Science-based Targets (SBTs) are targets that show companies and financial institutions a clear pathway to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the worst effects of climate change. They classify as “science-based” as they follow the latest climate science insights on how to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – ensuring that global warming is limited to well below 2° C, ideally 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.
Since climate-friendly business practices are crucial not only from an environmental perspective, but also for many stakeholders and shareholders, it is worthwhile to commit to ambitious climate targets. Thus, developing SBTs and committing to the Science-based Targets initiative (SBTi) will allow companies to gain competitive advantages by reducing costs related to CO2 emissions following a clearly defined plan.
At the same time, other renowned initiatives and sustainability ratings are using their influence to urge more companies to set ambitious science-based goals. As one of SBTi’s funding members, CDP underlines the importance of Science-based Target setting by rewarding those participating companies that committed to SBTs in its climate questionnaire. By setting SBTs, companies become eligible to score additional points.
How to score points for SBTs in the CDP questionnaire
Companies interested in scoring points related to SBTs should take a closer look at the questionnaire module Targets (C4) of the CDP Climate Change questionnaire. In questions C4.1a and C4.1b companies are requested to disclose their active absolute and intensity targets and the progress made against them.
For both target types, additional points for targets that are science-based can be scored at the Awareness, Management and Leadership levels. Whilst the Awareness level points are more straightforward and deal primarily with the company’s plans towards setting SBTs, scoring Management and Leadership points for SBTs is more demanding. Companies already need to have SBTs in place if they seek to score additional points for SBTs on these two levels. Thus, setting Science-based Targets does not only help companies to pursue a science-based reduction path, but also helps to increase their performance in climate-related ratings.
The challenge of setting Science-based Targets
Setting science-based targets is far from trivial due to the preliminary work required and the multitude of SBTi requirements and possible calculation approaches and target paths. Furthermore, SBT requirements are becoming ever more stringent. In 2021, the SBTi introduced a new Net-Zero Standard. This standard includes requirements regarding the setting of a corporate climate target based on the latest findings of the latest IPCC report. It implements new approaches that were not reflected in the original SBTi targets. The standard includes both near-term and long-term targets. Both target paths must be formulated by companies and both near-term and long-term targets must be achieved in order to be considered a net-zero company according to the SBTi.
Do you need further information on how to set your Science-based Targets?
DFGE has recently published a whitepaper on the new standard, offering background information and guidance on how to best implement SBTs in your business: https://dfge.de/en/download-sbt-whitepaper/
If you have further questions or need help with setting your Science Based Targets, please do not hesitate to contact us at or under +49 8192 99 7 33-20. DFGE will help you choose the most appropriate method and decide which factors to include in your calculations. As the first official Science Based Targets partner of the CDP in the DACH region, numerous companies already trust us with the calculation, analysis and implementation of Science-based Targets.