Set a target as a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)

The SME target validation route enables eligible businesses to bypass the initial stage of committing to set a science-based target and the standard validation process Companies that meet the SME eligibility criteria can choose to set targets through the SME streamlined validation route, or through the standard route.


Companies may set targets through the streamlined validation route for SMEs if all criteria points are met:

  1. Have <10,000 tCO2e across scope 1 and location-based scope 2

  2. Are not classified in the Financial Institutions (FIs) and Oil & Gas (O&G) Sectors*

  3. Are not required to set targets using sector-specific criteria (such as the Sectoral Decarbonization Approaches) developed by the SBTi (see the SBTi’s sector guidance documents for requirements)

  4. Are not a subsidiary of a parent company whose combined businesses fall into the standard validation route

And three or more are true:

  1. Employ <250 employees**

  2. Turnover of <€50 million**

  3. Total assets of <€25 million**

  4. Are not in a mandatory FLAG sector***

*Mandatory FLAG sector companies that meet all other criteria are not affected by this criterion. Please see the second set of eligibility criteria if you operate in a FLAG sector.

**CSRD alignment. The turnover and total asset figures were updated in December 2023 in line with the latest CSRD definitions and thresholds for SMEs.

***See Criterion 1 of the FLAG Guidance

SMEs have three target-setting options

Near-term targets:
Near-term science-based targets are absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions reduction targets that should be achieved by 2030, from a predefined base year. SMEs often lack the resources and capabilities needed to set scope 3 targets. Because of this, SMEs are not required to set near-term targets for their scope 3 emissions. Instead, they must commit to measure and reduce these emissions.

Near-term maintenance targets:
Enable companies that have achieved zero scope 1 and/or 2 emissions to sustain their efforts and continuously improve. SMEs choosing this option must follow GHG Protocol standards, report their progress annually, and provide supporting documentation for target validation. Additionally, they can select the maintenance approach that aligns with their specific emissions profile.

Net-zero targets:

To be eligible to set a net-zero target, SMEs must first set near-term targets aligned to a 1.5°C pathway.

Net-zero targets include:

  • Long-term science-based targets, which are absolute scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions reduction targets that should be achieved by 2050, from a predefined base year
  • A commitment to neutralize any unabated emissions when the long-term science-based target is achieved.

SME service costs

  • Setting new near-term targets or replacing previous near-term targets: $1,250 USD*

  • Setting new net-zero targets ONLY (only SMEs with existing validated 1.5°C near-term targets are eligible for this option): $1,250 USD

  • Setting near-term targets AND net-zero targets: $2,500 USD*