SBTi unveils plans for corporate net-zero emissions standard

17th September 2020

Shutterstock 1096221965 0

Related Topics

Related tags

  • sea ice loss ,
  • Global ,
  • Guidance



The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) has announced that it has begun developing the world's first-ever global standard to ensure corporations set credible targets for net-zero emissions by 2050.

Following a consultation with stakeholders from science, business, conservation and finance, the SBTi has also published a new paper, which outlines the conceptual foundations for net-zero targets.

These include what it means for corporates to reach net-zero emissions, analysis of existing target-setting practices, assessment of strategies that are consistent with achieving a net-zero economy, and initial recommendations for science-based goals.

The methodologies discussed in the paper will be translated into detailed guidelines and criteria to be developed by the initiative as part of a continued multi-stakeholder process.

“Net zero by 2050 is our north star, but every second that passes between now and then will determine whether we get there,“ said Alberto Carrillo Pineda, an author of the paper and director of science based targets at CDP.

“There is no time to lose. Alongside long-term ambition we need to see aggressive emissions reductions in line with climate science, now, and across all sectors of the global economy.“

Over 990 companies have committed to set science-based targets consistent with keeping warming to well below 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, and more than 460 have targets validated by the SBTi.

Its latest paper concludes that:

  • Climate science must inform net-zero strategies in the corporate sector to ensure that the growing momentum behind net-zero translates into action that is consistent with achieving a net-zero world by no later than 2050
  • For a corporate net-zero target to be science-based, it must lead to a depth of decarbonisation consistent with the profound cut in emissions needed in the global economy to limit warming to 1.5°C. It must also neutralise the impact of any sources of residual emissions that cannot be eliminated by permanently removing an equivalent amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Companies may choose to offset their emissions as they transition towards net-zero by purchasing carbon offsets that support projects like mass tree planting.

“However, offsetting emissions does not eliminate the need to reduce emissions in line with science,“ the SBTi said. “This must remain the overarching priority for companies and the central focus of any credible net-zero strategy.“

Image credit: Shutterstock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

IEMA reviews political party manifestos

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 2024

Read more

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close