Science Based Targets

Setting Science Based Targets (SBT) shows stakeholders you are thinking about the future of the company, and have a plan to get there sustainably.

What are Science Based Targets?

Founded in 2015, the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) created a set of Science Based Targets to encourage businesses to set science-based emission reductions targets based on climate science. The SBTi is a collaboration of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), World Resources Institute (WRI), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and UN Global Compact. In 2021, the SBTi also released the Corporate Net-Zero Standard, a framework aiming to keep companies on track within the 1.5-degree temperature increase limit set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Near-term and Long-term Science Based Targets

Near-term Science Based Targets must be met within 5-10 years

Under the near-term science based targets initiative, scopes 1 and 2 GHG emissions must not exceed a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees celsius, and scope 3 emissions must remain well below 2 degrees celsius. The boundaries of coverage for each scope are as follows: Reporting for scopes 1 and 2 must at least cover 95% of total emissions inventory in the respective scopes and if a company’s scope 3 indirect emissions make up more than 40% of their total GHG emissions, a minimum of 67% of coverage is required. The ambition levels are based on science based climate targets set in the Paris Agreement as well as recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Long-term Science Based Targets must be fulfilled no later than 2050

The ambition levels for long-term science based targets are more stringent, requiring scopes 1, 2 and 3 to not go over 1.5 degrees celsius. The boundaries are also larger and more ambitious, requiring 95% coverage of scopes 1 and 2 and 90% coverage of scope 3, no matter how much scope 3 makes up of a company’s emissions.

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Net-Zero Standard

The Corporate Net-Zero Standard was released by the SBTi in October 2021 for companies with 500 employees or more to set targets to align with global carbon budgets by 2050. Companies following the Net-Zero Standard must first develop a near-term target. To achieve corporate net-zero, near-term targets are required at a minimum.

Setting long-term targets will also make a company eligible for corporate net-zero status. However, to contribute to societal net-zero, private companies following the standard must also invest in:

  • Mitigation beyond the value chain in the near-term. This includes existing carbon sinks such as forests and future removal technologies such as direct air capture.
  • Neutralizing residual emissions once the long-term target has been achieved. Neutralization is achieved by sequestering atmospheric carbon in stocks, such as geological storage and nature-based solutions. Offsets are not eligible for yearly emissions reductions prior to achieving the net-zero target.

The full list of the criteria can be found on the SBTi’s website

Scopes 1, 2 and 3

To meet SBTi’s scopes 1 and 2 targets you are required to report at least 95% of your global greenhouse gas emissions inventory

If only a fraction of your greenhouse gas emissions footprint is scope 3, then it can be excluded, but calculating scope 3 in the first place may not be trivial. The Ecometrica Sustainability Platform has the largest database of emission factors and assumptions to provide you with the best starting point for calculating your scope 3 emissions.

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Sector-based approach

The sector-based approach gives different sectors of the economy a different path depending on that sector’s emissions reduction targets route and time frames. However, not all sectors have had sector specific guidance and a pathway developed for them yet.

Absolute-based approach

The absolute-based approach requires all sectors of the economy to decarbonise equally. Developing reduction targets using the absolute-based approach allows for simpler communication and recalculation down the line as the climate science develops.

Economic-based approach

Lastly, the economic-based approach uses a company’s gross profit as a share of global GDP to set an emission budget pathway from global decarbonisation as a whole. This approach can be harder to communicate but takes into account the changing makeup of the global economy.

Ecometrica Platform

Our award winning software-as-a-service platform collects, calculates and reports sustainability data. Fully transparent calculations, enterprise ready, audit ready, data quality tracking and quality assurance. Everything you need for simple, transparent and accurate sustainability reporting with expertise built-in.

Align with Net-Zero

For companies aiming to align with net-zero emissions by 2050, Ecometrica helps you complete a high-quality, transparent inventory as a basis for setting robust reduction targets. This includes comprehensive scope 3 reporting capacity with supporting calculations where needed. Our platform will facilitate tracking progress towards these objectives in both the near and long-term through interactive and customizable data visualizations.

Set Science Based Targets

Ecometrica’s analysts have years of carbon accounting and target setting experience. Having gone through Science Based Targets Initiative submissions for numerous other clients, we are here to assist with your ambitious emissions reduction targets.

Global greenhouse gas emissions

View and calculate your scope 3 emissions alongside scopes 1 and 2 to fully understand the impact on your business as well as your value chain, and set emission reduction targets.

Business ambition

Once you’ve got company wide targets approved by the SBTi, it’s important to know which parts of your business are contributing to your greenhouse gas emissions to properly target changes.

Up-to-date global emission factors database

Sourcing and verifying the quality of emission factors has already been done by Ecometrica analysts so you only need to gather your organisational data.

Visualise and track

Use the wide array of visualisations and dashboards available to help you track emission sources down to the asset to contribute to your Science Based Target setting.


Review target setting methods and options and their effects on your organisation using emission forecasting. Get help translating emissions into operational information such as energy and water targets.

Key Phrases

Greenhouse Gas (GHG)2023-05-12T10:02:23+00:00

A greenhouse gas (GHG or GhG) is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect.  The greenhouse gases (GHG) included in the atmospheric emissions are those covered by the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). These gases contribute directly to global warming and climate change, because of their positive radiative forcing effect. The potential of each GHG to cause global warming is assessed in relation to a given weight of CO2, so all greenhouse gas emissions are measured as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).

Base Year2023-03-28T13:56:46+00:00

In GHG reporting and accounting, a year chosen as a basis against which future emissions are compared.

Science Based Target2023-01-16T20:47:55+00:00

Founded in 2015, the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) created a set of Science Based Targets (SBT) to encourage businesses to set science-based emission reductions targets based on climate science.

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