Setting Science-Based Targets that Align with Corporate Social Responsibility
Antea Group recently assisted a client with setting science-based targets (SBTs), which are greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions targets in line with most recent climate science guidelines, established to limit global warming 1.5 to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The client was a private company that faced minimal pressure from investors to formally adhere to the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi). Instead, this company saw setting SBTs as part of the natural progression of their long term corporate social responsibility efforts towards developing a sustainable company culture and reputation. Because of this, they needed assistance in setting, tracking, and reaching their SBTs.
Antea Group supported the client throughout the process of setting an appropriate target, reviewing available methodologies to help them achieve the SBT, and developing a final report that included data and explanations of their emissions and steps to reach their SBT.
The project was divided into three phases:
Phase 1 – Alignment and Data Collection:
Antea Group assisted the client by reviewing their GHG emissions inventory and screening it for issues. This allowed the client to be confident that they were setting a target appropriate and representative of their company’s carbon impact. Additionally, the client needed to educate their organization (from employees to executives) so there was an understanding of the process and reasoning for setting such ambitious reduction goals to get internal buy-in.
Phase 2 – Data Analysis and Target Setting:
In this phase, we reviewed the available methodologies for setting SBTs to allow the client to determine what was most appropriate for their company. The team also performed economic analysis; it is one thing to set an SBT correctly aligned with climate science, but it’s even more crucial to assess the capital commitment as well as ROI that exists to achieve the set target. Lastly, the client wanted to ensure the ambition of their SBTs aligned with the local areas where they had operations. To do this, we assessed how the level of ambition of the SBTs we proposed compared to the goals set forth by the cities, regions, or municipalities where the clients’ operations took place.
Phase 3 – Report and Final Deliverables:
Finally, our work was compiled in a deliverable that provided:
- Company emissions profile
- Calculated SBTs, varying in level of ambition, and approximate economic commitment for each
- Comparison of proposed SBTs to the Climate Action Plans (CAPs) or similar documents were examined for each location
- Outline of next steps to pursue, including guidance on Scope 3 targets and requirements
The client was able to set a SBT knowing the full context of their emissions profile and using comparisons between their goals and similar organization's goals. A key part of this project was assessing a range of possible SBTs against the level of ambition of carbon reduction goals set by municipalities where the client had operations. This emphasized the importance of local context; a company’s target must be in line with the global ambition, but it also should be tailored to a businesses’ industry and impacts.
As a result of the project, the client was able to utilize the next steps provided by Antea Group to make meaningful progress that aligns with their organizational values. Overall, setting a SBT is the easy part. The challenge comes from the upfront work, such as inventorying GHG emissions and securing internal buy-in, and then following an SBT finalization plan to achieve the ambitious goals that have been set.