The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), one of the key organizations focused on aligning corporate environmental sustainability action with the global goals of limiting climate change unveiled its action plan for 2022, as the initiative aims to scale adoption of companies and organizations setting science-based climate targets.

Founded in 2015, SBTi was formed as a collaboration between CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), with the goal to establish science-based environmental target setting as a standard corporate practice.

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In a blog post on the SBTi website, SBTi Co-Founder and Steering Committee Member Cynthia Cummis detailed several of the initiatives the organization aims to pursue over the coming year, including extending the range of its guidance and resources for specific sectors, launching a framework to track progress against targets, and further developing scope 3 target setting.

In order to facilitate increased company uptake of target setting and climate action, SBTi aims to a develop a range of sector-specific guidance and resources. In November 2021, the organization announced the initiation of a process to develop a net zero standard for financial institutions, with a ‘Net-Zero Standard for Financial Institutions’ draft expected to be published early this year, and a final standard anticipated to be released in early 2023. SBTi now aims to expand its sector-specific activities to include guidance for sectors including Forest, Land and Agriculture, Aviation and Maritime, Cement, Steel, Buildings and Chemicals.

One of the key actions planned by SBTi this year is the development of a Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) framework, in order to provide a standardized and robust mechanism to track organizations’ progress against science-based targets. The MRV is anticipated to launch in Q4 2022. The MRV initiative follows the recent release by SBTi of its Net Zero Standard, used to assess and certify companies’ commitments to achieve net zero emissions.

Value chain decarbonization is emerging as a major focus for sustainability initiatives at companies globally, as efforts to address the climate impact of business increasingly shift to reducing emissions outside of companies’ direct control, or ‘Scope 3,’ which often constitute the majority of company emissions. SBTi stated that over 2022 it will conduct a comprehensive review its scope 3 target setting methods and criteria, to ensure alignment with best practices and with the new Net Zero Standard.

Additionally, SBTi aims to continue its Country Activation Project, aiming to get more companies in developing regions including Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia to set science-based climate targets.

Cummis wrote:

“As we enter 2022, we urgently call for more businesses and financial institutions to commit to setting science-based targets. We must halve emissions within the next eight years if we are to stand a fighting chance of keeping global warming to 1.5°C.

“Science-based targets are proven to deliver emissions cuts, and we are calling on organizations across the globe to make bold climate action their top resolution this new year.”