July 23, 2023
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In the global effort to combat climate change, the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) has emerged as a leading framework to guide organizations in setting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In this blog post, we will provide a detailed explanation of the SBTi, including its purpose, applicability, steps for alignment, required metrics for disclosure, and recommended data sources to facilitate compliance.

What is the SBTi?

The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is a collaborative initiative led by CDP, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Its primary goal is to assist companies in setting science-based targets (SBTs) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. SBTs are emissions reduction targets aligned with the latest climate science to limit global warming and minimize environmental impacts.


Applicability of the SBTi

In the Getty Center auditorium for the recent “There Will Be Food“ panel.

The SBTi is applicable to companies across all sectors and industries, including large corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and public institutions. It encourages organizations to align their emission reduction targets with the goals of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Steps for Alignment

To align with the SBTi and set science-based targets, organizations are advised to follow these steps:

  1. Commitment: Make a public commitment to set science-based targets.
  • Organizations need to publicly express their intention to align their emission reduction targets with climate science. This commitment demonstrates their dedication to addressing climate change. (source: [SBTi Commitment Criteria])
  1. Baseline Setting: Establish a baseline year and calculate the organization's current emissions.
  • The baseline year serves as a reference point for measuring progress. Organizations should calculate their greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with established standards such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. (source: [GHG Protocol])
  1. Target Setting: Set ambitious science-based targets for emission reductions.
  • Targets should be consistent with the decarbonization pathways required to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. They can be sector-based, absolute, or intensity-based, depending on the organization's circumstances. (source: [SBTi Target Validation Criteria])
  1. Implementation: Develop and implement a strategy to achieve the set targets.
  • Organizations should establish measures, initiatives, and action plans to reduce their emissions, increase energy efficiency, transition to renewable energy sources, and engage their value chain in emission reduction efforts. (source: [SBTi Implementation Guide])

Metrics and Data Sources for Alignment

To comply with the SBTi, organizations are required to disclose relevant metrics related to their emissions and reduction targets. These may include:

1. Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions: Organizations should disclose their direct emissions from owned or controlled sources (Scope 1), indirect emissions from purchased energy (Scope 2), and indirect emissions from value chain activities (Scope 3).

2. Intensity metrics: Intensity metrics measure emissions per unit of activity, such as emissions per unit of revenue, production, or square footage.

3. Data Sources: Organizations can utilize various data sources, including their own internal data on energy usage, emissions, and supply chain activities. Additionally, external data sources such as industry benchmarks, market research reports, and sustainability databases can provide valuable insights to support emissions calculations and target setting.


Complying with the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) enables organizations to align their emission reduction targets with climate science and contribute to the global efforts in combating climate change. By following the steps for alignment, disclosing relevant metrics, and utilizing appropriate data sources, companies can set science-based targets that help drive meaningful and sustainable emission reductions.