More than eighty percent of the world’s 500 largest companies established emission reduction or energy-specific targets in the 2014-15 financial year. The next step is to ensure that greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets are consistent with the pace recommended by climate scientists to limit the worst impacts of climate change.
Science Based Targets is a joint initiative of CDP, the UN Global Compact (UNGC), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF. Our goal is to enable leading companies setting ambitious and meaningful corporate GHG reduction targets.
Science-based target definition
Targets adopted by companies to reduce GHG emissions are considered “science-based” if they are in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2°C compared to preindustrial temperatures, as described in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Companies and the role of climate change
The world’s carbon budget is the total volume of GHGs that can be emitted while providing a degree of confidence that temperature rise will be limited to a relatively safe and manageable 2ºC. It will take global cooperation to limit emissions by enough to meet this budget in the coming decades. As the world’s largest source of emissions, the corporate sector has a clear role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy. By aligning their GHG reduction targets with their fair share of the climate budget, companies demonstrate leadership and responsibility.
Reducing GHG emissions protects our climate and our communities – but it’s also good for business. Companies that set science-based targets build long-term business value and safeguard their future profitability in four important ways: They drive innovation, save money, increase competitiveness, build credibility and influence evolving public policy.
Taking action now will ensure the smoothest-possible transition to the low-carbon economy while preserving ecological stability. If action is delayed, companies will need to make deeper cuts to their GHG emissions, which will be extremely disruptive to business. Demonstrate your leadership and join our initiative now for expert support and greater long-term benefits.
The Call to Action Campaign
The Science Based Targets initiative is calling on companies to demonstrate their leadership on climate action by publicly committing to science-based GHG reduction targets.
To join the movement and become one of the first 100 companies to take this important step towards the low-carbon economy, visit the Science Based Targets website.
Target Setting Methods
The initiative allows companies to choose from seven target setting methods. This flexibility allows companies to set targets that account for the reality of their industry.
One of these methods, the Sectoral Decarbonization Approach (SDA), was developed through a multi-stakeholder process led by WRI, CDP and WWF and released in May of 2015. The SDA allocates the 2°C carbon budget to different sectors. This method takes into account inherent differences among sectors, such as mitigation potential and how fast each sector can grow relative to economic and population growth. Within each sector, companies can derive their science-based emission reduction targets based on their relative contribution to the total sector activity and their carbon intensity relative to the sector’s intensity in the base year.