What are science-based targets'? 

Science-based targets provide a clear pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth. 

Targets are considered ”science-based” if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, namely limiting global warming to well-below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C. 

What are the benefits of setting a science-based target? 

Reducing GHG emissions in line with climate science is good for the planet and for companies. 

Science-based target setting makes business sense — it future-proofs growth, saves money, provides resilience against regulation, boosts investor confidence and spurs innovation and competitiveness. It also demonstrates concrete sustainability commitments to increasingly-conscious consumers. 

Companies going through the target validation process benefit from detailed feedback and support from the SBTi’s technical experts. Businesses who sign the SBTi commitment letter are immediately recognized as “committed” on our website, as well as the CDP and We Mean Business websites and the UNGC website if committing to Business Ambition for 1.5°C. 

Who can join the SBTi? 

We encourage companies from all sectors and of all company sizes to commit to setting a science-based target. We acknowledge differences between business areas, which is why we offer sector-specific guidance (financial institutions, apparel and footwear, power, and more). 

The SBTi is especially keen to welcome companies in the highest-emitting sectors, who play a crucial role in ensuring the transition to a zero-carbon economy. 

Oil and gas companies cannot currently join the SBTi because, although companies in this sector can make a commitment to setting science-based targets, their targets cannot yet be officially approved. We are currently developing a methodology for target-setting in this sector.  

How can companies set a science-based target? 

Companies can set science-based targets and cut greenhouse gas emissions through a five-step process: 

  1. Commit: Submit a letter establishing your intent to set a science-based target. 
  2. Develop: Work on an emissions reduction target in line with the SBTi’s criteria. 
  3. Submit: Present your target to the SBTi for official validation. 
  4. Communicate: Announce your target and inform your stakeholders. 
  5. Disclose: Report company-wide emissions and track target progress annually. 

See our detailed guidance for each step. 

There is a separate streamlined pathway for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Learn more here. 

What is the SBTI's Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, and can I join? 

The Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign is an urgent call-to-action campaign led by the SBTi, UN Global Compact (UNGC) and We Mean Business calling for companies to set emissions reduction targets in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C. 

Companies can commit to Business Ambition for 1.5°C by signing the commitment letter in step 1 of the target-setting process. By doing so, they will be recognized on the SBTi and UNGC websites as having committed to the most ambitious science-based targets.