Development of climate protection goals – Science Based Targets

With the Paris Agreement of 2015, the governments of the world have agreed to limit the rise of global temperatures to well below 2°C. This agreement is a milestone. However, there is still a yawning gap between the current emissions pathway and the one rquired to mitigate the worst consequences of climate change. Even if the pledged policy measures to cut emissions were fully implemented, this will still not be sufficient to reach the Paris goals. Therefore, it will be up to the private sector and other non-state actors to close this so-called ambition gap and many companies have in fact already started to take action.

Even if your company is committed to climate change mitigation and prepared to lead the way towards the transition to a low carbon economy, it will be important to understand how impactful specific climate protection initiatives are within the corporate value chain as well as where and how they should be implemented so as not to interfere with the value creation process within your direct operations and your supply chain. Making use of Science-based targets methodologies, among other cutting edge initiatives, can help guide your corporate strategy and First Climate is here to help you develop and operationalize these targets specific to your business environment.

What are Science Based Targets?

According to recent scientific estimates, humankind has a remaining budget of approximately 1 trillion metric tonnes of carbon emissions. This amount must not be exceeded if the global temperature rise is to be limited to Paris Agreement levels. Companies can support the global fight against climate change by aligning their emissions reduction targets with the remaining carbon budget. Based on current scientific understanding, a science-based target allows a company to define its “fair share” of the remaining carbon budget as a alternative and sustainable alternative to a business-as-usual scenario. There are three possible approaches how this can be achieved:

Sector-based approach:

In this approach, the remaining emission budget is allocated to different industry sectors based on an assessment of the specific GHG reduction potential, available technology options and the predicted future growth of the sector.

Absolute-based approach

This method requires all companies to reduce their own emissions by a percentage of the remaining carbon budget. Different emissions scenarios can be used to determine what is required globally, and thus what is required at the company level.

Economic-based approach:

In this approach, the carbon budget is equated to global GDP and a company’s share of emissions is determined by its gross profit, with the sum of all companies’ gross profits worldwide held to be equal to global GDP.

Each approach is linked to at least one method – or in case of the economic-based approach, there are four methods – which define the fair share for every company and how science-based targets can be developed in each individual case. Companies that want to develop a science-based target are in principal free to choose which method they want to apply for the process. Regardless of the method chosen, science-based targets can help define a pathway for the climate-friendly growth of your business activities.

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The Science Based Targets initiative

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) – founded by the World Resource Institute, WWF, UN Global Compact and CDP –  aims to make Science Based Targets (SBTs) a standard of corporate practice for reducing GHG emissions. It provides companies with methods for the development of SBTs and develops sector-specific guidelines and methodologies. The initiative also assesses and approves each company’s targets and showcases companies that set science-based targets to strengthen public recognition. To date, more than 450 companies have given themselves ambitious emission reduction goals and have joined the initiative.

Why set a science-based target?

Setting science-based targets is a viable way to take responsibility and demonstrate your leadership role in environmental conservation and climate protection. However, there are many more reasons to set science-based targets.

Risk reduction:

New regulations, increasing competition, scarce resources and changing tax schemes in various countries – climate change is starting to significantly impact today´s and tomorrow’s markets. Setting science-based targets can help you prepare for future challenges and safeguard against foreseeable risks that are induced by climate change.

Improved sustainability scoring:

To achieve a top position in relevant sustainability rankings, companies must demonstrate leadership in sustainability. As for the CDP ranking, for example, setting a science-based target can have a positive effect and will result in better scoring.

Increased profitability:

Companies that get involved in climate protection work towards improving their company branding and competitiveness. Not only does setting a science-based target help you meet your stakeholders expectations, it also plays an important role for investors and financial services; they analyze an increasing number of companies’ decarbonization metrics within their investment portfolios and are using these results as a benchmark.

First Climate services for setting Science Based Targets

If your company plans to set a science-based target, First Climate offers a broad range of expert services to help you achieve maximum results. Our service offer includes:

Analyzing potential

Carbon footprinting and Scope 3 screening:

If you are aiming for improved carbon efficiency, it is important to know and understand your current carbon footprint. Our experts calculate your company’s carbon footprint and identify Scope 1, 2- and 3-emission sources within your business operation. For many companies, setting relevant Scope 3-targets is particularly challenging. If Scope 3 emissions account for more than 40% of the total emissions of a company, an individual target for Scope 3 reduction is obligatory under the SBTi and advisable under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Depending on your preferences, First Climate therefore offers to conduct an in-depth screening of your Scope 3 emissions and a hotspot-analysis of emission sources within you supply chain. All our calculations adhere to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the internationally recognized standard of carbon footprint calculations.

Support in choosing the best method for science-based target setting:

The selection of a suitable SBT method depends on the sector affiliation of the company, the availability of the required data and the preferred type of target. Companies must consider the different science-based targets methods and their specific advantages and disadvantages before choosing which methods are suitable. We help you find the SBT method which best suits your needs and enables you to develop science-based targets with maximum impact.
Target setting

Development and implementation of an individual science-based target:

Building on the results of your carbon footprint calculation and the results of the evaluation of all SBT methods against your individual preferences and requirements, we will help you identify relevant quantitative and qualitative reduction goals for your Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Based on our previous analysis we will present you a clear plan for possible actions to cut your emissions and identify measures to help you achieve your goals.

Support in submitting your target for recognition:

Companies can voluntarily choose to register their commitment to set a science-based target through the Science Based Targets initiative. Once submitted, the SBTi will check the target against a catalog of 15 criteria that must be fulfilled for the target to be officially recognized. First Climate will provide you with a tailored way-forward strategy to help you register your science-based targets with the Science-based Targets Initiative and will support you in submitting all necessary documents to have you targets verified successfully.
Achieving your target

Strategy development for reducing Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions:

As a leading provider of carbon management and green energy solutions First Climate can not only help you set yourself a science-based target but also support you with tailored solutions for achieving your efficiency objectives. We can assist you in developing and implementing an individual sourcing strategy for green energy and provide you with flexible and cost-efficient solutions to procure renewable energies for all your sites in all countries around the world. Find out more about our services to reduce your scope 1 and 3 carbon footprint >>here or about our offers to reduce your scope 2 emissions by switching to green energy >>here.

Why work with First Climate

Expertise: First Climate is an expert provider of carbon management and green energy solutions. We have been supporting companies and organizations in achieving their sustainability objectives for nearly 20 years and also have a well-established track record with developing science-based targets for corporate clients all around the world.

Flexibility: Especially when confronted with science-based targets for the first time, the topic can be quite overwhelming. We help you structure your way forward and can offer turnkey solutions for every stage of the SBT process. Full service package or modular consulting on individual aspects – you decide what support you need with your science-based target process.

CDP logo 2020CDP partnership: As a Silver Renewable Energy Partner and an accredited provider to CDP, First Climate offers reliable services that help you work towards a low carbon economy and assists all those disclosing to CDP with top-notch services.

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Vincent Erasmy
  +49 6101 55 658 41