Businesses can abate worst effects of the climate crisis through science-based targetsGlasgow/New Delhi: In the race to combat the climate crisis, businesses globally are adopting Science-Based Targets (SBTs) into their business models, setting them on a path to meet the 1.5-degree target. This was the focus of the event “Science-based climate action and emission reductions: Growing momentum in the corporate world” taking place on the last day of COP26 in Glasgow. The panel discussion was organized by WWF Belgium and WWF India, both of whom have successfully run the Belgian Alliance for Climate Action and Science-Based Targets Initiative incubator.
The panel discussion illustrated the growing urgency to reduce GHG emissions and the vital role played by businesses in driving down greenhouse gas emissions and building the resilient, zero-emissions economy we urgently need. The panelists deliberated on how science-based target setting makes business sense – it future-proofs growth, saves money in the longer term, provides resilience against regulation, boosts investor confidence, spurs innovation and competitiveness – while also demonstrating concrete sustainability commitments to increasingly-conscious consumers by taking action that is grounded in science. The panelists discussed the role of the Science-Based Targets incubator in India and Belgium Alliance for Climate Action in Belgium in supporting businesses in setting climate science-aligned emissions reduction targets and encouraging peer to peer learning. The discussion also delved into how similar SBT communities can be replicated globally as well, to scale up the corporate climate action.
Bose Varghese, Head-Green Initiatives, Infosys, said “Corporate commitments to SBT grew sharply across the world in the last two years. That reflects a commitment to take climate action and to follow science in the process. We have also seen a similar spike in commitment to net-zero. SBT and net-zero together can be a game-changer in climate action: net-zero goal setting the ambition and SBT backing it up with time-bound action.” The incubator in India has provided handholding support to corporates from target setting to their validation, Varghese elaborated.
The Science-Based Targets Initiative Incubator in India supported 19 Indian businesses in committing to SBTs and helped 11 companies with technical support in setting targets for greenhouse gas reduction in the move towards a zero-carbon economy. Phase II of the SBTi Incubator in India has WWF India & CDP India working towards building momentum around ambitious science-based target setting and the shift to a net-zero economy, to highlight that businesses, the government, and investors are united in their commitment to achieving global climate goals.
“Corporate science-based GHG reduction commitments have seen a growth of more than 50% in India over 2019, after the inception of SBTi Incubator. We see a huge potential to recruit more corporates, both large businesses and their supply chains, financial institutions and even public sector undertakings to the Science based targets initiative.” said Varun Aggarwal, Associate Director-Sustainable Business, WWF India.
The Belgian Alliance for Climate Action, founded by WWF Belgium and The Shift, established a community of 81 companies that formally engage to set and implement Science Based Targets. 31 of their members have validated SBTs, among which 25 companies have more than 100 euro million turnover. BACA has been building momentum around science-based targets by exchanging knowledge and knowhow. It has become a community of organisations that want to work together towards a sustainable future.
Julie Vandenberghe, Deputy Director, National Programs, WWF-Belgium said, “Science-Based Targets are a multiplier for climate action by non-state actors. They have therefore a huge potential to help and get the world on track towards maximum 1.5° global average temperature. Awaiting more strict government climate measures and rules, companies and civil society organizations don’t have to wait. With implementing science based targets they can prepare themselves for a carbon neutral world and come out stronger, making themselves and society more resilient against the effects of climate change.”
Notes to the Editor
The Belgian Alliance for Climate Action and Science-Based Targets Initiative incubator were launched in 2020 in Belgium and in 2019 in India and have since become the benchmark in helping private companies to prepare and implement their roadmap for GHG emissions reduction. SBTs are based on an objective, scientific evaluation of what is needed for global GHG emissions reduction. They are determined by relevant carbon budgets, and are therefore the most effective tool for companies to guarantee their GHG emission reduction strategy is aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The SBT community set-up has been proven to be a successful approach across developing and developed economies alike, showcasing that the model can be adapted across geographies. Companies need to play a crucial role in combating climate change, by setting GHG emissions reduction targets that are aligned with latest climate science and Paris Agreement goals. Setting SBTs is rapidly becoming a norm globally, marking a turning point in corporate engagement, for it demonstrates businesses prioritising acting on climate action and not lagging behind their peers in the near future.
About Science-Based Targets initiative
The Science-Based Targets initiative mobilises companies to set science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. The initiative is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments. The initiative defines and promotes the best practices in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.