First net-zero corporate standard launched

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has launched its Net-Zero Standard, the world’s first science-based certification of companies’ net-zero targets in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping planetary warming to 1.5C.

Companies are currently self-defining net-zero targets, and Alberto Carrillo Pineda, MD of the SBTi believes that these often lack any “credible and independent assessment”.

The principle at the heart of the SBTi Net-Zero Standard is the “mitigation hierarchy”. This means companies should address value chain emissions and implement strategies to achieve these targets as the main strategy to reach net-zero emissions.

Pineda added: “We’re now inviting all companies with net-zero targets and ambitions to show stakeholders that their decarbonisation pathway is aligned with science. And the rest of the business sector - we call on you to join the Race to Zero.”

The first seven firms to have their net-zero targets certified as part of the SBTi’s pilot scheme are: AstraZeneca (UK), CVS Health (US), Dentsu International (UK), Holcim (Switzerland), JLL (US), Ørsted (Denmark), and Wipro (India).

Companies adopting the Net-Zero Standard will be required to set both near and long-term science-based targets across all scopes. Near-term targets cover immediate emissions reductions for the next 5-10 years, while long-term science-based targets determine the total level of decarbonisation by 2050 or before.

The Net-Zero Standard was developed in consultation with an independent Expert Advisory Group, made up of experts from academia, civil society, science and business. More than 80 companies took part in a road-test of the Standard in August 2021. The Expert Advisory Group will continue to refine and develop the Standard in early 2022, specifically looking at best practice in beyond value chain mitigation and how to further support companies in reducing scope 3 emissions.

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