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Global emissions bounced back by the end of 2021 as the economy recovered from COVID-19. The world is not on track to halve emissions by 2030 and we face more disruption from climate change than ever before.
To use the words of the United Nations Secretary General, “as current events make all too clear, our continued reliance on fossil fuels makes the global economy and energy security vulnerable to geopolitical shocks and crises.”
In this alarming context, business has more responsibility than ever, with a central role to play in keeping the 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal alive through halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. According to a study by the UN Global Compact and Accenture, 49% of CEOs worldwide report that their companies are already experiencing the damaging effects of extreme weather events, especially through supply chain interruptions. This is just the beginning, as increased market volatility, loss of assets, worsening workforce health and wellbeing, and many other challenges will accelerate as climate crisis impacts keep unfolding.
Encouragingly, 2021 was a year of exponential growth for science-based targets; and companies setting science-based targets are delivering large scale and measurable emissions reductions. But if we are to keep the 1.5°C goal alive and close the current emission gap, we need many more companies around the world, and across all industries, to set and implement ambitious near- and long-term science-based targets in line with a 1.5°C trajectory. To speed up massive climate action, the SBTi is focusing on G20 economies and high-emitting industries, as well as the financial industry as a key enabler of large-scale corporate action.
To enable this projected expansion, the SBTi is updating its governance and operating model. In 2021, the SBTi underwent a strategic review process. As a result of this exercise and the rapid growth in science-based targets, the initiative is now evolving in line with best practice for standard setting organizations. Through this review, the SBTi will remain as the most credible standard setting and certification framework for climate ambition in the corporate and financial sectors.