Top things you should know about the updated criteria and guidance from the SBTi

By Emma Watson

Over the Easter bank holiday, the Science Based Targets inititative (SBTi) released its eagerly awaited updated guidance and criteria.

The new guidance has come in response to the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5°C released in October 2018 which highlighted the stark difference in negative climate change impacts of 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming. With the new knowledge presented by this report, the SBTi took swift action to update criteria so that targets aligned with 2 degrees of warming would no longer be sufficient.

What have the SBTi released?

  • Version 4.0 of SBTi Criteria and Recommendations
  • Science-based target setting foundations paper – insights into the SBTi’s process for developing its science-based target setting methodologies
  • Science-based target setting tool – model targets using the Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach and the Absolute Contraction Approach
  • Target validation protocol – a guide to how the SBTi validate targets
  • Science-based target setting manual

You can find all of these new resources here.

What are the key takeaways from the updates?

  • The new criteria will come into effect on the 15th of October 2019
  • From that date, the SBTi will only approve targets aligned with “well-below” 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees
  • Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach methods have only been updated to a “beyond 2 degrees” pathway, therefore intensity targets must be tested against absolute emission reduction criteria for 1.5 degrees
  • Scope 3 targets aligned with 2 degrees can still be approved

If your target has already been approved, there are still some important messages to take note of:

  • The SBTi will be analysing and publishing the level of ambition of targets that have already been approved on their website
  • Companies that already have their targets approved will be invited to increased the level of their target ambition
  • A new criteria has been introduced for mandatory target recalculation meaning that targets must be reviewed and, if necessary, recalculated every 5 years in line with the latest science
  • All companies with already approved targets must review their targets by 2025 at the latest

We are really proud to have helped both Tesco and Pukka Herbs achieve sign off on their 1.5 degree aligned targets, making them two of a small pool of companies to have raised the level of ambition this high.

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