Net Zero

SBTi Net-Zero Standard – boosting credibility of net zero with science based targets

“The [SBTi] NetZero Standard gives companies a clear blueprint on how to bring their net zero plans in line with the science, which is non-negotiable in this decisive decade for climate action. Because we are running out of time.”
Johan Rockström
Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor in Earth System Science at the University of Potsdam

Words:
Claire Walmsley-Moss
Images:
FirstBase green roof solar power
Back to top

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) new Net-Zero Standard was issued yesterday (28 Oct). The Standard, which is the world’s first standard for corporate net zero emissions, provides guidance and tools companies need in order to set science based net zero targets.

We are in a critical decade for climate action. The science is clear – we must keep to within a 1.5°C warming. Planet Mark community are all too aware that every company has their part to play.

SBTi launched the Standard with a webinar in which they highlighted the importance of understanding your footprint and carbon impact, specifically for Scope 3 and or carbon intensities within the value chain. The webinar also highlighted the efforts required to reduce emissions through energy efficiency and carbon reductions within the supply chain.

This updated Standard follows on from the requirements of science based targets in terms of ambition. Many of us are already aware of the importance for businesses to increase their robustness and ambition to net zero, as regulations are increasing. For example, companies are not allowed to use offsets to reach their SBTs, so after they’ve reduced enough to reach a target, in line with 1.5oC, they can use offsets to achieve net zero. The SBTi’s SBT requirements have also increased in ambition alongside the introduction of the net zero standard.

Highlights on the updates to science based targets

  • Boundary
    • SBT must cover 95% of Scope 1 and 2 emissions
    • If Scope 3 accounts for over 40% of the total footprint it must be included (target must then cover 67% of Scope 3 emissions, in the short term. The long term boundary for Scope 3 is 95% coverage)
  • Reduction requirement
    • Short term: 1.5oC for Scope 1 and 2 and well-below 2oC for Scope 3
    • Long term: 1.5oC for Scope 1, 2, and 3

It is also necessary, to align with the definition of net zero, to reach net zero emissions no later than 2050 to reach a 1.5oC limit.

The net zero framework

  • The framework is based on IPCC and IEA data to align to the science, similar to SBTs
  • There are four elements
  • Near-term SBT (five-10 years, after the date of submission) in line with a 1.5oC limit
  • Long-term SBT in line with a 1.5oC limit (no later than 2050)
  • To mitigate emissions beyond the value chain (recommendation rather than requirement) (e.g. investment in carbon removals)
  • Neutralisation of residual emissions (e.g. offsetting remaining emissions after a SBT has been reached)
  • SBTi will begin validating net zero targets in January 2022

Some of the challenges highlighted to reaching net zero are around the need for radical collaboration between companies, governments, regulators and more, as companies can only go so far alone. There is also a need for cross-company and cross-sector collaboration in order to achieve the greatest reductions and development. Alongside this, businesses need to be advocating policies that can support rapidly reaching net zero targets.

You can read the full update here on the SBTi website.

How Planet Mark can help

This critical period between 2020 and 2030, the Decade of Action, requires bold and ambitious commitments to tackle the climate crisis, and that means shifting to net zero carbon. No matter what stage in your net zero journey you are on, from committing to a target to creating the action plan needed to get there, we’re here to support you.

You can view an overview of our Zero Carbon Solutions here.

The team at Planet Mark are here to help, so please do get in touch if you would like any guidance from our sustainability consultants in relation to achieving your own net zero plans and targets. Email us at: info@planetmark.com