As COP26 kicks off, the focus once again shifts towards the ongoing climate change crisis. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the global conference as deteriorating climatic conditions pose a threat to the very survival of mankind as a species. As a precursor of sorts to this important event, the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), launched the world’s first Net-Zero Corporate Standard.
SBTi is an international body that ensures global businesses can set and achieve ambitious emission reduction targets on time. It is the result of a collaboration between the CDP, UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). SBTi focuses on science-based target setting which allows businesses to adopt the best practices that align with their vision and end goals.
The Net-Zero Corporate Standard launched by SBTi is the world’s first science-based emission standard that certifies companies’ net-zero targets on the basis of the Paris Agreement – the agreement called for limiting global planetary warming to 1.5oC. Seven companies have already complied with and had their net-zero targets certified by the SBTi based on the Net-Zero Corporate Standard. They include AstraZeneca (UK), CVS Health (US), Dentsu international (UK), Holcim (Switzerland), JLL (US), Ørsted (Denmark), and Wipro (India).
SBTi is inviting more companies to adopt net-zero targets which will be validated by the body come 2022. Any company that adopts the Net-Zero Corporate Standard will be required to set both short-term and long-term targets that will be science-based. Short-term targets will focus on emission reductions in the next 5-10 years while long-term targets will cover de-carbonization levels by 2050 or before. The SBTi maintained that all signatories of the science-based net-zero targets will be required to achieve deep de-carbonization levels of 90-95 percent before 2050.
Realizing the gravity of the situation caused by vague and disjointed efforts to achieve net zero by 2050, SBTi’s latest Net-Zero Corporate Standard aims to rectify this issue. Science-based targets ensure that businesses can effect maximum change without any disruption to their daily operations. As a matter of fact, more than 80 companies took part in a series of test that acted as a road map for the Standard in August 2021. The willingness of businesses to adopt SBTi standards is the ultimate proof of the scheme’s potential.