Science Based Targets Initiative Releases First Ever Progress Assessment

(Photo Credit: Nathan Queloz on Unsplash)

by | Dec 5, 2019

(Photo Credit: Nathan Queloz on Unsplash)

For the first time since launching in 2015, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) published an assessment of its progress. The new report released this week shows that nearly 300 companies have set emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

Called “Raising the Bar: Exploring the Science Based Target initiative’s progress in driving ambitious climate action,” the report found a strong growth in the adoption of science-based targets (SBTs). As of October 31, 2019, 686 companies had publicly joined the initiative and 285 of them have had their targets officially approved.

“The growing momentum is even more pronounced in the number of companies that have had their targets approved by the SBTi, driven by companies turning their commitments into approved targets,” the initiative found. “In the 18 months between April 2018 and October 2019, the targets of 195 companies were approved, compared to 90 in the three years before.”

Science-based targets reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the Paris Agreement goals limiting global warming, the initiative explains.

“While the numbers of commitments and approved targets continue to accelerate, we are also seeing a robust rate of conversions of companies’ commitments to approved targets,” the report said.

The initiative highlighted progress made by companies including Ikea, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Nike, Electrolux, Microsoft, Enel, Ingersoll Rand, and Thyssenkrupp.

“For anyone setting a science-based target there is an initial ‘wow this is big lift.’ Same for us, and the same for our suppliers,” Scott Vitters, senior director of sustainable manufacturing and sourcing for Nike said in the report. “But having a common methodology helps focus all stakeholders on the scale of change required based on the science, rather than arbitrary, company-led goals. It also ensures our collective attention is on the best levers for driving the scale of improvement needed.”

Although the Science Based Targets initiative says it has made remarkable progress over the past five years, the scale of the challenge has also increased. “Global emissions continue to grow, progress is uneven across regions and sectors, and for every company that has set a science-based target, many remain that have not,” the report cautioned.

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