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Science-based targets in the spotlight in call for green economic recovery

Published May 26, 2020

The Science Based Targets initiative announced in a press release on 19 May 2020, that all of its member companies have signed a joint statement asking governments to align their COVID-19 economic responses with the latest climate science.

Signatories included many big names such as Carlsberg, Colgate Palmolive Company, H&M, Hewlett Packard, Nestlé, and Ørsted, spanning 34 sectors, with headquarters in 33 countries.

“As we are setting ambitious corporate emission reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative and its Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, we remain committed to do our part to achieve a resilient, zero carbon economy. We are now urging Governments to prioritize a faster and fairer transition from a grey to a green economy by aligning policies and recovery plans with the latest climate science,” the statement reads.

The members of the SBTi have also pledged to:

  • Demonstrate that the best decisions and actions are grounded in science. Through ambitious science-based targets, their aim is to set the world on a 1.5°C trajectory.
  • Invest in recovery and resilience for a systemic socio-economic transformation. By divesting from fossil fuels and innovating in low-carbon solutions, SBTi companies will prioritise green jobs and sustainable growth to help deliver on the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
  • Work with Governments and scale up the movement. They appeal policymakers to give businesses the confidence and clarity they need to take ambitious climate action through advocating for enabling policies aligned with a 1.5°C trajectory and zero carbon economy,

Several major economies in the coming weeks will be deciding on their recovery efforts, including the European Union Recovery Plan, new stimulus packages from the United States of America and India, and the G7 Heads of State summit in June.

“It’s important to note that science-based targets (SBTs) only currently exist for companies. The criteria do not exist for governments to set them. Governments usually express their climate ambition through net zero targets for their economies, which, while they can be effective, have their drawbacks. It’s good to see companies, through the SBTi, stressing that governments should make the 1.5 degree or 2 degree targets of the Paris Agreement their first considerations of their climate policies,” points out Nick Fedson, Sustainability Analyst at Alfa Energy Group.

Echoing Nick’s statement, Lila Karbassi, Chief of Programmes at the UN Global Compact, and Science Based Targets initiative Board Member was quoted in the press release as saying:

“Governments have a critical role to play by aligning policies and recovery plans with the latest climate science, but they cannot drive a systemic socio-economic transformation alone. To address the interconnected crises we face, we must work together as an international community to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.”