Science Based Targets initiative updates criteria in line with IPCC Special Report on 1.5 degrees

The Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) have just announced a change to the official SBTi target validation criteria and new resources for setting science-based targets, following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming.

Only 5 companies in the world have verified targets inline with 1.5C and we helped 2 of them. We helped both Tesco and Pukka Herbs to set and achieve sign off for their 1.5C targets. Both companies are seeing incredible impact from the initiative in understanding how to maintain sustainable growth in the long-term.

As the first official UK CDP science-based targets partner we fully understand the risks and opportunities that accompany the journey to setting and achieving science-based targets.

In a statement sent out by the SBTi they announce that new targets submitted for validation from October 2019 will only be accepted if they are consistent with limiting warming to well below 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Read the full press release here

“The IPCC’s Special Report has a clear warning: holding off the worst impacts of climate change will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” It will mean the complete decarbonization of the global economy.

Since 2015, the Science Based Targets initiative has helped companies align their business strategies with the latest climate science and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. Building on this latest body of scientific knowledge, we will introduce new technical resources that enable companies to set emission reduction targets in line with the global emission trajectories to keep warming at 1.5°C and well-below 2°C, as set out by the IPCC.

These new resources will be available in April 2019, along with Version 4.0 of the SBTi criteria.

Under the new criteria, which will come into force in October 2019:

  • New targets submitted for validation will only be accepted if they are consistent with limiting warming to well below 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Targets consistent with limiting warming to 2°C will no longer be approved. The definition of well below 2°C and 1.5°C will be informed by the IPCC Special Reportand underlying scenarios.
  • The level of ambition of all existing and new targets will be published on the SBTi website, and classified under one of three categories: 1.5°C, well-below 2°C and 2°C. Companies with approved targets will be notified of their current target ambition level via email in April 2019.
  • To ensure targets remain aligned with the most recent climate science companies will be required to review, and if necessary revalidate, their targets every five years from the date of the original target approval. This will become mandatory in 2025.”

This will directly implicate how companies submit their targets and will hopefully be a wake up call to many to just how much commitment is required to keep our world from exceeding 2.C. COP24 and Davos19 were great showcases of how working together is the key to tackling climate change. Here at Carbon Credentials our team of experts are well equipped to support your company on it’s science-based targets journey.

“We are delighted to have Carbon Credentials on board as our first Science-based targets partner in the UK. With experience helping a number of large and complex organizations across a variety of sectors to set science-based targets, we are confident that their expertise will be of great benefit to companies looking to set science-based targets.”
Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Director of Science-based targets at CDP.

Read our insights into the IPCC report here.
We’ve also distilled some of the key differences between a 1.5C versus 2C world below.

Contact Us

If you would like to get in touch with a member of our team regarding the new criteria and what this means for your business committing to a science-based target then please email