The world is warming at an average rate of 0.08 degrees Celsius per decade, which spells doom to ecosystems therein, coastal cities, and livelihoods. At this rate, can you imagine the temperatures in the next 200 years? The chances are that the climate will be too hot for life, and we cannot let that happen!
The fast rise of global temperatures is caused by the excessive release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. To address the challenge, everyone has to join in the battle and cut down emissions. Companies, institutions, and cities have a bigger role to play because they release huge quantities of greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere. SBTi, shortening for Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), is one of the efforts aimed at promoting the best practices in addressing global warming.
If you are new to sustainability reporting, some questions running through the mind might be, “How does SBTi work?" and "Is it a good option for your company?" Here are the answers that you need to your questions about SBTi.
A Brief about SBTi: Criteria for the Targets?
Science-based targets are greenhouse gasses reduction goals that are developed in line with the rate of decarbonization that the planet requires to remain below 2 degrees Celsius level. They were necessitated by the realization that a number of initiatives adopted to address the problem of global warming were unclear and unreliable.
When a company shifts to energy-efficient lamps and installs new production machines without a clear plan, it will only cut down some emissions in the short term. However, such efforts are likely to yield poor global results in the future. The report about the efforts is likely to get labeled greenwashed, resulting in loss of investors and other stakeholders for your company. How to be carbon neutral?
Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) helps investors and managers to clearly define a sustainable future and follow the right path to achieve it. With the help of professionals, follow-up, and goodwill, companies are assured of getting more than the set carbon reduction targets.
The initiative is growing rapidly as more companies choose it to drive their net-zero goals / targets. By early 2020, more than 590 companies with operational emissions of about 750 million tons of CO2 had set their targets with SBTi.
SBTi works with the targets submitted by companies that commit to using it to cut down their carbon footprint. To use SBTi, you should start by understanding the following target boundaries and criteria:
- Organizational Boundary
SBTi recommends that companies submit the targets in all areas of operations. This means that if your company has a subsidiary, the targets have to include it because environmental issues, such as climate change, are transboundary. Make sure that the reporting follows the same standard to make the report easy to read for investors.
- Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Coverage
The targets you set must include all the greenhouse gasses as outlined in the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard. These are the emissions that fall in scopes 1, 2, and 3:
- Scope 1: These emissions arise from your company’s operations. Greenhouse gasses released from the production line, the main institution operations, and possible coolant leakages fall in this category.
- Scope 2: These are GHG emissions from companies that are related to your organization, especially those that supply energy. Good examples are business emissions related to energy, gas, and electricity use.
- Scope 3: Emissions in this category mainly come from third parties you indirectly associate with. Good examples are emissions from businesses or initiatives in your supply chain.
- Emission Accounting
To use SBTi, your company has to disclose the method of accounting that it is using based on the GHG Protocol Scope Guidelines. The two methods allowed in SBTi are the location-based accounting approach and market-based accounting model. When tracking scope 2 emissions, you are required to use both protocols.
To achieve more with sustainability efforts, SBTi calls for long-term protection and targets. As we indicated earlier, the ultimate goal is to intensify carbon reduction towards a zero-carbon economy in line with the Paris Agreement of 2015. The minimum time frame supported by SBTi is five years and a maximum of ten.
Therefore, it is important to adjust the setting of the company operations to rhyme with the reporting phase.
In most cases, managers set the financial reporting term to go together with sustainability reporting for better planning. Remember that you can always make adjustments on your action plan to accelerate carbon footprint reduction or avoid missing targets.
Applying SBTi in Your Company
Once you understand the main guidelines for the SBTi application, the next step is implementing it in your organization. We must indicate that it is crucial to look at your company broadly and from a long-term perspective to achieve better results. Check out the steps below:
Before commencing the process of reporting your sustainability effort with SBTi, you need to demonstrate commitment to it. Visit their website and indicate your company's focus on using the initiative to reduce carbon footprint. At this stage, it is important to think about the requirements along the way, including budgetary /financial considerations and expert support.
This is the most important step because it will help to define the ultimate achievements. So, carry out a comprehensive review of company operations to determine the carbon reduction targets. You might want to start with carbon footprint calculations before setting the reduction targets. Make sure the reduction targets are in line with the SBTi requirements and business sector policies.
- Submit and Communicate to Stakeholders
Once your targets have been set, you need to submit them to SBTi for validation. Then, communicate them to stakeholders. Your company’s stakeholders are the primary targets because they only want to be associated with sustainable and responsible brands. Most of them will be glad to see the efforts of carbon reduction because it provides some assurance that the world will be a better place for all.
Although the overall time frame recommended under SBTi is five to ten years, you are required to generate annual reports and publish them for stakeholders. This is crucial because it demonstrates the company's progress towards the final goal. If your overall target is cutting emissions by 30% in 10 years, each year should reflect progress towards the main goal.
Special Benefits of Pairing SBTi with Sustainability Reporting Software
Corporate sustainability reporting has become the driving force for business success. SBTi allows you to systematically capture all the efforts for cutting carbon footprint and communicate them to stakeholders. However, we must say that the process is not easy. Some executives indicate they were unable to get started, while others got stuck and sought help midway.
Since SBTi is one of the best sustainability reporting initiatives, you should pair it with an appropriate sustainability reporting application. The primary goal for sustainability reporting is to ensure you have the right data and the reporting done accurately. You can achieve these two requirements by using a good reporting program. With the best app, you can:
- Automate the process of data collection for some processes.
- Easily set the agenda for the next reporting phase.
- Lower the cost of sustainability reporting.
- Easily comply with the set legislation and policies on sustainability.
- Identify future opportunities and take advantage of them for high profitability.
In addition to selecting the best sustainability management program, you might also want to work with a professional. The idea of sustainability can be complex and challenging for you, especially when there are so many things to do. To help you stay focused on the core tasks of your enterprise, such as product development and marketing, let a professional help with sustainability reporting activities.
SBTi, just like the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), came out as a robust model for sustainability reporting, and you can count on it to stand out in your industry. To get more accurate data, cut down the cost of sustainability reporting, and achieve long-term business targets, make sure also to use the right software. At Diginex.com, we have the best tools and expertise for your company. Reach us today and you will learn more about sustainability reporting with SBTi.