Science Based Targets

By Jim Haywood

More and more organisations are beginning to look at setting greenhouse gas emission targets in line with climate science as a way to future-proof growth (the shorthand for this is “Science Based Targets” or SBTs).  So far, according to the Science Based Target Initiative, 265 companies are taking action around SBTs, with 44 setting approved targets.  These include a range of organisations but there are many big names in the list who will be familiar to a lot of LSA Members.  To me, the logic behind the need for SBTs seems relatively simple: (1) Do I accept that anything more than a 2 degree C rise in global temperature will have a disastrous impact on our life on earth? (2) Do I accept that carbon emissions from man-made sources are driving global temperature up?  (3) Do I agree that science can help to tell us what reduction in emissions each sector needs to achieve the level of decarbonisation needed to keep temperature rise to below 2 degrees C? (4) Do I agree that setting an appropriate target based on this science makes good sense?  If my answer to each of (1) to (4) is YES, then it may be the right time for my firm or organisation to think about setting a science based target.

The steps which the Science Based Target Initiative suggest to set a SBT are pretty straightforward – Commit to doing it; Develop a target; Submit your SBT for scrutiny; Announce you’ve done it.  There are plenty of tools, tips and techniques available – we would love to hear the thoughts and experiences of LSA member firms and their clients who may be considering setting a SBT or even done so already.


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