Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), Explained

Following the Paris Agreement, companies needed a concrete and clear process for how to set targets that align with the net zero goals mandated by the agreement. For companies to meet these requirements, a framework that determines whether efforts are credible and sufficient is needed. SBTi is the world’s first framework for companies to set emissions targets in line with climate science.

What is the Science Based Targets Iniative? 

Science Based Targets initiative is the world’s first framework for companies to set emissions targets in line with climate science.  

SBTi provides structure and a clearly laid out journey for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  

The process combines best practise, expert technical assistance and resources, and independent assessment and validation.  

SBTi targets are designed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

A target is considered science based if the most current climate science determines it aligns with these goals. 

What are the benefits of adopting SBTi standards?  

Companies who set an SBTi target enjoy robust capacity for regulation compliance, cost savings, engagement with investors, access to green financing and increased market competitiveness.  

It also allows them to develop an authentic sustainability identity for their consumer community, avoiding the trap of greenwashing.  

After a target is approved, companies are recognised on the Science Based Targets Iniative and We Mean Business website.  

Companies also benefit from learnings from the Science Based Targets initiative process. Extensive feedback and support is provided by SBTi experts.  

Is Science Based Targets initiative reporting mandatory?

No, currently it is voluntary only. However, membership of some bodies and coalitions requires companies to have an approved target or commitment with SBTi.  

How many countries have adopted SBTi?

According to the latest available statistics, companies from more than 70 countries, across 15 industries had adopted SBTi.  

SBTi shares that a record number of companies across the globe continue to join the initiative.  

Is Science Based Targets initiative the main net zero reporting standard?

Yes, in fact, the SBTi’s Corporate Net-Zero Standard is the world’s only framework for corporate net-zero target setting in line with climate science.  

Which sectors are covered by Science Based Targets initiative?

  • Aluminium  
  • Apparel and footwear  
  • Aviation  
  • Buildings  
  • Chemicals  
  • Cement  
  • Financial Institutions  
  • Forest, Land & Agriculture  
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)  
  • Maritime  
  • Oil and Gas  
  • Power  
  • Steel  
  • Transport  

 View official guidance for each sector  

How many companies have joined SBTi?  

More than 4,000 companies across the globe have partnered with SBTi. 

How to set a science-based target?  

  Science Based Targets initiative has a number of resources to guide you through each step of setting a target.    

  1. Register online  
  2. Submit the standard commitment letter 
  3. Review the necessary resources – e.g SBTi How-To Guide, SBTi Criteria and Recommendations, Target Validation Protocol 
  4. Use the target setting tool Excel document to set your target   



How to use the SBTi target setting tool?  

  1. Select a target-setting method in section 1 of the SBT or scope 3 tool sheets
  • Methods available in the SBT tool are Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach and Absolute Contraction Approach
  1. Enter emissions and activity data following the selected method
  2. Review the summary of results available from the selected SBT method
  3. Review the full data set of target modelling results in Section 4

Is Science Based Targets initiative using GHG Protocol?  

Yes. The SBTi target setting tool uses GHG Protocol’s Coporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard.

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