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

Industry Analyst
Elisa Molero is an Industry Analyst in the Verdantix ESG & Sustainability practice. Her current research agenda focuses on emerging solutions and global market trends around supply chain sustainability. Her background is in Economics, Leadership and Governance (BSc, University of Navarra). Prior to joining Verdantix, Elisa worked as a research analyst at the Centre For Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, where she completed a Master’s degree in Global Politics, with Distinction.

Kim Knickle

Research Director, ESG & Sustainability
Kimberly Knickle is Research Director of the ESG & Sustainability practice at Verdantix. Her research areas encompass ESG regulations and reporting, ESG risk, supply chain sustainability, circular economy, social impact, and sustainable finance. Kim 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. Kim holds an MBA from Boston University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell.

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