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Home » Blog » ESG Fundamentals » The Race to SBTI Net Zero: How SBTi Empowers Businesses to Lead the Charge

The Race to SBTI Net Zero: How SBTi Empowers Businesses to Lead the Charge

SBTI Net Zero

The clock is ticking. Climate change is an undeniable threat to our planet, and businesses have a critical role to play in mitigating its effects. The concept of “net zero” has emerged as a powerful goal, signifying a future where human activity doesn’t contribute any new greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. But achieving net zero isn’t just wishful thinking – it’s a tangible target that businesses can strive for with the right roadmap. Enter the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This organization is a game-changer for companies committed to taking concrete steps towards a sustainable future. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of SBTi net zero, exploring its targets, standards, guidance, and the inspiring examples of companies leading the charge. 

SBTi Net Zero Targets: Setting the Course for Climate Action 

SBTi net zero targets are ambitious yet achievable goals that align with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. These targets are grounded in science, ensuring companies contribute their fair share to achieving climate neutrality. 

Here’s a breakdown of the key aspects of SBTI net zero targets: 

  • Time-bound commitments: Companies set specific deadlines for achieving net zero emissions, typically by 2050. 
  • Science-based calculations: Targets are derived from rigorous scientific methodologies, ensuring alignment with climate goals. 
  • Ambitious reductions: SBTi targets go beyond “business as usual” and demand significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) across a company’s entire value chain. 
  • Continuous improvement: The framework encourages ongoing efforts to refine and strengthen targets over time. 

By setting SBTi net zero targets, companies demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and position themselves as leaders in the race to net zero. 

SBTi Net Zero Standards: The Guide for Effective Action 

SBTi doesn’t just provide targets; it equips companies with the tools and frameworks needed to achieve them. The SBTi Net Zero Standard outlines a comprehensive approach for setting robust and credible net zero targets. Here are some key aspects of the standard: 

  • Clear definitions: The standard establishes a clear definition of net zero, eliminating ambiguity and ensuring consistency across industries. 
  • Phased approach: The framework outlines a step-by-step process for developing and implementing net zero targets. 
  • Sector-specific guidance: The standard provides tailored guidance for different industries, recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities each sector faces. 
  • Robust validation process: SBTi rigorously validates submitted net zero targets, ensuring they meet the scientific and methodological criteria. 

Following the SBTi Net Zero Standard empowers companies to develop actionable plans for achieving net zero emissions and build investor confidence in their sustainability commitments. 

SBTi Net Zero Guidance: Navigating the Path to Net Zero 

Beyond targets and standards, SBTi offers valuable guidance to support companies on their net zero journey. This guidance covers a range of topics, including: 

  • GHG accounting methodologies: Clear and consistent methods for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions are crucial for tracking progress towards net zero. 
  • Decarbonization strategies: SBTi provides resources and best practices for developing effective strategies to reduce emissions across the value chain. 
  • Engagement with stakeholders: Collaborating with suppliers, customers, and investors is essential for achieving net zero. SBTi offers guidance on stakeholder engagement strategies. 
  • Innovation and technology adoption: Technological advancements play a critical role in accelerating decarbonization. SBTi highlights emerging technologies and their potential impact on net zero goals. 

By leveraging SBTi net zero guidance, companies gain access to valuable resources and insights that can help them translate their net zero ambitions into concrete action plans. 

SBTi Net Zero Companies: Leading by Example 

The power of SBTi net zero lies not only in the framework itself but also in the inspiring examples of companies putting it into action. Across diverse industries, a growing number of businesses are embracing SBTI net zero targets and demonstrating leadership in sustainability. 

A report by Forbes in March 2021 highlights a significant trend: one-fifth of the world’s largest companies have already committed to net zero targets [1]. This statistic underscores the accelerating momentum behind the net zero movement, with SBTI playing a pivotal role in guiding and validating these ambitious goals. 

These companies are leading the charge by setting science-based targets and implementing innovative strategies to achieve net zero emissions. While the specific details of their plans may vary, the collective impact is undeniable. These frontrunners are fostering a ripple effect, inspiring others to join the movement and accelerating global efforts to combat climate change. 

The SBTI framework empowers businesses to translate their net zero ambitions into actionable plans. By providing robust targets, clear standards, and valuable guidance, SBTI equips companies with the tools they need to succeed in this critical endeavor. As more companies embrace SBTI net zero targets, we can expect to see a surge in innovation, industry disruption, and a collective push towards a more sustainable future. 

Real-World Examples: Bridging the Gap Between Ambition and Action 

Looking beyond just targets, organizations like the UNFCCC’s Climate Champions showcase how companies are translating SBTi goals into concrete actions. The “Redefining Corporate Responsibility” initiative highlights several inspiring examples: 

  • Salesforce: This software giant goes beyond emissions reduction. In addition to setting an ambitious SBTi target, Salesforce actively advocates for nature-positive business practices. Their strategy focuses on reducing impacts on nature, leading nature restoration at scale, and accelerating customer success in the nature-positive movement. 
  • Unilever: A consumer goods giant, Unilever recognizes the interconnectedness of climate change and biodiversity loss. Their commitment to SBTi net zero targets is coupled with a focus on sustainable sourcing and reducing their environmental footprint throughout the supply chain. 
  • L’Oréal: This cosmetics company demonstrates that sustainability can be a driver of innovation. They are leveraging SBTi net zero targets to guide their efforts towards reducing emissions, water usage, and waste generation across their operations. 

These are just a few examples, and the list of SBTI net zero frontrunners continues to grow. The UNFCCC and other organizations play a crucial role in showcasing these success stories and inspiring broader corporate participation in the net zero movement. 

The Road to Net Zero: Every Step Counts 

The journey to net zero can seem daunting, but every company can take steps to contribute. The SBTI framework provides a roadmap, but getting started doesn’t require immediate perfection. Here are some initial actions any business can take: 

  • Measure Your Footprint: The first step is understanding your baseline – measure your greenhouse gas emissions across your entire value chain. This data is essential for setting realistic targets and tracking progress over time. 
  • Develop a Sustainability Strategy: Align your net zero ambitions with your overall business strategy. Identify key areas for improvement, prioritize actions, and set achievable milestones. 
  • Embrace Transparency and Accountability: Communicate your sustainability goals and progress with stakeholders. Transparency fosters trust and encourages collaboration along the supply chain. 

By taking these initial steps, companies can embark on the path to net zero. The SBTI framework offers the tools and guidance needed to navigate this journey, and the inspiring examples of frontrunners demonstrate what’s achievable. In the face of climate change, every action counts. Join the movement, embrace SBTI net zero targets, and be part of the solution. Talk to an expert today! 


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