Set ambitious targets for your business

Net zero and science-based targets (SBTs)

Become a sustainability leader in your industry

Greenhouse gas emissions can be classified into scopes 1, 2, and 3 depending on where they originate. This terminology is used by the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol: scope 1 are direct emissions, and scopes 2 and 3 are indirect emissions. 

Scope 1: Emissions from operations that are owned or controlled by the reporting company.

Scope 2: Emissions from the generation of purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heating or cooling consumed by the reporting company.

Scope 3: All indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream emissions. 

Net Zero 

Net zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from human activity are balanced out by their removal. This can be achieved by reducing emissions and implementing methods to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2). As a responsible company, it is crucial to start measuring your emissions coming from all scopes, and setting reduction goals that align with this target. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body responsible for assessing climate change and setting the goal of no more than 1.5⁰C of global warming compared to pre-industrial levels. During COP21, 196 Parties (which included countries and the European Union) signed a legally binding international treaty — the Paris Agreement — to this effect. In order to keep warming under 2⁰C, net zero would need to be reached by 2050, seeing a reduction of global CO2 emissions by 45% from 2010 levels with any remaining emissions neutralised by removing CO2.

Grain can help support your business in the transition to net zero emissions by measuring your footprint and then creating a plan based on achievable targets to reduce your scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. 

Science Based Targets (SBTs) 

Over 4,600 companies worldwide are taking action through the Science Based Targets initiative, which provides a clearly-defined pathway for emissions reduction commitments that align with the latest climate science. As well as future-proofing your business, an SBT target will increase competitiveness and solidify your sustainability commitments.

SBTi sets out the steps of Commit > Develop > Submit > Communicate > Disclose.

If a business is a non-subsidiary, independent company with fewer than 500 employees, it may follow the streamlined approach for SMEs which involves setting near-term and net zero targets. The near-term target must be set before the net zero target may be submitted. 

For SMEs, near-term science-based targets are absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions reduction targets that should be achieved by 2030, from a predefined base year. Near-term targets must cover a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years from the date the target is submitted to the SBTi for official validation. 

For SMEs, net zero targets include: 

  • Long-term science-based targets which are absolute scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions reduction targets that should be met by 2050 at the latest, from a predefined base year. Long-term (net zero) targets shall have a target year no later than 2050. 
  • A commitment to neutralize any unabated emissions.

Grain would be delighted to help you through the process: committing to a target, developing your emissions reduction action plan, submitting it for official validation, communicating it, and disclosing necessary information, then tracking progress through annual reporting. 

For help with your net zero and SBT alignment, get in touch on +44 20 8187 7040, email hello@grain-sustainability.com, or book in a chat.

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