Understanding the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi): A Guide to Climate Action in Business

Feb. 28, 2023, 1:16 p.m. • By Adam Forster

Embracing Sustainable Business Practices through Science Based Targets

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In the world of corporate sustainability, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) stands out as a pivotal framework guiding companies worldwide in setting ambitious climate action goals. This initiative leverages scientific data to ensure businesses align their carbon reduction targets with the Paris Agreement's aim to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, aiming for 1.5°C. This blog post delves into what SBTi is, its importance, and how businesses can engage with it to not only combat climate change but also enhance their market competitiveness.

What is SBTi?

The Science Based Targets initiative is a collaboration between the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It encourages companies to set evidence-based goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring their strategies contribute effectively to mitigating climate change. By defining pathways for transition to a low-carbon economy, SBTi plays a crucial role in mobilising private sector action on a global scale.

Why is SBTi Important for Businesses?

Embracing SBTi demonstrates a company's commitment to sustainable development and responsible business practices. It not only helps businesses align with global efforts to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of climate change but also prepares them for the transition to a green economy. Companies adopting SBTi can benefit from increased investor confidence, improved brand reputation, and competitive advantages in a market increasingly focused on sustainability.

How Do Companies Set Science-Based Targets?

Setting science-based targets involves a four-step process: commitment, development, submission, and communication. Companies start by publicly committing to SBTi, followed by developing detailed and realistic targets within two years. These targets are then submitted to the SBTi for validation to ensure they meet strict criteria. Once approved, companies can communicate their commitment and progress, showcasing their leadership in sustainability.

The Role of SBTi in Driving Climate Action

SBTi provides a clear and effective roadmap for businesses to reduce their environmental impact through science-based methodologies. It encourages companies to innovate and invest in sustainable technologies, leading to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across operations and supply chains. By setting and achieving ambitious targets, businesses contribute significantly to the global fight against climate change while positioning themselves for long-term success.


The Science Based Targets initiative represents a vital step forward for businesses ready to take on the challenge of climate change. By setting and pursuing scientifically grounded emissions reduction targets, companies not only contribute to a more sustainable planet but also unlock new opportunities for growth and resilience. Engaging with SBTi allows businesses to lead by example, inspiring others to follow suit in the transition towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

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