© Chris Martin Bahr / WWF
Science Based Targets initiative

Working with global businesses to set scientifically validated goals to cut their emissions

WWF is a founding partner of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a coalition established in 2015 which aims to enable companies to set emission reduction targets in line with leading climate science. It is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and WWF.

The SBTi mobilises companies to set science-based targets and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. The initiative defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.

© Jason Houston / WWF-US

Why is it important?

Climate change is a threat to people, nature, and our economy - and we need to urgently cut global greenhouse gas emissions so we can avoid the worst impacts of a warming world on our society. Leading climate scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have emphasised the importance of limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, but the world is currently on track to be significantly warmer.

Businesses are responsible (directly and indirectly), for the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions. They have a crucial role to play in our efforts to reach the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature increase well-below 2°C / 1.5°C.

In addition to the benefits that tackling climate change brings to people, nature and the economy, companies that set science-based targets can take advantage of benefits such as:

  • expanded opportunities for innovation
  • increased competitiveness
  • an improved reputation among customers and investors
  • the ability to get ahead of the curve of future climate legislation

By cutting emissions from their operations and throughout their value chains, companies who set science-based targets are driving the adoption of renewable energy and funding the solutions of the future.

Business Commitments

In total, more than 2,000 companies worldwide have joined the Science Based Targets initiative since it was launched in 2015.

(Source: SBTi, October 2021)

© Simon Rawles / WWF-UK

What WWF is doing

As part of the SBTi, WWF works to engage and support companies, validate emission reduction targets against the latest science, develop technical knowledge and communicate the benefits of setting a science-based target.

We work with companies through our network of national offices around the world. Businesses can find out more by contacting their local WWF office or get involved by committing to set a target through the SBTi.

WWF is also involved with developing science-based decarbonisation pathways for specific sectors, including:

Forest, land and agriculture: Agriculture, forestry and other land use emissions represent nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. While many companies now report their emissions publicly, few account for these emissions/removals or include them in their reduction targets as they are limited by standards, guidance and methods.

The SBTi is undertaking a sector development project, the SBTi Forest, Land and Agriculture project (‘SBTi FLAG’), led by WWF, to address this gap. The effort will focus on the development of methods and guidance to enable the food, agriculture, and forest sectors to set science-based targets that include deforestation and possibly other land-related impacts. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

There will be two consultative groups as well as a public consultation to allow interested stakeholders to participate in the process. For more information, or to join the mailing list, please contact FLAG-SBTi@wwfus.org.

Ground transportation: In consultation with experts and project supporters, WWF coordinated a year-long project to develop a set of technical resources to support corporate science-based target setting for transport activities. The Sectoral Decarbonization Approach (SDA) Transport tool can be used by companies to model science-based targets for direct and indirect transport emissions.


​General information and technical queries: info@sciencebasedtargets.org

Paola Delgado, Acting Global Lead – Science Based Targets, WWF: pdelgado@wwfmex.org

© SBTi

Business Ambition for 1.5°C

Business Ambition for 1.5°C is an urgent call to action, led by a global coalition of UN agencies, business and industry leaders. We’re calling on companies to commit to ambitious emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative.

By setting a science-based target in line with a 1.5°C future, businesses can make their critical and necessary contribution to limiting the worst impacts of climate change.

So far, over 900 companies have signed the Business Ambition for 1.5°C commitment, and the number is growing.

Sign the Business Ambition for 1.5°C commitment