Once your company has an idea of its climate impacts, there are a lot of places it can go for help to set ambitious targets and decide on metrics to report progress, including external consultants, frameworks and standards. Non-executive directors need to ask the executive team the right questions to ensure that they are being presented with the range of options and can make an effective decision about the best course of action. This includes translating initial targets and metrics into the governance processes needed to ensure progress informs decision-making and so reporting is meaningful.
On this page:
What is a net zero target?
Carbon Trust’s net zero briefing explains net zero and why businesses should set appropriate targets.
Carbon Intelligence’s net zero guide explains what a net zero target is and how a company can set one.
Once you have set your targets it’s important that they are actively monitored as part of business as usual – and that they are not standing still, but continue to motivate continuous improvement.
When measuring targets and improving performance you can look for evidence that:
- Leadership is actively listening to stakeholder suggestions and actively encouraging them and incentivising them to come up with ideas for improvement
- Levels of ambition and achievement are being proactively compared with those of peer and comparator organisations and adjusted accordingly
- Proactive networking and collaboration across the end-to-end value chain and with other businesses and stakeholders across sectors to share (and action) ideas for improvement and innovation.
Many businesses are leading the way to a zero-carbon economy, boosting innovation and driving sustainable growth by setting ambitious, science-based emissions reduction targets. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) enables companies to set these targets aligned with the latest climate science and a 1.5°C future.
SBTi corporate net-zero standard
SBTi’s science-based Net-Zero Standard provides a credible and independent assessment of corporate net-zero target setting and enable companies to align their near- and long-term climate action with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
Foundations for Science-Based Net-Zero Target Setting in the Corporate Sector
Learn about the initial conceptual foundations for science-based net-zero target setting in the SBTi paper. The SBTi is currently building on these foundations to develop detailed criteria and guidelines to formulate, assess, and implement science-based corporate net-zero targets.
Well-recognised organisations focused on targets and reporting to drive and support climate action include:
|Science Based Targets Initiative||A collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) which champions, supports development of and independently assesses and approves SMART science-based targets set by businesses to reduce GHG emissions.|
|Carbon Disclosure Project||A not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. It also produces climate change related data, insights and articles.|
|Global Reporting Initiative||An independent international organisation that pioneered sustainability reporting. It helps businesses and governments worldwide understand and communicate their impact on critical sustainability issues such as climate change.|
|Sustainability Accounting Standards Board||Helps businesses around the world identify, manage and report on the sustainability topics that matter most to their investors. SASB standards differ by industry, enabling investors and companies to compare performance from company to company within an industry.|
|Climate Disclosure Standards Board||An international consortium of business and environmental NGOs. They are committed to advancing and aligning the global mainstream corporate reporting model to equate natural capital with financial capital, by offering companies a framework for reporting environmental information with the same rigour as financial information.|