The Science Based Target Initiative has been created by 4 organisations:  DP, WWF, the World Resources Institute, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

In the Paris Agreement, national governments committed to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (°C) and pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. Beyond these thresholds, the world will increasingly experience dangerously elevated amounts of sea-level rise, droughts, flooding, and other extremes. Despite the efforts of governments and other actors, total anthropogenic GHG emissions continue to increase. Under current trajectories, global mean temperatures are projected to increase by 3.7 to 4.8°C by the end of this century. Even under existing country-level commitments, emissions levels in 2030 will be 24 to 60 percent higher than they should be under least-cost 2°C scenarios (UNFCCC Secretariat 2016).

Companies have a pivotal role in ensuring that the global temperature goals are met, but most existing company targets are not ambitious enough. The majority of global GHG emissions are either directly or indirectly influenced by the corporate sector. Many companies, recognizing the risk climate change poses to their business and the opportunity it creates for leadership and innovation, have already committed to change by setting emission reduction targets. Yet, to date, most companies’ targets have been incremental and do not match the ambition and timelines consistent with a 2°C future.

SBT’s represent a more robust approach for companies to manage their emissions over the long haul. SBT’s are grounded on an objective, scientific evaluation of what is needed, rather than what is achievable by any one company. And they offer a firm foundation for organizations’ long-term climate change strategies, boosting companies’ competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. Targets are considered “science-based” if they are in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increase below 2°C compared to pre- industrial temperatures.

Companies are increasingly adopting SBTs, although uncertainty exists regarding best practices. Over 350 multinational companies have already set an SBT and over 850 have committed to set an SBT in the near future through the Science Based Targets initiative. Because setting SBTs is an emerging practice, considerable uncertainty exists amongst companies around the benefits of settings SBTs, what kind of target may constitute an SBT, and best practices for both gaining internal support for SBT adoption and communicating SBTs to external audiences.

The most important GHGs are water vapour (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Other greenhouse gases include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and ozone (O3). While all GHGs are only present in the atmosphere as trace amounts, their effect is enormous: without the natural greenhouse effect, the earth’s average surface temperature would be only -18˚C instead of the current 15˚C.

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon arising from heat-absorbing components, called greenhouse gases (GHGs), in our atmosphere. This natural effect regulates the earth’s surface temperature, allowing life on earth as we know it. Unlike the belief of many people, the greenhouse effect in itself does not threaten our climate. It is only due to our carbon-emitting activities (e.g. traffic, industry, etc.) that GHGs accumulate – as they cannot be completely recycled by our natural ecosystems – which causes temperatures to rise.

The greenhouse effect is named after the warming effect of solar radiation passing through glass in a greenhouse. Nevertheless, the underlying heat-retaining mechanism is fundamentally different: the greenhouse effect can be compared to a blanket that traps the body heat, and prevents it from escaping into the room.

Scientists are more than 90% sure that global warming is primarily caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gasses and CO2 emitted by human activities. The mass burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, cutting down rainforests (deforestation) and farming livestock add enormous amounts of GHGs to our atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Global warming refers to the recent (pre-industrial to present) temperature increase of the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. In order to keep the negative consequences of global warming under control, the average global temperature rise should be limited to less than 2˚C relative to the pre-industrial level – as was agreed at the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Beyond that limit, climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

Global temperatures will rise significantly, as will sea levels. We should expect extreme weather events (think: storms, floods, and heat waves) to increase both in frequency and intensity. In turn, this could lead to other indirect effects such as the spreading of tropical diseases to new regions, and forced mass migrations or climate refugees. The negative impacts will be strongest in low-income countries, as they are unable to take the necessary adaptation measures.

Our natural ecosystems serve as a buffer for climate change impacts. For example: coral reefs reduce the impacts of sea surges and tropical storm waves before they reach the shoreline, forests can act as a carbon sink, etc. Yet, these ecosystems have trouble adapting to the rapid changes caused by global warming, leading to severe degradation with the risk of total collapse. All of this increases the vulnerability of nature and of our societies even more.

The main mitigation strategy is to stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by drastically reducing the amount of carbon emissions. For example:

  • increasing energy efficiency and conservation e.g. improving building insulation, using smart and efficient lighting, etc.;
  • switch to low-carbon energy, such as renewable and nuclear energy.

Find out more on our CO2 Neutral® label

We can help you become CO2 neutral through 4 basics steps: calculating, reducing, compensating, and communicating your carbon emissions.

Become CO2 neutral

A carbon footprint is usually expressed in ‘tonnes of CO2’, but how much is 1 ton of CO2 exactly?

  • Driving 9500 km with a normal car;
  • The average emission of 1 passenger on a return-flight from Brussels to Marrakech;
  • Heating an average home for 2 months (350 litres of heating oil or 450m² of natural gas).

Your carbon footprint is a quantification of the total amount of (indirect) greenhouse gases emitted by your organisation, event, product or service. Through recognised methods, such as Bilan Carbone, GHG protocol, ISO 14064, PEF, OEF, etc. your actual footprint can be visualised. Calculating your carbon footprint is the first step in a 4-step process to reduce your carbon emissions to zero.

Calculate your carbon footprint

These standards are crucial in calculating the carbon footprint, because they give confidence in the credibility and transparency of carbon neutrality claims. Next to PEF and OEF, the most reliable and widely-used standards are ISO 14064, BSI: PAS 2050, GHG Protocol and Bilan Carbone®. In April 2013, the European Commission launched the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) in an attempt harmonise the currently available carbon footprint standards.

The ISO 14064 standard was developed in 2006 by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). It is used to provide governments, businesses, regions and other organisations with an integrated set of tools for programmes to quantify, monitor, report and verify greenhouse gas emissions. It is published in three parts, detailing specifications and guidance for the organisational and project levels, and for validation and verification.

The Publicly Available Standard 2050 (PAS 2050) was developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 2008 as the world’s first framework methodology for carbon footprinting. The updated 2011 version provides a method for assessing the life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services. Organisations can use this standard to assess the climate change impact of the goods and services they offer.

The Publicly Available Standard 2060 (PAS 2060) is the newest recommended standard for CO2 neutrality, launched by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 2010. It offers a successful set of measures and requirements for organisations to make a verifiable and transparent declaration of their carbon neutrality. The standard makes it easier to compare company efforts and to overcome public cynicism about the term.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is an international accounting tool for governments and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. It was established by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in 1998 and first published in 2001. The protocol served as the foundation of several international standards, including ISO 14064-1.

Bilan Carbone® is a diagnostic tool developed by the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) in 2004. It is an accounting method for greenhouse gas emissions which can be used by any organisation, industrial or tertiary company, public administration, communities or territory. It is the best-known and most used system in France for the evaluation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Unlike a carbon footprint, which measures only one thing, an environmental footprint is a useful multi-indicator measure of your impacts. The PEF is a methodology created by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) based on Life Cycle Assessment. Its goal is to provide ‘a common way of measuring environmental performance’ for companies within in EU wishing to market their product.

The OEF is a multi-indicator measure created by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC). This measure provides you with an overview of the environmental performance of your organisation’s goods and services from a life cycle perspective. The OEF can be used by all types of companies, public administrative entities, territories, and other bodies.

The integrity of offsetting has become a big issue after reports of fraud and abuse involving the (compliance) carbon market. So it is crucial to ensure that offsetting actually provides the desired environmental benefits – also to avoid any reputational risk associated with the use of poor quality offsets. Several standards have been established to guarantee the quality of a certain offsetting credit. They can be subdivided in standards for the compliance market and standards for the voluntary market.

The CDM Gold Standard is built on the basis of the CDM standard, but includes an additional focus on sustainable development contribution and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The GS is operated by the Gold Standard Foundation, established in 2003 by a group of NGOs led by WWF. All approved projects are registered in the Gold Standard online registry, to ensure a transparent chain of ownership that does not allow double counting, carbon leakage and other credibility issues that need to be monitored to ensue credible & sustainable climate action.

The Verified Carbon Standard was developed for exclusive use on the voluntary market. Designed by the Climate Group and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), it aims to create a new trading unit called a Voluntary Carbon Unit (VCU). Best practices from the existing market place were brought together, such as the additionality and baseline principles of the CDM, and the accounting principles of the GHG protocol for Project Accounting.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) standards provide rules for baselines, additionality, monitoring, reporting, verification, and certification of project-based emission reductions. CDM is created for projects in developing countries, while JI is intended for projects in developed countries. Projects intended to generate compliance credits (called Certified Emission Reductions or CERs) need to comply with the CDM/JI standard, governed by the Independent Executive Board of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The CERs can also be bought for voluntary purposes. The certificates are recorded in an international registry system, with unique serial numbers, making each CER traceable to the project through which it was generated. The market credibility of these standards is high, but transaction costs are high as well, which limits adaptation to medium or large projects.

The most important GHGs are water vapour (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Other greenhouse gases include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and ozone (O3). While all GHGs are only present in the atmosphere as trace amounts, their effect is enormous: without the natural greenhouse effect, the earth’s average surface temperature would be only -18˚C instead of the current 15˚C.

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon arising from heat-absorbing components, called greenhouse gases (GHGs), in our atmosphere. This natural effect regulates the earth’s surface temperature, allowing life on earth as we know it. Unlike the belief of many people, the greenhouse effect in itself does not threaten our climate. It is only due to our carbon-emitting activities (e.g. traffic, industry, etc.) that GHGs accumulate – as they cannot be completely recycled by our natural ecosystems – which causes temperatures to rise.

The greenhouse effect is named after the warming effect of solar radiation passing through glass in a greenhouse. Nevertheless, the underlying heat-retaining mechanism is fundamentally different: the greenhouse effect can be compared to a blanket that traps the body heat, and prevents it from escaping into the room.

Scientists are more than 90% sure that global warming is primarily caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gasses and CO2 emitted by human activities. The mass burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, cutting down rainforests (deforestation) and farming livestock add enormous amounts of GHGs to our atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Global warming refers to the recent (pre-industrial to present) temperature increase of the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. In order to keep the negative consequences of global warming under control, the average global temperature rise should be limited to less than 2˚C relative to the pre-industrial level – as was agreed at the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Beyond that limit, climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

Global temperatures will rise significantly, as will sea levels. We should expect extreme weather events (think: storms, floods, and heat waves) to increase both in frequency and intensity. In turn, this could lead to other indirect effects such as the spreading of tropical diseases to new regions, and forced mass migrations or climate refugees. The negative impacts will be strongest in low-income countries, as they are unable to take the necessary adaptation measures.

The main mitigation strategy is to stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by drastically reducing the amount of carbon emissions. For example:

  • increasing energy efficiency and conservation e.g. improving building insulation, using smart and efficient lighting, etc.;
  • switch to low-carbon energy, such as renewable and nuclear energy.

Find out more on our CO2 Neutral® label

We can help you become CO2 neutral through 4 basics steps: calculating, reducing, compensating, and communicating your carbon emissions.

Become CO2 neutral

A carbon footprint is usually expressed in ‘tonnes of CO2’, but how much is 1 ton of CO2 exactly?

  • Driving 9500 km with a normal car;
  • The average emission of 1 passenger on a return-flight from Brussels to Marrakech;
  • Heating an average home for 2 months (350 litres of heating oil or 450m² of natural gas).

Your carbon footprint is a quantification of the total amount of (indirect) greenhouse gases emitted by your organisation, event, product or service. Through recognised methods, such as Bilan Carbone, GHG protocol, ISO 14064, PEF, OEF, etc. your actual footprint can be visualised. Calculating your carbon footprint is the first step in a 4-step process to reduce your carbon emissions to zero.

Calculate your carbon footprint

These standards are crucial in calculating the carbon footprint, because they give confidence in the credibility and transparency of carbon neutrality claims. Next to PEF and OEF, the most reliable and widely-used standards are ISO 14064, BSI: PAS 2050, GHG Protocol and Bilan Carbone®. In April 2013, the European Commission launched the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) in an attempt harmonise the currently available carbon footprint standards.

The ISO 14064 standard was developed in 2006 by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). It is used to provide governments, businesses, regions and other organisations with an integrated set of tools for programmes to quantify, monitor, report and verify greenhouse gas emissions. It is published in three parts, detailing specifications and guidance for the organisational and project levels, and for validation and verification.

The Publicly Available Standard 2050 (PAS 2050) was developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 2008 as the world’s first framework methodology for carbon footprinting. The updated 2011 version provides a method for assessing the life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services. Organisations can use this standard to assess the climate change impact of the goods and services they offer.

The Publicly Available Standard 2060 (PAS 2060) is the newest recommended standard for CO2 neutrality, launched by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 2010. It offers a successful set of measures and requirements for organisations to make a verifiable and transparent declaration of their carbon neutrality. The standard makes it easier to compare company efforts and to overcome public cynicism about the term.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is an international accounting tool for governments and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. It was established by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in 1998 and first published in 2001. The protocol served as the foundation of several international standards, including ISO 14064-1.

Bilan Carbone® is a diagnostic tool developed by the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) in 2004. It is an accounting method for greenhouse gas emissions which can be used by any organisation, industrial or tertiary company, public administration, communities or territory. It is the best-known and most used system in France for the evaluation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Unlike a carbon footprint, which measures only one thing, an environmental footprint is a useful multi-indicator measure of your impacts. The PEF is a methodology created by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) based on Life Cycle Assessment. Its goal is to provide ‘a common way of measuring environmental performance’ for companies within in EU wishing to market their product.

The OEF is a multi-indicator measure created by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC). This measure provides you with an overview of the environmental performance of your organisation’s goods and services from a life cycle perspective. The OEF can be used by all types of companies, public administrative entities, territories, and other bodies.

The integrity of offsetting has become a big issue after reports of fraud and abuse involving the (compliance) carbon market. So it is crucial to ensure that offsetting actually provides the desired environmental benefits – also to avoid any reputational risk associated with the use of poor quality offsets. Several standards have been established to guarantee the quality of a certain offsetting credit. They can be subdivided in standards for the compliance market and standards for the voluntary market.

The CDM Gold Standard is built on the basis of the CDM standard, but includes an additional focus on sustainable development contribution and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The GS is operated by the Gold Standard Foundation, established in 2003 by a group of NGOs led by WWF. All approved projects are registered in the Gold Standard online registry, to ensure a transparent chain of ownership that does not allow double counting, carbon leakage and other credibility issues that need to be monitored to ensue credible & sustainable climate action.

The Verified Carbon Standard was developed for exclusive use on the voluntary market. Designed by the Climate Group and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), it aims to create a new trading unit called a Voluntary Carbon Unit (VCU). Best practices from the existing market place were brought together, such as the additionality and baseline principles of the CDM, and the accounting principles of the GHG protocol for Project Accounting.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) standards provide rules for baselines, additionality, monitoring, reporting, verification, and certification of project-based emission reductions. CDM is created for projects in developing countries, while JI is intended for projects in developed countries. Projects intended to generate compliance credits (called Certified Emission Reductions or CERs) need to comply with the CDM/JI standard, governed by the Independent Executive Board of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The CERs can also be bought for voluntary purposes. The certificates are recorded in an international registry system, with unique serial numbers, making each CER traceable to the project through which it was generated. The market credibility of these standards is high, but transaction costs are high as well, which limits adaptation to medium or large projects.

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