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The ABC of Science Based Targets

Sofie Pierreux

Science Based Targets (SBTs) shape the backbone of BACA. An increasing amount of companies across the world calls upon SBTs to reduce their carbon footprint and align their climate goals with those of the Paris Agreement. But how did these SBTs come about and what does it imply to set them? This article compiles a handful of resources to help formulate answers to these questions.

What are Science Based Targets?

By setting science-based emission reduction targets, BACA members calculate how much and how fast they need to decrease their carbon footprint to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The science-based methodology gives companies confidence that their targets are in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.


the Science Based Targets initiative

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).


  • define and promote best practice in science-based emissions reductions and net-zero targets in line with climate science.
  • provide technical assistance and expert resources to companies who set science-based targets in line with the latest climate science.
  • bring together a team of experts to provide companies with independent assessment and validation of targets.
Pathway 1

the target setting process

Setting a science-based target is a five-step process:

  • Commit: submit a letter establishing your intent to set a science-based target
  • Develop: work on an emissions reduction target in line with the SBTi’s criteria
  • Submit: present your target to the SBTi for official validation
  • Communicate: announce your target and inform your stakeholders
  • Disclose: report company-wide emissions and track target progress annually

How to start with Science Based Targets?

We asked a handful of BACA members about their #1 recommendation for organisations who want to get started with SBTs. Here's what they agreed:

  • "Surround yourself well. It helps to exchange with someone who knows the framework to show you the ropes."
  • "Create buy-in within your organisation, all the way up to the level of the Board of Directors."
  • "Just dare to take the leap. It's worth it."

Help pave the way to a low-carbon future

Science-based target setting makes business sense: it future-proofs growth, saves money, provides resilience against regulation, boosts investor confidence, spurs innovation and competitiveness – while also demonstrating concrete sustainability commitments to conscious consumers.

More than 4,000 businesses around the world are already working with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This number is rapidly growing, also in Belgium:
Nearly one hundred BACA members are in the process of developing targets, or have already done so. And the targets are becoming increasingly ambitious.

Join them today. You'll be well surrounded.