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A Course Correct for SBTi Net-Zero Commitments.

Read more in the March 15 edition of Invert Insights.

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More than 200 of the world’s largest organizations had their commitments removed from the SBTi’s Corporate Net-Zero Standard after missing the deadline to set net-zero targets.

The 239 organizations – which included Diageo, Vestas Wind Systems, innocent drinks, Unilever and Proctor & Gamble – were all members of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign which aimed to drive the adoption of science-based targets in line with the Paris Agreement goal of 1.5°C. While the campaign officially ended on October 28, 2021, companies had until 31 January 2024 to set targets.

It’s important to note that 60% of these companies have a near-term target set. SBTi shared they will be reviewing the Corporate Net-Zero Standard and making updates as required, as well as developing sector-specific standards for the highest emitting sectors in the coming year.

In a survey conducted by SBTi, participating companies stated the challenge of Scope 3 as the number one reason for not setting targets, followed closely by uncertainty around future technology developments. Others cited staff changes, or claimed that they had not fully understood expectations before making the commitment.

Here are some highlights from the SBTi survey:

Survey highlights from the SBTi Ambition for 1.5°C campaign
Survey highlights from the SBTi Ambition for 1.5°C campaign

Invert Insights.

💡 Despite the challenges facing companies to set targets, it’s still extremely important that the work be done to remedy barriers where possible. At this stage in many organizations’ decarbonization journey, it’s more important to prioritize achieving any meaningful reduction in emissions over being focused on perfection. 

💡 Companies who are having a hard time decarbonizing should consider going beyond their own value chain and aim to decarbonize elsewhere as guided within SBTi’s BVCM framework using carbon offsets. 

💡 4,204 companies were validated by the SBTi at the end of 2023 — double the amount of claims seen in previous years. This shows that, despite some corrections, thousands of companies continue to move forward setting their own targets which is a positive step towards reaching global climate goals.