Science Based Target (SBT)

Providing effective climate leadership

A science based target represents an organisation’s share of the amount of carbon that can be emitted globally in order to keep temperature increase below 2°C, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Global mean temperatures are projected to increase by 3.7 to 4.8°C by the end of this century under the current trajectory. Many voluntary emissions reduction targets are simply not ambitious enough. Taking a science based target approach allows an organisation to demonstrate to stakeholders that they are doing their part. It demonstrates a genuine contribution towards global efforts against climate change.

CDP scoring and Science Based Targets

In 2016 the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) added Science Based Targets to their Climate Change Questionnaire. CDP recognises that SBTs ensure an organisation’s reduction strategies align with climate science. It improves the company’s CDP score. Read more on the SBT website.

CEO’s: SBT the most important climate leadership action

According to the UN Global Compact’s Call to Climate Action study, 43% of CEOs see science based targets as the most important climate leadership behaviour. 23% of organisations that have already committed to setting an SBT have done so in just eight days since the signing of the agreement at Paris 2015 (COP21) on 22 April 2016.

Who is acting now? See the impressive list on

Who is behind science based targets

The Science Based Targets organisation is a partnership between CDP, UN Global Compact, WRI and WWF.

Talk to us about an SBT

Pangolin offers SBT services. Talk to us. We take you through the essential steps for establishing science based targets for your organisation:

  • Assessing, developing and articulating the business case for adopting an SBT.
  • Choosing an appropriate target setting methodology and baseline, and navigating the technical aspects:
    • Choosing an emissions scenario,
    • Selecting an appropriate disaggregation level,
    • Determining a relevant company allocation mechanism (conversion, compression or contraction), based on your organisation’s attributes, geographical location and projected growth.
  • Calculating the target. We’ll take you through the advantages and disadvantages of intensity and absolute reduction targets. We’ll assist with:
    • Setting appropriate organisational and operational boundaries,
    • Calculating targets based on these parameters.
  • Advising you on the buy in to achieve and communicate your targets successfully:
    • Aligning broader corporate goals and strategies with the SBT,
    • Effectively meeting the challenges, such as push back from within your organisation,
    • Implementing your SBT’s smoothly at all stages.

We will help you provide effective climate leadership – and to take advantage of an SBT’s many benefits.

Key benefits of science based targets

Keep business growing

An SBT approach provides a definitive reduction percentage over an extended time frame, while allowing for organic growth.

Leapfrog competitors in the transition to a low carbon economy

With ever changing technologies and operational practices, an SBT reduces carbon intensity while increasing long term competitive advantage, and securing profitability. The target is invaluable for long term strategic thinking and investment.

Organisations that set ambitious targets now will lead innovation and transformation tomorrow.

Retain existing customers and win new business

Increasingly businesses and governments mandate supply chains that bring GHG emissions in line with global targets. This reduces exposure at all levels of the value chain.

Save money and increase competitiveness

SBT’s ensure a lean, efficient, and durable company as resources become increasingly more expensive – particularly resources derived from fossil fuels. Rising prices of raw materials can mean the difference between profit and loss.

Limit risks – more easily communicated to external stakeholders

An SBT’s transparent methodology has credibility. The target allows for preparation against changing public policy, public opinion and demand for action on climate change. It enables preparation for future regulatory intervention or risk to reputation.

Climate change leaders are better able to influence policymakers and help shape the development of legislation.

Questions about a science based targets approach?

Consider this:

  • How will I gain internal support?
  • If our target is tied to our future growth rate and growth in market share, what are we required to disclose publicly? Do we need to be concerned with confidentiality?
  • Our initial target is for 2020, only a few years away, how are we going to get there?
  • Signing up for a target 30 years in the future seems unrealistic to manage. Can we just set a 2020 target?
  • What if we don’t hit our announced target?
  • How low should we go?
  • How fast should we go?
  • What is our fair share?
  • Which methodology will we select to determine our fair share?

We can help you prepare

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