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How to recognise real pioneers

Sitra encourages companies to embrace science-based target methods.


Jaana Pelkonen

Leading Specialist, Carbon-neutral Industry, The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra


How much is enough? How fast should we change our operations? When will see tangible results? These are questions every business must consider when pondering its own role in the global fight against climate change.

We must all do our share to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – but how do you know how large your share is, or whether you are a leader or a follower? Whenever a company is assessing its emission reduction measures and targets, it needs to know whether its efforts have better outcomes than those of its competitors – and whether they therefore give it a competitive edge.

Fortunately, a method has already been developed that enables individual companies to define their share of global emission reductions. The science-based target methodology is based on the level of decarbonisation required to keep global warming below 2°C and on sector-specific emissions balances. It has been developed jointly by CDP, the UN Global Compact (UNGC), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF. More than a hundred leading companies have already committed to setting science-based emission reduction targets.

Last December’s Paris Climate Change Conference boosted corporate emission reduction targets by setting the mutual goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C. This places pressure on companies to ensure that they take sufficient measures, with sufficiently rapid outcomes, to reduce emissions.

By setting itself a science-based emission reduction target, a company can increase its impact on and credibility in the public debate, demonstrating its pioneering status within its field or sector. Long-term competitive advantages are only gained by those companies that are able to steer their operations towards carbon neutrality and that successfully disconnect financial growth from emissions growth.

We at Sitra have been encouraging Finnish industry and companies to move towards carbon neutrality and discover the related growth opportunities. We also invited two Finnish businesses to test the science-based targets method.

To join the international forerunners, you need ambitious, science-based, long-term emission reduction goals. Do you and your company want to join this group?

Read our report:

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Forward-looking companies set science-based targets from Sitra

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