What are ‘science-based targets’?
Science-based targets provide a clearly-defined pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth.
Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
How can companies set a science-based target?
The private sector must play a fundamental role in reducing GHG emissions. Embedding science-based targets in sustainability management is crucial.
Setting a science-based target is a five-step process:
- Commit: submit a letter establishing your intent to set a science-based target
- Develop: work on an emissions reduction target in line with the SBTi’s criteria
- Submit: present your target to the SBTi for official validation
- Communicate: announce your target and inform your stakeholders
- Disclose: report company-wide emissions and track target progress annually
Who is eligible to join the SBTi?
We encourage companies from all sectors and of all company sizes to join the movement and commit to setting a science-based target. We acknowledge differences between business areas, which is why we are developing sector-specific pathways.
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 SBTi does not currently assess targets for cities, local governments, public sector institutions, educational institutions or non-profit organizations.
Cities can register their interest in setting targets through the Science Based Targets Network.
What are the benefits of joining the SBTi?
Reducing GHG emissions in line with climate science is good for the planet and for companies.
Science-based target setting makes business sense – it future-proofs growth, saves money, provides resilience against regulation, boosts investor confidence, spurs innovation and competitiveness – while also demonstrating concrete sustainability commitments to increasingly-conscious consumers.
Companies going through the target validation process benefit from detailed feedback and support from the SBTi’s technical experts. Businesses who sign the SBTi commitment letter are immediately recognized as “Committed” on our website, as well as the CDP, UN Global Compact and We Mean Business websites.
Frequently asked questions
After sending a commitment letter, organizations have 24 months to submit their target.
Targets submitted to the SBTi first go through an initial screening to ensure basic criteria are met. Once a target submission passes the initial screening, companies will be asked to sign the target validation service contract. Once signed, the SBTi will assess the submitted targets and communicate its decision within 30 business days of contract execution for companies, or 60 business days for financial institutions. Please note that the validation service closes each year from December into January, and therefore halts validation activities during this time.
If targets are not approved, companies should review the feedback and resubmit targets as soon as they are able. The standard validation service includes a second assessment for no additional charge within six months of the first assessment.
On February 1 2022, a new fee structure for validations came into effect.
Target validation service offerings
Near-term science-based target submission: $9,500
The near-term science-based target submission service is a robust technical review conducted by our team of experts. This service also includes a second submission at no additional cost for validations that are not accepted and are re-submitted within six months.
Target update service: $4,750
A combination and improvement of the previous “resubmission” and “voluntary ambition update” services. The target update service is a streamlined process developed for companies who wish to align their targets with our new minimum ambition level of 1.5°C or to update or edit previously approved targets in other ways. The service offers the same comprehensive review performed in the near-term submission service and will also include a comprehensive target validation report.
Near-term science-based target submission – Small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): $1,000
A streamlined route for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), defined as a non-subsidiary, independent company which employs fewer than 500 employees. This service enables SMEs to bypass the initial stages of committing to set a science-based target and the standard target validation process.
Net-zero target submission: $9,500
After setting a near-term science-based target, step 2 in the Net-Zero Standard Overview is to set a long-term science-based target to reduce emissions by at least 90% by no later than 2050. The launch of our new net-zero target submission service is a robust technical review of your company’s long-term science-based target and is equal to that of the near-term target submission service, conducted by our team of experts and composed of several steps.
Near-term science-based target update + Net-zero target submission – Package Rate: $12,750
Companies with previously-approved near-term targets who wish to align with the Net-Zero Standard can resubmit their near-term science-based targets and a net-zero target for validation at the same time for a discounted rate. The combined service is designed to encourage companies to increase the ambition level of their near-term science-based targets to align with the Net-Zero Standard and the current SBTi Criteria and set net-zero targets at the same time. It offers a streamlined version of our services with results delivered within 60 business days of contract signature.
Near-term science-based target submission + Net-zero target submission – Package Rate: $14,500
Companies who wish to align with the Net-Zero Standard and are submitting new near-term and net-zero targets to the SBTi for the first time have the option to submit together at a discounted rate. Both submissions undergo a separate, robust technical review conducted by our team of experts as detailed above and results are delivered within 60 business days of contract signature.
Net-zero target submission - Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): $1,000
The SBTi has a streamlined net-zero route for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), defined as a non-subsidiary, independent company which employs fewer than 500 employees. Net-zero targets submitted through the dedicated route for SMEs will be automatically approved and posted to the SBTi website, pending due diligence review and payment.
Developing countries near-term science-based target submission and/or Net-zero target submission – Exempted: $0
Companies headquartered in developing countries and economies in transition, as defined by the United Nations Secretariat’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs listed in Table B and C on page 141-142, have the option to request a waiver for their target submission fee. We encourage large, multinational companies based in developing countries to pay the normal service fee to ensure the exemption can be reserved for companies that would benefit most from the waiver.
Financial institution target submission $14,500 (from February 12 2022)
This service is specifically adopted for robust review of targets submitted by financial institutions (FIs). FIs differ from other economic sectors by providing finance and other services to the companies that are responsible for reducing GHG emissions, rather than exercising direct control over GHG emission reductions. For more information on how to set FI targets, please refer to the SBTi Financial Institutions webpage. The financial institutions target submission service will be available beginning Q1 of 2022.
EDP is joining the global movement of companies committed to aligning their business with the most ambitious target of the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. António Castro head of EDP’s Corporate Sustainability Department
Join the world’s biggest companies by cutting your GHG emissions
In 2017, we became the first company globally to set new, science-based targets in line with the 1.5 degree trajectory recommended in the Paris Climate Accord. Jason Tarry Tesco UK and ROI CEO