Measurement and ImpactJanuary 20, 2024

Science-based targets (SBTs) – What you need to know

In the first in our series of blogs about science-based targets, Morelli Consulting’s Director, and SBT specialist, Faye Bennett-Hart, MIEMA CEnv, shares insights on setting emission reduction targets, aligned with science.


What are science-based targets (SBTs)?


When a business or organisation is setting a carbon emissions reduction target, there is no better choice than a science-based target (SBT). These ensure that the reduction target is aligned to the science of achieving the UN Climate agreements of a 1.5°C world, avoiding dangerous levels of global warming and climate change.

Many thousands of organisations have already committed to SBTs with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The number of organisations committing to action, is now over 6,500, and the number rises every week.


How to set an SBT?


At Morelli we believe in building the foundations for successful target setting in the following way:

1. It is important to have a clear understanding of baseline carbon emissions (the total carbon footprint of the business for the first year of calculation) on which the target will be based. For the base year carbon footprint, the scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions will need to be calculated and understood.

2. Working out the %reduction required, to meet the trajectory for limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and when reductions need to be achieved by. Whether targets are near-term(in the next 5-10 years), or longer term(i.e. net zero by 2040), the route towards achieving them needs to be worked out.

3. Achieve buy-in for the proposed targets from key stakeholders. To achieve your targets, engagement from across your business is key; with stakeholders understanding how their role contributes to their successful achievement.

Once the target(s) is signed off by leadership, you can confidently start your commitment with the SBTi which is based on the following steps:

Commit – a commitment letter submitted the SBTi to commit to setting an SBT. This then gives a 24 month window in which to confirm the target(s) and submit for validation. (SBTi charge a fee for the validation.)
Develop – develop the target aligned with SBTi criteria.
Submit – present your target to the SBTi for validation.
Communicate – announce your target and inform your stakeholders.
Disclose – report company-wide emissions and track target progress annually.


At Morelli Consulting we can help you as we:


•       Have many years of experience in science-based target setting and the validation process. Working in partnership with you, we guide you through the intricacies.
•       Provide end-to-end support, taking you from understanding your carbon emissions data, right through to having your SBT validated.
•       Work with a range of organisations and the feedback is that with Morelli, they feel well informed and supported throughout the target setting process.


If you want to know more, contact us at [email protected]