Strategic Focus: Designing An SBTi-Ready Net Zero Strategy

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Executive Summary

Climate change mitigation depends on global commitments to net zero. As the pressure to reduce carbon emissions intensifies, firms are seeking the validation of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Net-Zero Standard for their science-based roadmaps to decarbonization. Target validation by the SBTi implies a generation of commercial value and trust. However, the SBTi Standard is not exempt from criticism, and firms may find limitations to its methodology and requirements. Organizations need to address the complexities surrounding carbon reduction and neutralization to create a successful net zero strategy. This report examines the challenges of the SBTi and recommends key steps to ensure a realistic and credible roadmap to net zero. 

Table of contents

The SBTi Net-Zero Standard Sets Firms’ Decarbonization Strategies  
The SBTi Has Emerged As The Premier Net Zero Initiative Globally
The SBTi Net-Zero Standard Requires Carbon Reduction and Neutralization Across Value Chains
Firms Must Increase Data Accessibility And Visibility Of Carbon Emissions
Net Zero Data Complexities Encourage Reliance On Digital Tech Services

Firms Should Use The SBTi As A Foundation For Net Zero Success 
Firms Should Consider The Limitations Of The SBTi Net-Zero Standard
Four Winning Factors For SBTi Success

Table of figures

Figure 1. SBTi Momentum In 2021 
Figure 2. Key Steps For Pre-Set SBTi Targets  

About the authors

Elisa Molero


Elisa Molero is a research analyst specialised in ESG & Sustainability. Her background is in Economics (BSc University of Navarra). She holds a minor in leadership and governance. Prior to joining Verdantix she completed a Master’s degree in Global Politics with Distinction at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Kim Knickle

Research Director, ESG & Sustainability

Kim leads the Verdantix ESG & Sustainability practice, addressing business challenges and priorities in ESG and sustainability through technology and services. Her current research agenda focuses on ESG regulatory and market drivers, sustainability reporting, risk management, supply chain sustainability, circular economy, social impact.  Knickle has worked for more than 20 years in the IT industry, providing research and analysis to help companies invest wisely in new technologies. Before joining the analyst industry, she held various roles in IT services, engineering, and product safety testing, beginning her career at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.  Knickle holds a MBA from Boston University and a BS in electrical engineering from Cornell.

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