Science Based Targets - Actionable Impact
In the new age of climate change and Corporate Social Responsibility, science based targets are critical to building trust among companies, customers, and investors while providing clear metrics for sustainability initiatives. Science based targets are more stringent targets that allow companies to set quantifiable, numeric goals based on climate and environmental science rather than marketing techniques.
What are Science Based Targets?
The most common science based target focuses on greenhouse gas emissions. Science based targets are necessary in the fight against climate change, allowing us an avenue to keep average global temperatures in line with the Paris Agreement. The targets can be used to show a company’s commitment to the climate, especially when a company outperforms other companies in its sector.
We have decades of climate and atmospheric science showing us increased carbon emissions and increased temperatures. There are models showing warming trajectories under business-as-usual scenarios, and they are not hopeful. If we do not take serious action, we may face catastrophic effects from climate change. Most climate scientists agree that keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels will reduce the worst impacts of climate change.
Science based targets use this library of climate science to help companies take action.
What do Science Based Targets look like?
The Science Based Target Initiative is a tool for driving action in the private sector. It benefits both companies and the planet and has become more important than ever for corporations to take responsibility for climate change. As international climate policy is difficult to coordinate, climate targets for multinational corporations offer a better solution. There is increased consumer demand for sustainable products and climate action. If a company can adopt science based targets and demonstrate their commitment to the planet, they will show customers how they have turned values into action. Science backed targets are also easy to quantify, much easier than other components of corporate social responsibility.
If a company wants to use science based targets for lowering emissions, they must first set their goal. Most companies are setting net-zero or carbon neutrality goals. These emissions goals mean that the company will offset all their carbon emissions within a given period. If a company emits 100,000 metric tons of carbon in a year, then to be carbon neutral, they must offset 100,000 metric tons of carbon within that year. Offsetting carbon often involves protecting forests, planting trees, or even investing in renewable energy credits.
More ambitious climate targets aim to reduce emissions, not just offset them. A company that wants to reduce yearly emissions by 50% must first identify their yearly emissions, then set a plan to reduce emissions. Science based targets are set in relation to the climate goal of keeping global average temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Depending on the company and the industry, following this target may require more or less emission reduction.
Benefits of Science Based Targets
Science based targets rely on using honest science and data collection to hold companies accountable. Without tracking emissions, we could not realistically meet climate goals set by the UN or the Paris Agreement. It would be harder to hold companies accountable without these specific targets, which can be tracked. Instead of nebulous claims of sustainability and eco-friendly marketing, science backed targets set a clear framework of expectations for companies serious about climate change.
Science based targets have multiple benefits for individual companies, ranging from savings on energy bills to increases in sales. Companies that have set science based emissions goals have found increases in profitability, improved investor relations, increased innovation, lower regulatory uncertainty, and stronger brand reputation. The world is changing, and sustainable companies are starting to gain more interest. Companies that jump on this trend sooner than later will reap the benefits and avoid falling behind. Accounting for emissions and other environmental impacts is difficult at first, but it is a necessary step in shifting the economy to be in line with global climate goals.
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with the impacts of climate change and are favouring companies that take action to reduce climate change. As customers demand climate-conscious companies, the private sector is further incentivised to act in accordance with climate targets. Science based tactics also account for scale, imploring larger corporations to make more drastic steps towards mitigating climate change.
Science based targets provide companies with a clear outline for taking action against climate change. The basis in quantifiable science and data creates more accountability between consumers and companies while benefiting them both in the process. More consumers are demanding sustainable products from companies with strong environmental values. Science based targets offer private companies a way to demonstrate their commitment to climate action, without any second-guessing.
How you can take action
With the advance of new technologies like Dodo, it has never been easier and faster for companies to become carbon neutral. At Dodo, we invest in projects on your behalf that are natural, fully verified and registered through the Gold Standard to ensure that your offsets are actually capturing the carbon that your company has released. You can check out more on our projects here, where you can find more information about how we are investing in reforestation, peatland protection and reducing the amount of fuel used in cookstoves.
If you want to become carbon neutral, you can get a quick measurement of your emissions here!