How can sustainability consultants leverage Science Based Targets

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaborative endeavor involving key organizations: CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). These entities unite to aid and guide companies in setting ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. This mission aligns closely with global climate goals, particularly those outlined in the Paris Agreement. SBTi’s collaborative approach ensures scientifically rigorous targets that contribute to a sustainable future.

These targets are classified as ‘science-based’ when they match the latest climate science insights. This means adhering to the Paris Agreement’s mandate of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. SBTi’s joint efforts bridge this scientific foundation with tangible results, bridging the gap between unified action and the preservation of our planet’s stability.

In this blogpost, we zoom in on the role of sustainability consultants in supporting companies to set and achieve a Science Based Targets


The Role of Science Based Targets in Sustainability Consulting

As sustainability takes center stage in today’s business landscape, the role of sustainability consultants has become pivotal in guiding companies toward sustainable practices. Among the multitude of tools and strategies available, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) emerges as a beacon of precision and impact. SBTi offers consultants a tangible and science-backed approach to drive meaningful change, aligning their clients’ sustainability goals with global climate objectives. Let’s explore five compelling reasons why sustainability consultants should actively embrace the Science Based Targets initiative:

  1. Credibility and Leadership: Embracing SBTi showcases consultants as leaders in sustainability, offering credible guidance that is grounded in the latest scientific knowledge.
  2. Client Impact: Advising clients on SBTi demonstrates a consultant’s ability to drive meaningful change, helping businesses set ambitious emission reduction targets aligned with global climate goals.
  3. Market Relevance: SBTi expertise positions consultants as relevant and sought-after partners in an evolving business landscape that increasingly values sustainability.
  4. Long-Term Partnership: Assisting clients with SBTi fosters enduring relationships, as consultants become trusted advisors guiding businesses toward sustainable practices over the long term.
  5. Positive Influence: Consultants championing SBTi contribute to a collective reduction in emissions, making a tangible impact on the global fight against climate change while enhancing their own professional standing.

The Crucial Role of Carbon Footprints in Achieving Science Based Targets

While the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) provides the framework for aligning emission reduction goals with the Paris Agreement, the significance of understanding and reducing carbon footprints becomes even more pronounced.

A company’s carbon footprint, the actual amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated directly or indirectly, serves as a starting point and validation check in the journey towards achieving Science Based Targets. The SBTi defines strict conditions of an inventory of emissions for target setting, A companywide scope 1 and 2 emissions inventory must be completed as defined by the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard and the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance. Companies must complete a scope 3 screening for all relevant categories considering the minimum boundary of each category per the GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard.

Here is why focusing on carbon footprints is integral to realizing the transformative potential of SBTs:

  1. Data-Driven Decisions: Measuring a company’s footprint shows where emissions occur, helping consultants prioritize actions aligning with SBTs.
  2. Progress Baseline: Precise footprint calculation establishes a measurable baseline for tracking SBT progress.
  3. Target Precision: Understanding footprints guides consultants to set ambitious yet realistic SBTs.
  4. Transparency and Accountability: Reduced footprints display transparency, enhancing a company’s sustainability reputation.
  5. Innovation and Efficiency: Footprint analysis uncovers operational efficiencies and innovation opportunities.

Cultivating Sustainability: Footprint focus nurtures a sustainability culture, embedding eco-consciousness into operations. As sustainability consultants, understanding the importance of carbon footprints and their direct link to Science Based Targets equips us with a nuanced perspective on guiding businesses toward a greener future. By merging the precision of carbon footprint analysis with the visionary goals of SBTi, we ensure that our consultancy efforts resonate with the pulse of sustainability and contribute to meaningful, lasting change.

Benefits of a Unified Approach

Integrating the precision of Carbon Footprint Calculation with the visionary goals of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) ushers in a new era of sustainability strategy. This unified approach ensures that businesses not only set aspirational emission reduction goals but also possess a clear roadmap to achieve them.

By aligning Science Based Targets with the reality of carbon footprints, companies gain a strategic advantage — identifying emission hotspots, unlocking operational efficiencies, and tracking progress with data-driven precision. This constructive collaboration empowers sustainability consultants to guide businesses toward a low-carbon future that is not just visionary, but grounded in measurable and impactful action.

From Ambition to Action

Transitioning from setting Science Based Targets to achieving tangible results requires a strategic and systematic approach. Consultants play a pivotal role in guiding businesses through this transformative journey.

Start by breaking down the ambitious targets into actionable steps that align with a company’s operations, supply chain, and products. Collaborate with internal stakeholders to allocate resources, assign responsibilities, and establish timelines. Implement robust tracking and measurement mechanisms to monitor progress regularly.

This data-driven approach enables timely adjustments and informed decision-making. As milestones are reached, celebrate successes, and communicate them transparently to stakeholders. By nurturing a culture of continuous improvement and engagement, consultants can drive the transition from ambitious targets to tangible, quantifiable achievements that solidify a company’s sustainability leadership.

Carbon Footprint Calculations Infuse Science Based Targets with Precision

Imagine the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as a canvas upon which businesses sketch their aspirations for a greener future. Yet, to bring these visions to life, they need more than artistic intent; they need the precision of a draftsman’s hand.

This is where carbon footprint calculations wield their transformative power. By grounding Science Based Targets in the concrete reality of emissions data, businesses can transform ambitious objectives into tangible blueprints for action. Emission sources are identified, quantified, and prioritized, revealing where interventions are most impactful.

Consultants, armed with this insight, work with end-clients to develop strategies that directly address these emissions hotspots. The abstract becomes actionable as carbon footprint calculations guide the formation of step-by-step plans, directing resources toward the very areas that will yield the greatest reduction impact.

The result: a canvas that transitions from a dreamy vision to a strategic roadmap, with carbon footprint data acting as the brushstrokes that infuse purpose and precision into every stroke.

The Significance of Constant Monitoring for Achieving Science Based Targets

Yearly monitoring and measurement, in addition to being required as part of the SBTi commitments, play a pivotal role in the successful pursuit of Science Based Targets (SBTs) for businesses committed to sustainability. As companies set their sights on ambitious emission reduction goals, the importance of ongoing tracking becomes evident. Regular monitoring serves as a compass, guiding businesses on their path toward meeting SBTs and ensuring that they stay on course.

By regularly assessing progress and comparing it against predefined benchmarks, companies can make informed decisions, adjust strategies, and remain agile in the face of changing circumstances. This continuous feedback loop enables businesses to identify successes, address challenges, and seize opportunities for improvement. Moreover, transparent, and accurate reporting of progress fosters accountability, building trust among stakeholders, including investors, customers, and the wider public.

The journey toward achieving Science Based Targets is not a one-time event but a dynamic process that thrives on the consistent measurement of progress—an approach that amplifies the impact of sustainability efforts and propels businesses toward a more resilient and responsible future.


The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) forges a tangible path of purpose in pursuit of sustainability. Sustainability consultants, play a pivotal role in steering businesses toward sustainable practices. The synergy of Science Based Targets and carbon footprint calculation infuses ambition with action. Carbon footprints serve as a guiding compass, directing strategies to impactful areas, while consultants leverage insights to craft transformative plans that target emissions hotspots.

The journey from goals to results demands constant diligence. Regular monitoring navigates businesses through changing tides, driving strategic adjustments. Transparency and accountability underpin this journey, enhancing the impact of sustainability initiatives.

We at Carbon+Alt+Delete, understand the importance of tangible facts and data when approaching sustainability initiatives. Empowering almost 50 consultancy firms across the European continent to calculate carbon emissions in a transparent, efficient, and auditable way; we are now integrating Science Based Targets in our tool. The goal is to enable organizations to first understand the diagnosis of their carbon footprint, to then define well-grounded targets and mitigation strategies to achieve them.