A response to SBTi’s recent Scope 3 announcement

Posted on April, 15 2024

Taking climate action demands real emission reductions by the global business community and the transformation of companies and their supply chains. That means targets and guidance must be backed by the best available science, transparent and credible reporting, and deep commitment by companies to implement 1.5C aligned targets throughout their operations and supply chains.

As one of the founders of SBTi, WWF has worked with an array of global corporations in transforming their operations and supply chains through certification programs, buyer coalitions, environmental attribute certificates, and supplier engagement.  We recognize the commitments of our corporate partners to this work, and we are encouraged by the investments and progress they have made. We acknowledge the challenges Scope 3 presents in making progress at the speed the climate crisis requires. Sound science-based standards and frameworks are fundamental to ensure that companies can effectively drive emission reductions across their value chains, while maintaining the trust of markets and customers.

Offsets cannot be a substitute for reducing emissions from company operations, products, and value chains. To support the radical transformation we need to see from companies, WWF has long advocated that carbon offsetting needs to be limited in its application to address a small percentage of residual emissions, be bolstered by increased accountability and pursued as part of a holistic and scientifically defined reduction pathway.

Critically, companies with complex value chains need updates to Scope 3 guidance – to provide implementable, solution-oriented mechanisms that focus on prioritizing emission reductions. As SBTi continues its work to define Scope 3 guardrails for use of market mechanisms, to be published in July, WWF will continue to call for rigorous science and good governance to underpin all of SBTI’s efforts. Updated guidance should also address the very real concerns regarding the poor track record of offsets in delivering real emissions reductions and driving market transformation.

WWF supports robust science-based processes for standards and guidance development which provide the foundation for SBTi to remain the gold standard for climate target-setting, reporting and implementation. Drawing on WWF’s long-standing and deep expertise in standard setting, we seek to promote transparent and participatory governance at all times where technical review and public consultation form core tenets for any standard setting body to perform effectively and credibly.