What are Science Based Targets and how do you get started?

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How do you know if your company's climate efforts are enough to contribute sufficiently to the fight against climate change? To answer this question, the Science Based Targets Initiative was set up in 2015 by, among others, the United Nations, the World Wildlife Fund and the World Resources Institute. In this article we briefly explain what the Science Based Targets are, why they are important and how you can get started with them.

What are Science Based Targets?

Science Based Targets are science-based goals that show organizations how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change. With Science Based Targets you align your company's goals with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement, which should limit global warming to well below 2 degrees. If you get started with Science Based Targets, you can be sure that your company's climate efforts are sufficient. It is therefore not surprising that more and more companies that take climate change seriously are starting to work with Science Based Targets.

What are the benefits of Science Based Targets?

First of all, it is of course good for the earth and for organizations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with climate science.

Setting up Science Based Targets has multiple business benefits: it makes growth future-proof, saves money, offers resistance against regulation, increases confidence from investors, stimulates innovation and competitiveness – while also showing concrete sustainability commitments to the increasingly aware consumer. This can significantly strengthen (brand) reputation.

How do you set up Science Based Targets?

The first step is to calculate your current footprint. It is important that all emissions are included: scope 1, 2 and scope 3. Most companies do not (yet) include scope 3 in their calculations. This is not surprising, because in many countries it is not yet mandatory to report about scope 3 emissions. This is unfortunate, since scope 3 is often the part that includes the most impact. After all, how can a company achieve specific climate objectives if the full impact has not been calculated?

Achieving goals

Setting goals is not the hardest part. Most of the effort goes into achieving the goals. That is why it is important to involve the right people and companies (partners) to ensure success. Achieving the scope 3 targets (emissions in the chain) will be impossible without partnerships with chain partners. Fortunately, more and more projects arise to achieve this, such as the Horti Footprint Circle and Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSE) in the horticultural sector.

In addition, it is important to include the internal organization in the established climate goals, since it will influence the day-to-day work. At many companies, only the sustainability employees are aware of the plans and the impact those plans will have. There is much to gain here. If the vast majority of the organization does not understand what achieving climate goals means, it will make achieving them more difficult. We can help you with this through a Sustainable Start Session.

Finally, it is of course important to continuously monitor whether everyone continues to sail the right course and whether the objectives will be achieved.

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