifiable.

  • Base year emissions should be representative of a company’s typical GHG profile.

  • Targets must cover a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years from the date the target is submitted to the SBTi for validation. The choice of base year must be no earlier than 2015.

  • For targets submitted for an official validation in the first half of 2024, the valid target years are 2028-2033 inclusive. For targets submitted in the second half of 2024, the valid target years are between 2029 and 2034 inclusive.

  • For targets submitted for validation in 2024, the most recent inventory data submitted must be for 2022 at the earliest.

The SBTi requires companies to provide 100% of their GHG emissions for validation. However, for scope 1 and 2, companies may exclude up to 5% of scope 1 and scope 2 emissions combined in the boundary of the inventory and target. For scope 3, companies may exclude a maximum of 5% of emissions from their total scope 3 inventory, and the SBTi requires that at least 67% of the total reported and excluded mandatory scope 3 emissions (see GHGP Corporate Value Chain Scope 3 Standard page 35) are covered under target(s).

Companies are not allowed to exclude certain branches, geographies, business streams, etc. for validation of a science-based target, unless they have the data to justify that this constitutes less than 5%.

The SBTi does not recognize emissions perceived to be “negligible” as a rationale for not reporting them. Even if emissions from certain activities or operations are perceived to be negligible, these emissions still must be quantified and reported in the reporting company’s GHG inventory. This is regardless of whether the reporting company chooses to exclude them or not, as exclusions must also be quantified and reported. Further, unavailability of data is not a valid reason for not reporting emissions.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) requires companies that meet either of the following two criteria to set a FLAG science-based target:

i) Companies with land intensive activities in their value chain from the following FLAG-designated sectors are required to set FLAG targets:
• Forest and Paper Products – Forestry, Timber, Pulp and Paper
• Food Production – Agricultural Production
• Food Production – Animal Source
• Food and Beverage Processing
• Food and Staples Retailing
• Tobacco

ii) Companies in any other SBTi-designated sector that have FLAG-related emissions that total 20% or more of overall emissions across scopes 1, 2 and 3.

If your company meets the criteria above, FLAG targets will be required and should be submitted along with other targets through the SBTi Target Validation Booking System using Version 5.2 of the Near Term Target Submission Form + FLAG Annex. Please note that FLAG Targets can not be submitted individually and companies who already have a validated target will need to submit a Near Term Update + FLAG target.

Refer to our FLAG Getting Started Guide, FLAG FAQs, and FLAG Sector Guidance for additional information.

Should you have a question unanswered by these resources, please contact [email protected]

The following applies to companies that are required to set separate FLAG targets as per FLAG-C1 of the Forest, Land and Agriculture guidance.

Companies with existing science-based targets must submit FLAG targets within six months after the release of the final version of the GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance. Businesses that are required to set a FLAG target and decide to set it after the release of the final version of the GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance, must still commit to no-deforestation upon submission, with a target date no later than December 31, 2025.

Companies without an existing science based target and that are in the process of developing targets, will also be required to set FLAG targets upon submission.

As of April 2023, companies anticipating target recalculation for any reason or companies submitting net-zero targets are required to include FLAG targets.

Please find more information on the FLAG project implementation timelines in this blog post.

The SBTi cannot guarantee support for legacy versions of Microsoft Excel, and recommends that users of its target-setting tools update to the latest version available.

In the event that submitted targets, even if matching or exceeding the output(s) of any of the SBTi's target-setting tools, fall short of the SBTi's ambition requirements, the Target Validation Team may deem the tool an output(s) to be erroneous. The tool output does not override target assessment criteria, and the validation team may consequently request target adjustment.

Once the SBTi Terms & Conditions have been fully executed, we will issue an invoice for your company, which are PDF documents that we will send by email. Invoices must be paid within 30 days from the date they have been issued. Please make sure you reference our invoice number in your payment transaction.

Once our administrative team has sent the Terms & Conditions and they have been fully executed, we can start any vendor setup process your company might need.

THE TARGET VALIDATION PROCESS

When a company submits a target, the SBTi Target Validation Team thoroughly assesses the target to ensure it is conforms with SBTi Criteria and aligned with climate science. If the target is in conformance, it is validated and marked on our Target Dashboard as ‘Targets set’. If it is not in conformance, the SBTi provides feedback to the company to encourage them to re-submit.

To submit your targets for validation, complete the relevant forms clearly, completely and accurately as possible. Missing, unclear or erroneous information will result in the validation process being delayed or rejection of the submission.

  1. SBTi Corporate Target Submission Form
  2. FLAG Annex 1
  3. Steel Annex
  4. Streamlined target-setting system for SMEs

Upload completed target submission form via the SBTi target booking system and select an available validation start date. Companies should note that validation may begin earlier than the selected booking date.

On or before the booked date, the SBTi will conduct an initial screening to determine if all necessary information is provided and to assess if the target meets a few basic criteria. After this step is complete, the SBTi will send the validation service contract, which must be signed before the target validation results will be delivered. Section 3 of the target validation protocol provides an overview of each step of the target validation process.

After sending a commitment letter, organizations have 24 months to submit their target.

As part of the target submission, companies book a date in the future for their target review to begin. From this date the SBTi will begin to validate the target and communicate it's decision within 30 business days for Near Term targets, 60 business days for Financial Institutions, and 60 business days for Net Zero targets

The dates listed above assume that the company passes it's initial screening which ensures basic criteria are met, signs the target validation service contract, and responds to queries from their assigned target analyst within 2 business days.

The target validation service includes:

  1. Initial screening of target submission
  2. Up to two target assessments by a Target Validation team member*
  3. For each assessment, one comprehensive target validation report including recommendations to address non-compliances if applicable and a written decision within 30-60 business days, depending on the selected validation service**
  4. Assistance with formulating the final wording of a target for complete validations only (if approved)

*Companies will have 6 months after the first submission is completed to submit the second submission

*Second assessment not applicable for the Target Update Service or SME validations

**In order to complete the assessment within 30-60 business days, companies must respond to any queries for further information or clarification sent by the validation team within two business days.

The target validation service does not include:

1. Choosing which target setting method is most appropriate or relevant for the company, as this depends on each company's business and activities.

2. Assistance with emission factors and calculation of emissions across scopes.

The SBTi is a not-for-profit, therefore target validations are priced accordingly. Fees for target validations are set according to financial analysis to ensure financial sustainability and the long-term viability of target validation services. Any profits that could result from target validation services will go to the SBTi’s charitable arm. Where prices differ between services, this reflects the amount of time and complexity required to validate those targets.

Corporations that are headquartered in developing countries and economies in transition, as defined by the United Nations Secretariat's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, can apply for fee discounts, according to their need. To apply for a fee discount, please email [email protected].

In order to ensure that we can deliver the target validation service to a high-standard while also continually making improvements to this service, the SBTi charges companies a cost-recovery fee. As non-profit organizations, the fee is kept at a low level by the SBTi partners, minimizing entry barriers to the initiative while allowing us to deliver a quality service. Fees are set to ensure the financial sustainability and longevity of target validation services as a result of comprehensive financial analysis. Companies are welcome to apply for fee discounts according to their needs.

If targets are not approved, the company will receive a private email indicating the decision. We will not publicly communicate the fact that a company's target was not approved.

Companies are encouraged to incorporate SBTi feedback and resubmit targets for validation as soon as they are able. For more information on the target validation process, consult our Procedure for Validation of SBTi Targets.

From January 31, 2023, if a company's commitment expires and it has no targets awaiting validation following an unsuccessful submission, the commitment will be listed as 'Removed' on the SBTi Target Dashboard as outlined in our Commitment Compliance Policy.

In late 2023 the SBTi incorporated a subsidiary which will, when fully operational, house its target validation services, with all profits donated to the charity.

By creating a separate entity for target validation services, the SBTi is adopting the recognized best practice for assurance bodies, which is designed to safeguard impartiality.

To find out how the SBTi enables objectivity and independence in the validation of company targets, read our conflict of interest statement.

Companies that are submitting targets for the first time are encouraged to set the most recent year with available data as the base year. If a company has more detailed data for a previous year, this is acceptable for the validation purposes as long as a most recent year data is also submitted to be assessed for ambition.

Treating the data we receive from companies as confidential enables us to access more detailed information than what is available publicly and make a more accurate assessment of a company’s science-based target.

When submitting a target, the company is required to fill the SBTi Target Submission Form, which provides the minimum information for conducting the assessment of the target for validation.

No, target validation slots cannot be booked speculatively. A completed and accurate target submission form must be provided at the time of booking in order to secure a validation slot. As the SBTi continually increases capacity, validation slots will be moved forward when available and therefore all information needs to be complete at the time of booking.

Once they have submitted a completed submission form and booked a target validation slot, companies are welcome to communicate that they have submitted a target to the SBTi for approval. For other guidance on communications at various stages of the SBTi journey, please see the SBTi communications guide for companies and financial institutions taking action.

Approved company commitments and targets are shown on our website Target Dashboard and accompanying data download file. The target wording and publication date are agreed by the company with the SBTi.

The SBTi safeguards other information provided by the company to assess its targets in accordance with the target validation service contract, which companies review and sign before the target validation process begins.

The SBTi publishes information about companies and their targets and commitments on our website.

The following information is published after a commitment is made:

1. Company name

2. ISIN

3. LEI

4. Headquartered region and location

5. Sector

6. Commitment type

7. Commitment status

8. Commitment deadline

9. Reason for commitment extension or removal

10. Commitment publication date

The following information is added once a target is approved:

11. Full target language

12. Target type, scopes covered, base year, target year and target value

12. Company temperature alignment

13. Target publication date

The SBTi has a streamlined route for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), defined as a non-subsidiary, independent company which employs fewer than 250 employees and is not a Financial Institution (FI) or Oil & Gas (O&G) company.

Effective January 1st, 2024, the SBTi has updated the definition of an SME. You can find more information in our announcement.

This pathway enables SMEs to bypass the initial stages of committing to set a science-based target and the standard target validation process. SMEs can immediately set a science-based target for their scope 1 and 2 emissions by choosing from one of several predefined target options. Unlike larger companies, the SBTi does not require SMEs to set targets for their scope 3 emissions; however, SMEs must commit to measure and reduce their scope 3 emissions.

The SBTi introduced this expedited option for SMEs because smaller companies often lack the resources and capabilities needed to set scope 3 targets and monitor progress against them. The SBTi’s speedy and simplified approach for SMEs balances the need for them to take account of emissions across their value chains without imposing too great a burden on them.

However, from November 1st 2023, companies classified/qualified as SMEs will be granted the option to submit targets via the standard target validation route for corporates, and contribute to scaling the impact of robust science-based targets globally.

Like larger companies using our standard target validation route, SMEs are required to complete a recent, comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions inventory following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard and Scope 2 Guidance. They are required to publicly report their company-wide scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions inventory and progress against published targets on an annual basis.

Smaller SMEs (<150 employees) in the earlier stages of developing their emissions inventory can use the tools provided by the SME Climate Hub to support the measurement and reporting of emissions.

The SBTi also has a streamlined route net-zero target setting for SMEs, which does include commitments on scope 3 target setting and reduction. SMEs aiming to establish net-zero targets need to submit their Scope 3 emissions accounting adhering to the Scope 3 Calculation Guidance.

Targets submitted through the dedicated route for SMEs will be approved and posted to the SBTi website pending due diligence review and payment. Companies will be sent a communications welcome pack and will be able to use the SBTi logo on their website and in company communications.

If you still have an outstanding question reach out to [email protected].

No, since we have a very strict instruction from our General Counsel that we cannot accept any changes to our Terms & Conditions, nor the signing of any document that supersedes them, as they have been tailored specifically for the type of service we provide.

Yes. Please note we cannot support changes or additions to the Terms & Conditions since they have been tailored specifically for the type of service we provide.

You first need to submit your targets for validation in our booking system and select an available validation date. Companies should note that their booking date is the latest that their target validation will begin.

On or before the booked date, the SBTi will conduct an initial screening to determine if all necessary information is provided and to assess if the target meets a few basic criteria. After this step is complete, the SBTi will send the validation service Terms & Conditions, for you to fill in, sign and send back to us. At this time, we can start any vendor setup process your company might need.

Please note we cannot support changes or additions to the T&Cs since they have been tailored specifically for the type of service we provide.

The SBTi released updated versions of its Corporate Net-Zero Standard (V1.2) and Corporate Near-Term Criteria (V5.2) in March 2024. These updates are classified as non-substantive or minor revisions, this means that they do not significantly impact the manner in which entities conform with the standard.

Minor/non-substantive revisions do not impact validation decisions and/or processes compared to the previous version(s). This means companies that prepared targets for submission using Corporate Net-Zero Standard V1.1 or Corporate Near-Term Criteria V5.1 will not need to prepare submission materials again for their target submissions.

You can read more about the changes made as part of this minor update here, where you can also find the Main Changes document.

MY EXISTING TARGET OR COMMITMENT

If your company already has an emissions reduction target, please submit an SBTi commitment letter to join the initiative and commit to having your existing target independently validated against our of science-based criteria.

Alternatively, your company could skip the commitment phase and move directly to submitting a target for validation.

Get Started.

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, beginning in 2025. This will become mandatory in 2025.

Companies should notify the SBTi of any significant changes in growth projections and other assumptions that were used in developing the target, as well as the business or data and emissions factors used in the inventory process.

We recommend that companies report these changes publicly, where relevant. In addition, we recommend that science-based targets are recalculated, as needed, to reflect significant changes that would compromise the relevance and consistency of the targets.

The following changes should trigger a target recalculation:

· Scope 3 emissions become 40% or more of aggregated Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions;

· Emissions of exclusions in the inventory or target boundary change significantly;

· Significant changes in company structure and activities (e.g. acquisitions, divestitures, mergers, insourcing or outsourcing, shifts in goods or service offerings);

· Significant adjustments to the base-year inventory or changes in data to set targets such as growth projections (e.g. discovery of significant errors or a number of cumulative errors that are collectively significant);

· Other significant changes to projections/assumptions used in setting the science-based targets.

For more information please see the SBTi Near-Term Criteria criterion 26 & 27 and the SBTi Net-Zero criterion 32 & 33

The 24-month commitment period begins the day that the commitment letter is signed. Your targets must be submitted for validation on the last day of the same month, 24 months later (e.g., a commitment signed on July 20, 2021 would expire July 31, 2023). For further information, please consult our Commitment Compliance Policy.

The Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign ran between June 2019 to October 2021. Companies that committed to set science-based targets as part of the campaign had 24 months to fulfill, and net-zero commitments had an additional extension to January 31 2024. The campaign helped shape the benchmark for climate leadership, shifting the focus from 2°C and well-below 2°C emissions reduction trajectories towards 1.5°C.

AFTER SETTING A TARGET

Aware of the need for robust frameworks to be able to monitor, report and assess progress against voluntary climate targets in the corporate sector, the SBTi is conducting research to identify current best practices and critical topics to measure progress and to assess progress against targets in a robust and standardized way.

Meanwhile, companies should report their company-wide GHG emissions and progress against targets through annual reports, sustainability reports, the company’s website, and/or disclosure through CDP’s annual questionnaire.

Companies should publicly disclose their emissions inventory and progress against their targets. Recommendations include annual reports, sustainability reports, the company’s website, and/or disclosure through CDP’s annual questionnaire. Please see our guidance on CDP disclosure for more information.

COMMUNICATING MY INVOLVEMENT IN THE SBTi

Companies are encouraged to communicate about their targets or commitments, but you must follow our guidance about this. See our communications guidance for more information.

Commitments are normally processed and published on our website within two weeks of submitting the commitment form. Approved targets are published within one month of a company receiving their approval notice via email which will contain a suggested publication date.

Companies may choose to reschedule their publication date to be published on any Thursday within six months of receiving your official target validation notice via email. To do so, please contact [email protected] or respond to your target validation email at least three days in advance of your original publication date.

We update the dashboard every Thursday. The exact time of publication varies, updates are usually published before 12PM GMT and no later than 5.30PM GMT. Publication of targets and commitments currently pauses at the end of each calendar year, usually between late December and early January.

No. We are happy to answer questions relating to your press release and other communications content, but we do not expect to approve it prior to publication.

However, we do ask that you align with our communications guidance for companies.

Yes. You may reschedule your targets to be published on any Thursday within 6 months of having received your official target validation notice via email. To do so, please reach out to [email protected] at least 3 business days in advance of your original publication date.

No. Once you receive your official commitment or target validation email, you are free to publicly communicate your target or commitment, in line with our communications guidance.

OIL AND GAS SECTOR POLICY

The SBTi had previously accepted commitments from all companies in which a sector development was underway. The O&G sector was treated similarly to other sectors. However, from the project work carried out thus far it has become apparent that science-based emissions reductions for the O&G sector and broader fossil fuels sectors are complex and the SBTi is taking a cautious and deliberate approach. As always, our aim is to develop robust methodologies that will support decarbonization at the pace and scale required by science.

Yes, the SBTi is continuing work on the O&G sector. Please visit our O&G sector webpage to review recent publication, and see our evaluation report for updates.

For other outstanding questions please contact [email protected].

Full confidence and agreement on the draft methodology was not developed internally and the SBTi sought further input via an external expert review of the methodology, you can read the report here. Please visit our O&G sector webpage for updates and to review recent publications.

AUTOMAKERS (OEMs) POLICY

Yes, companies with existing commitments were granted extensions if affected by this policy. Automakers with commitments that expire up to six months from the release of the Land Transport Guidance must submit targets within those six months. Companies in this sector with validateda targets will continue to be valid for five years from the date of approval, but are encouraged to recalculate them to increase ambition.