Too few companies using science-based targets

Most companies fail to align with climate science, according to new research by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The research points to only one fifth of G20 companies’ climate targets being science-based and only six per cent of G13 (non-G7 members of the G20) companies’ climate targets being science-based, compared to 25 per cent in the G7.

G7 countries are led by the UK and France, with 41 per cent and 33 per cent of disclosed climate targets being science-based. Meanwhile some of the world’s heaviest emitters which are found in the G13 group of countries - such as Indonesia, Russia and Saudi Arabia - do not contain a single company to have submitted an approved science-based target.

Across the G20, 4,215 companies have disclosed climate targets to CDP but just 20 per cent of these are science-based targets in line with Paris Agreement goals. This is made up of 2,999 companies in the G7 and 1,216 companies in the G13.

Lila Karbassi, chief of programmes, UN Global Compact and SBTi board chair, said: “Last month’s IPCC report was code red for humanity. Urgent climate action must now be a top priority for those in power. Science-based targets are proven to cut corporate emissions at the pace and scale required - they are a vital part of the puzzle for governments and companies worldwide. Ahead of the G20 Summit and COP26, our world leaders must put their full support behind science-based targets as an effective way to slash emissions.”

The research is an update to the Taking the Temperature report, prepared by CDP and the UN Global Compact on behalf of the SBTi in June. The report analysed the emissions reduction targets of companies in G7 indexes and produced a temperature rating per index, showing the level of global warming that would be reached if companies in the index met their targets. The new research includes G7 index temperature ratings alongside key insights into emission target setting in G13 nations. It finds that G7 indexes with a higher share of emissions covered by SBTs result in lower overall temperature ratings.

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