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Companies have a major responsibility to reduce emissions and to adapt their business models to meet the challenge of keeping the global average temperature rises to no more than 2°C. Many companies are already taking bold climate action and are calling for ambitious climate policies. Photo © PSNH

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Website: Adopt a Science-based Emissions Reduction Target
Contact: Erin Callahan Erin.Callahan@Cdp.net

Governments have agreed that the global average temperature must not be allowed to rise above 2 degrees Celsius, beyond which extreme climate impacts become more and more unmanageable.

Because this is a science-based target it is also necessary to ensure that climate action at all levels can be properly measured and reported in verifiable ways, if the world is to succeed in staying below this essential global temperature defense line.

Science-based targets allow companies to work toward this overall goal by aligning corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions with global emissions budgets generated by climate models.

The Science-Based Targets Initiative – a partnership of CDP, UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute and WWF – has worked to develop such methodologies and tools to support companies in setting and working toward these kinds of targets.

This applied support is both necessary and timely as so many companies around the world are raising their ambitions around target-setting for their climate actions to ensure their long-term sustainability and profitability, driving bolder business action.

Science-based target setting can spur greater ambition and generate the innovations needed to transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. This type of innovation can redefine companies’ bottom lines by creating new business models and sources of value, and by transitioning from unsustainable economic systems.

By making a commitment under the Science Based Targets Initiative, companies will be agreeing to set a science-based target that is in line with the initiative’s Call to Action criteria:

  • Timeframe: Companies have a period of 24 months to set their targets. The commitment period must cover a minimum of 5 years from the date of announcement of the target.
  • Boundary: Target covers company-wide Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and all GHGs, as required by the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.
  • Level of ambition: Target is consistent with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures.
  • Scope 3: An ambitious Scope 3 target is also required when Scope 3 emissions cover a significant portion of a company’s overall emissions.
  • Reporting: Companies will disclose GHG emissions inventory on an annual basis.


Photo credit: Walmart (Flickr)

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